People experiencing a miscarriage in states with restrictive abortion policies may be less likely to receive optimal care than those in states with supportive abortion policies.

The new study, published in the journal Women’s Health Issues, was conducted prior to the Supreme Court’s decision last June to overturn Roe v. Wade when lead author Elana Tal was a fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Tal, now a clinical assistant professor in the obstetrics and gynecology department in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, had concerns about how restrictive abortion policies affect care for people experiencing spontaneous pregnancy loss.

“I had a hunch that restricting abortion means less ideal care for people experiencing miscarriage,” says Tal, who focuses on complex family planning.

“Too often, when we talk about abortion the conversation becomes about the morality of ending a pregnancy and not about how restricting abortion affects reproductive health in general,” she says. “We know abortion restrictions correlate with higher rates of maternal mortality, so it follows that other aspects of health care would be affected, especially miscarriage care, which so closely mirrors abortion care. I wanted to find out if that was true.”

Spontaneous pregnancy loss, i.e. miscarriage, in the first trimester occurs in about 10% of all clinically recognized pregnancies, and 25% of all people capable of becoming pregnant will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime.

This study is among the first to explore how miscarriages are managed in light of evidence-based, patient-centered guidelines issued in recent years by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Those guidelines, and the research they were based on, found that for managing early pregnancy loss, optimal care includes uterine aspiration in the physician’s office and the prescribing of both mifepristone and misoprostol, which block hormones that are necessary for pregnancy and help clear the uterus.

Read the full article about abortion policies by Ellen Goldbaum at Futurity.