Shaw: The consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade
"What happened in Texas and Louisiana will happen to women in North Dakota after the state’s abortion ban goes into effect later this month," writes columnist Jim Shaw. "The fact that abortion is still legal in neighboring Minnesota will be of little help."
When it comes to abortion, things are often not so clear-cut. There are a variety of painful circumstances that lead women or girls to seek an abortion. Many abortion opponents either don’t care or don’t want to believe it.
Anti-abortion activists and the conservative media went out of their way to debunk the story that a 10-year-old girl in Ohio was raped, became pregnant and couldn’t legally get an abortion in Ohio. They didn’t want that story to be true, even though it was, because this would reveal the horrifying consequences of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The vicious crime of rape is far more prevalent than many in the anti-abortion movement want to acknowledge. A CDC study shockingly found that 3 million women in the U.S. experience a rape-related pregnancy.
In the states where abortion is now illegal, there have been some brutal experiences for women. Marlena Stell from Texas learned that after nine weeks of pregnancy her fetus was dead inside her but Texas doctors wouldn’t help her. They feared being charged with a crime for violating the Texas abortion ban. She told CNN she was forced to carry the dead fetus in her body for two weeks. Doctors say having a dead fetus inside you can cause organ failure and is life-threatening. Only after a third ultrasound confirmed what the first two ultrasounds showed was Stell able to be treated.
Stell asked, “Why is this so complicated to just get care when it’s obvious to the doctor and me looking at the screen that this is not a viable pregnancy.” Why indeed?
Elizabeth Weller of Houston told NPR that her water broke at 18 weeks of pregnancy. Without amniotic fluid, the fetus could not survive. Her doctor at the hospital wanted to officially end the pregnancy, but was told he couldn’t because of the state’s abortion ban. Weller then became very sick. Finally, days later, the hospital ethics board decided she could be induced.
According to the Washington Post, the water broke for a Louisiana woman when she was just 16 weeks pregnant, and the fetus had no chance of survival. Her doctor wanted to end the pregnancy, but because of Louisiana’s abortion ban that didn’t happen. So, the woman had no choice but to deliver a baby that everyone knew would not live. During the delivery, the traumatized woman was screaming.
Does anyone really feel good about what happened in all these cases? If so, you’re heartless. What happened in Texas and Louisiana will happen to women in North Dakota after the state’s abortion ban goes into effect later this month. The fact that abortion is still legal in neighboring Minnesota will be of little help.
Some pregnant North Dakota women will suffer. Medically necessary abortions will shamefully be denied or doctors will be afraid to perform them. Along with that, many doctors won’t work in states such as North Dakota, with these restrictions. That’s why North Dakotans need to vote on the state’s abortion ban.
Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.