KEMP’S AGENDA: Georgia Doctors Reluctant to Treat Miscarriages Fearing Criminal Penalties

July 28, 2022

Under Gov. Brian Kemp’s ban on abortion, doctors are hesitant to treat miscarriages, worrying they could face criminal penalties. Physicians may turn women away who seek treatment for a miscarriage, because treatement for a miscarriage is the same procedure used for abortions.

Legal experts are calling Kemp’s extreme abortion ban, which makes abortion illegal before most women know they’re pregnant, “chaotic” and “unstable,” due to its broad and far reaching implications that seem to go beyond the criminal abortion statute and leave many open questions unanswered. The unknowns are causing fear and confusion amongst health care professionals, hurting women seeking lifesaving reproductive care.

Last week, a Georgia OB/GYN and reproductive care advocate, along with legal experts, raised crucial questions about Kemp’s dangerous law— questions the governor and top Georgia Republicans have refused to answer.

CBS 46: Atlanta doctors reluctant to treat miscarriages fearing criminal penalty

  • Under Georgia’s heartbeat law, metro Atlanta doctors say they’re concerned to treat miscarriages, as it is the same procedure used for abortions. In fear of risking criminal penalties, physicians may turn more women away who seek the surgery.
  • “At what point can we do our job without having to worry about the laws that have been put in place,” questioned Dr. Didi Saint Louis.
  • What was once considered common practices now feel like controversial politics – that’s how Atlanta gynecologist Saint Louis describes the procedure used for miscarriages and abortions. “From a medical perspective, there’s really no difference. It is the exact same procedure.”
  • Typically when a patient is experiencing a miscarriage, an OBGYN may advise three options: natural process, pills, or surgery – the “D & C.” The options depend on safety risks.
  • However, Saint Louis is now hesitant to offer the surgical option out of fear of being criminally charged with performing an abortion.
  • “More physicians being very reluctant either in the emergency room or in their offices being very uncomfortable.” Adding, “a lot of women will get turned away and be told to go home and [naturally] ‘finish’ the process at home.”
  • Allison Coffman says having the choice between all three options was crucial for her recovery. “I needed a D&C my first miscarriage,” she recalled.
  • Had Georgia’s heartbeat bill, HB481, been in effect in 2020 during her crisis, she believes she would not be the same. “Delay in care is excruciating and very traumatic when you’re undergoing a miscarriage.” Coffman continued, “waiting a day or two can feel like a lifetime, you know, when you’re experiencing a loss.”
  • Dr. Saint Louis echoed, “politicians do not belong in a patient’s room.”


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