March 1, 2024

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Missouri’s trigger law banning abortion other than in medical emergencies is calling some common medical practices into question. KMBC 9 spoke with a legal expert specializing in reproductive law about the implications the trigger law could have when it comes to reproductive concerns. “It’s problematic because abortion care is the standard of care for things other than just terminating pregnancy,” said Yvette Lindgren, an assistant professor at UMKC’s School of Law.While Missouri’s Attorney General says emergency contraception is still legal, Lindgren says the state’s trigger law could impact other aspects of reproductive care. One concern is how doctors will handle miscarriage management when the body won’t release the fetus. “A doctor is going to have to stay their hand until there is no longer a detectable fetal heart tone,” Lindgren said. She warns that could put the mother in danger. “It could mean that a pregnant person is hemorrhaging or that they are starting to have an infection and doctors are racing against sepsis and possible death,” she said. Lindgren says in the case of ectopic pregnancy, where a fertilized egg attaches to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, the standard treatment of using abortion medication could also possibly be considered illegal. She says the law could potentially delay care until it’s too late.“The fallopian tube can burst, the pregnant person can hemorrhage,” she said. Lindgren says because of the vagueness of Missouri’s law, doctors could have to decide if they’re willing to risk potential criminal charges.“So now we have doctors who are turning to legal departments and ethicists to get guidance rather than relying on their own medical judgment,” she said.Under Missouri’s trigger law, performing an abortion is a Class B felony that could carry five to 15 years in prison. “The issue of health care has been turned from doctors to lawyers,” Lindgren said. “Health care providers across the state are trying to figure out the best path forward.”

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Missouri’s trigger law banning abortion other than in medical emergencies is calling some common medical practices into question. KMBC 9 spoke with a legal expert specializing in reproductive law about the implications the trigger law could have when it comes to reproductive concerns.

“It’s problematic because abortion care is the standard of care for things other than just terminating pregnancy,” said Yvette Lindgren, an assistant professor at UMKC’s School of Law.

While Missouri’s Attorney General says emergency contraception is still legal, Lindgren says the state’s trigger law could impact other aspects of reproductive care. One concern is how doctors will handle miscarriage management when the body won’t release the fetus.

“A doctor is going to have to stay their hand until there is no longer a detectable fetal heart tone,” Lindgren said.

She warns that could put the mother in danger.

“It could mean that a pregnant person is hemorrhaging or that they are starting to have an infection and doctors are racing against sepsis and possible death,” she said.

Lindgren says in the case of ectopic pregnancy, where a fertilized egg attaches to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, the standard treatment of using abortion medication could also possibly be considered illegal.

She says the law could potentially delay care until it’s too late.

“The fallopian tube can burst, the pregnant person can hemorrhage,” she said.

Lindgren says because of the vagueness of Missouri’s law, doctors could have to decide if they’re willing to risk potential criminal charges.

“So now we have doctors who are turning to legal departments and ethicalists to get guidance rather than relying on their own medical judgment,” she said.

Under Missouri’s trigger law, performing an abortion is a Class B felony that could carry five to 15 years in prison.

“The issue of health care has been turned from doctors to lawyers,” Lindgren said. “Health care providers across the state are trying to figure out the best path forward.”

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