Roe Vs Wade: The Health Impact

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 4:30pm

Doctors say landmark abortion ruling has had positive impact on women's health.

Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme court decision that struck down many laws restricting abortion.

Beyond the controversy over abortion, there came a patient care impact from the Roe v. Wade decision.

The medical community says it opened the door for important conversations about women's health issues, especially when a pregnant woman's health is in danger.

"In some situations, it's just not safe for her to carry that pregnancy to term," says Dr. Kevin Stepp of Carolinas HealthCare System.

The Supreme Court decision meant doctors could legally and openly discuss the option of terminating a pregnancy.

"Thinking about the person's own health in this case, a woman's health, is very important," says Dr. Paula Johnson of Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It really gets the decision where it belongs."

Doctors say that means in the privacy of an exam room.

That's where conversations may also take place if the fetus has a chromosomal abnormality, or when twins and other multiples have severe health problems that would compromise their otherwise healthy siblings.

"That healthy baby would never survive unless we could do something with the other baby. Those conversations could never happen without Roe v. Wade," Dr. Stepp explains.

Despite the controversy surrounding abortion many in the medical community also say terminations performed by qualified doctors have saved women's lives.

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