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Nearly 65,000 Pregnancies From Rape Have Occurred In States With Abortion Bans, Study Estimates

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A recent study estimates tens of thousands of pregnancies resulting from rape in states with abortion bans.

Despite exceptions for rape, research suggests that accessing abortion care remains challenging for survivors, potentially leading to further trauma.

The study aims to raise awareness of the impact of abortion bans and exceptions, highlighting the difficulties faced by survivors.

“Restricting abortion access to survivors of rape can have particularly devastating consequences,” editors wrote.

“Whether these survivors of rape had illegal abortions, received medication abortion through the mail, traveled to other states, or carried the child to birth is unknown.”

“Like many exceptions written into abortion bans, an exception for rape victims may appear to be a reasonable solution but in practice can create more trauma and danger for patients who have already experienced a traumatic event,” Dr. Sami Heywood said.

“No other health care is reserved only for people who can prove a crime took place. That’s not an ethical way to practice medicine. It is cruel to force people who have already been victimized to jump through legal and logistical barriers that cause further harm.”

“Those who become pregnant after rape may take longer to recognize a pregnancy than other pregnant people, and there may be factors related to the trauma response that accounts for this,” Dr. Rachel Perry said.

Some noted the lack of abortion access in states with bans, emphasizing the significant impact on survivors of rape.

“It may be especially impossible for them to travel out of state to get abortion care. It may be especially dangerous for them to try to order pills online the way that some people are doing,” Dr. Samuel Dickman argued. “It’s an added burden in so many ways.”

“If these numbers feel huge, that’s because they are,” he said. The data is “illustrating something that we see every day when working in reproductive health and abortion care but that may be under-appreciated by the broader public – and deliberately so by the kinds of people who implement bans on abortion care.”

“There’s exactly zero abortion access in that state,” Dickman said of Idaho. “If that estimate is too high, what number would be OK? I don’t think any number would be OK there.”

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