SMU Law Review

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Only nine months after the Supreme Court eliminated the federal constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, fourteen states had banned abortion entirely, and experts estimate the ultimate number of states imposing complete or near-complete restrictions on abortion care will likely rise to twenty-four. Millions of people with the capacity for pregnancy now (or will soon) live in places where getting pregnant means there is no choice other than to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth. One underappreciated, though critically important, impact of Dobbs is the extent to which newly enacted abortion restrictions will increase both the number of people with high-risk pregnancies and, relatedly, the number of people who are coerced into medical treatment during labor and delivery. Such mistreatment in the form of coerced interventions will compound the harm of forced pregnancy after Dobbs with negative consequences for the physical and emotional well-being of birthing people and their babies.

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