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Where the Risks of Pregnancy Meet Abortion Laws and Health Care

Where the Risks of Pregnancy Meet Abortion Laws and Health Care

As the United States has grappled with the unfolding consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision overruling Roe v. Wade, one question lurks between the lines of court opinions and news stories alike: Why are the risks of pregnancy so rarely discussed anywhere, even though that information is relevant not just to individual decisions but to policies about abortion, pregnancy, and health care for women?

With the wave of abortion bans taking place in states across America, those risks are going to be more in the spotlight — figuring both in women’s decisions about whether to risk getting pregnant if they live in a state that has banned abortions, and the arguments that will happen in state legislature chambers over how much threat to a mother’s health must be present to permit an abortion under untested and rapidly changing state laws.

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“We spend an awful lot of time talking about avoiding behaviors because of very small risks that could happen that are associated with the fetus. ‘Don’t eat bean sprouts,’ or ‘don’t eat deli meats,’” Emily Oster, a Brown University economist and author “Expecting Better,” a data-driven book about pregnancy, told me. “And then we sort of never talk to people about the risks of things that are almost definitely going to happen.”

And more serious complications, while rare, are not that rare. In any given moms’ group, someone has probably survived hyperemesis gravidarum (which can occur in up to one in 30…

Read full article on www.nytimes.com