July 20, 2024

Governor Greg Abbott and every Republican politician in Texas all belong in a zoo. From the AP:

The analysis out of Johns Hopkins University is the latest research to find higher infant mortality rates in states with abortion restrictions. The researchers looked at how many infants died before their first birthday after Texas adopted its abortion ban in September 2021. They compared infant deaths in Texas to those in 28 states—some also with restrictions. The researchers calculated that there were 216 more deaths in Texas than expected between March and December the next year. In Texas, the 2022 mortality rate for infants went up 8% to 5.75 per 1,000 births, compared to a 2% increase in the rest of the U.S., according to the study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Among causes of deaths, birth defects showed a 23% increase, compared to a decrease of about 3% in the rest of the U.S. The Texas law blocks abortions after the detection of cardiac activity, usually five or six weeks into pregnancy, well before tests are done to detect fetal abnormalities.

Experts in fetal development saw this coming from a mile off. Of course, experts don’t make policy anymore. It gets made by members of gerrymandered legislatures, judges with lifetime tenure, and think-tank vandals like the guy from Heritage who went on MSNBC and declared that “abortion is not healthcare.” Right.

Infant deaths are relatively rare, Bell said, so the team was a bit surprised by the findings. Because of the small numbers, the researchers could not parse out the rates for different populations, for example, to see if rates were rising more for certain races or socioeconomic groups. But the results did not come as a surprise to Tiffany Green, a University of Wisconsin-Madison economist and population health scientist who studies the consequences of racial inequities on reproductive health. She said the results were in line with earlier research on racial disparities in infant mortality rates due to state differences in Medicaid funding for abortions. Many of the people getting abortions are vulnerable to pregnancy complications, said Green, who was not part of the research. Stephen Chasen, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist with Weill Cornell Medicine, said abortion restrictions have other consequences. Chasen, who had no role in the research, said people who carry out pregnancies with fetal anomalies need extra support, education and specialized medical care for the mother and newborn—all of which require resources.

Resources? You mean….money? Our money? The sacred American tax dollar? May the gods forgive you for profaning the temple in this way.

Headshot of Charles P. Pierce

Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976. 


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