How to Save Women’s Lives After Roe

A federal law exists that could protect women having life-threatening pregnancy complications—but only if the Biden administration decides to use it.

By Greer Donley and Kimberly Chernoby
JUNE 13, 2022

In February, NPR reported a story of a woman, Anna, who went into labor at 19 weeks, far too early for her child to survive outside the womb. This is a condition known as “preterm premature rupture of membranes” (PPROM), and in many cases the medically recommended treatment is abortion. Attempting to delay labor long enough to reach a point where the baby could survive can mean risking infection, sepsis, and death.

Unfortunately, Anna lived in Texas, where the state’s abortion law, S.B. 8, has effectively outlawed abortion after six weeks. As a result, the hospital—and consequently, her doctors—concluded that they could not treat her. They found a provider in Colorado and discussed whether it was safer for Anna to board an airplane or endure a long car trip, given her ongoing medical emergency. They settled on an airplane and developed a plan in case she needed to deliver her baby in the plane’s bathroom.