Women’s access to healthcare in America has been a point of contention for many years. More recently, it has been in the spotlight due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade had given American residents the constitutional right to a safe abortion for nearly 50 years. Since its reversal, many states have banned abortion. Other healthcare options have been taken away, as well. If you are an expectant mother, you may be following these issues in women’s health care, or noticing disparities in the care that you have received. You are not alone.
Adoptions With Love believes all women should have access to reproductive health care. We stand by all women facing healthcare inequality. We stand for women’s choices – all of them, from abortion to adoption.
Whether you have just learned you are pregnant or are about to give birth, you may want to know about some of these common concerns. Read on, as we highlight some of the most current women’s health disparities and share the options you still have as an expectant mother.
Challenges, Changes, & Inequalities in Women’s Health Care
Since 2011, more than 215 hospitals have closed their maternity wards. In 2022 alone, 13 closures were announced.
This is a growing problem in the U.S., as many expectant mothers are now facing long drives for prenatal care and giving birth. According to research collected by the March of Dimes, more than 2.2 million women (about the population of New Mexico) of childbearing age in the U.S. are living in “maternity care deserts,” meaning they live in a county with no obstetric facilities.
In addition to the hospitals shutting down their labor and delivery units, some are also removing midwives from the equation. Midwives are specifically trained to care for patients during pregnancy, childbirth, newborn care, and postpartum health. They can do everything an obstetrician can do with the exception of performing a Cesarean section. However, in 2023, some hospitals and institutions started prohibiting midwives from delivering babies. This is limiting women’s health care access even more.
Abortion is another hot topic when it comes to women’s health care issues. Once Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, many states’ trigger bans were put into place, forbidding access to abortions. While there are many states with protected abortion rights, other state lawmakers continue to debate the issue.
The latest debate regarding abortion is centered around the medication used for termination. Medication abortion is a two-drug regimen typically prescribed in the first 12 weeks (about 3 months) of gestation. The first pill, mifepristone, blocks progesterone – the hormone that allows pregnancy to develop. The second pill, misoprostol, is taken one or two days later. This pill prompts contractions and bleeding – similar to a miscarriage. Some state lawmakers are seeking to ban access to these pills.
The dispute over medication abortion began in Texas in November 2022, when a group of anti-abortion organizations sued the FDA over its approval of mifepristone back in 2000. These groups claim the FDA did not follow proper protocols before approving the medication.
Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk recently claimed the FDA’s approval of mifepristone was invalid. However, the Supreme Court recently evaluated this claim, in April 2023, and disagreed with his ruling. The Supreme Court decided to maintain the FDA’s approval on the pill. Access to mifepristone will continue. However, an appeal is in progress and will be revisited in 2024.
For years, women’s healthcare advocates have been fighting for equal autonomy rights. The phrase “my body, my choice” has been a frequent slogan for those demanding equity in regard to women’s access to health care in America. This is nothing new. While tubal ligation (getting “tubes tied”) is a constitutional right, many doctors will not conduct the procedure without consent from a husband. This issue has made headlines in the past, but it is common for a doctor to demand certain requirements. While it is legal for every female American starting at age 18, many doctors will not approve the procedure until a patient is older. Meanwhile, there are no specific requirements when it comes to male vasectomy. A male patient may opt to have the procedure done – or reversed – at any age or marital status, no permission is required.
We Stand With You
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may feel discouraged by these disparities. It can be overwhelming, but there is hope. You still have options. At Adoptions With Love, we want every expectant/birth mother to feel supported and know that there are resources to help.
You may not have planned to become pregnant, but you can take control of the situation. You can make a choice that best suits your needs. This is your pregnancy. No one else can tell you what to do. We support all expectant/birth mothers, no matter what decision they make.
Your Options as an Expectant Mother
Despite the cutbacks on obstetric care and the limitations of abortion rights, there are choices. Expectant mothers in the U.S. can still choose between the following options:
Parenthood is the natural choice for many expectant/birth parents, but it is not always the best choice for everyone. Raising a child in the U.S. – from birth to age 18 – costs an average of $310,605. If you are facing financial strain, or have an unstable living situation, you may not be ready to become a parent. If you want to figure out a way to raise your child, there are resources to help. The following websites can offer resources and support for you:
If you live in a state that has banned abortion, you can still find a way to get one safely. This procedure – surgical or prescribed medicine – should always be administered by a healthcare professional. It must be done by a certain week of gestation – depending on the state – so there is a deadline for this decision. If you cannot afford to travel to another state, there are private groups, corporations, and nonprofit organizations that can help. If you feel that abortion is the right choice for you, check out the following for support:
- National Abortion Hotline
- National Network of Abortion Funds
- WRRAP (Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project)
Adoption is Always an Option
Adoption is not an alternative to abortion, but it can be a very positive choice for those who are not yet ready to parent. Choosing adoption means terminating your parental rights and choosing another family to love and raise your child. The timeline for adoption varies by state laws, but there is never any rush. Unlike abortion, it is never too late to choose adoption. You can choose to make an adoption plan in your first trimester, third trimester, and even after giving birth.
The idea of giving birth can be intimidating, adoption is an emotional and difficult decision, but it can be a positive choice. Most adoptions today are considered “open adoptions,” meaning there is ongoing contact between birth and adoptive families for the child’s upbringing. This means you – the birth parent – can still experience the joy of seeing your child grow and progress, knowing they are loved by two families instead of one.
You can also rest assured that your child will be in a safe, healthy, and loving home. Every expectant mother at Adoptions With Love has the option to choose their child’s adoptive family. You can speak with them before making your decision, and meet with them in-person, if you would like. Every adoptive family that works with Adoptions With Love must complete a Home Study, which includes multiple at-home interviews, thorough background checks and screenings, and the examination of medical, professional, and financial documents.
Choosing adoption with a private adoption agency like Adoptions With Love also means having support and access to the resources you need. There are many free services and financial assistance given to expectant/birth mothers who choose adoption, such as:
- Housing assistance. We can cover a deposit and several months of rent.
- Other living expenses, such as utilities, cell phone bills, transportation, and maternity clothes, as needed.
- Comprehensive counseling, before and after adoption.
- Legal assistance. A team of attorneys experienced in adoption will ensure your rights are protected and you understand every step of the adoption process.
- Adoption designing assistance. We can help you custom design an adoption plan that meets your needs and makes you feel comfortable with your decision.
- Ongoing contact. We stay in touch with every birth mother over the years and can assist with the adoption plan as it evolves.
Remember: This is your pregnancy. Only you can decide what is best for you and your baby. Adoptions With Love never places any pressure, judgment, or bias on expectant/birth mothers. You can contact us any time of day, any day of the week to learn more about adoption, obligation-free. Call us at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.