Study finds high rates of serious complications among Salvadoran patients who were forced to carry severely malformed fetuses to term
BY Nikki Rojas, Harvard Staff Writer
January 25, 2023
Pregnant patients in El Salvador, who, under the nation’s abortion ban, had no choice but to carry fetuses with severe malformations to term, experienced high rates of maternal morbidity, according to new research by Harvard sociologist Jocelyn Viterna and two partner Salvadoran physicians. The study, which examined 239 pregnancies with one of 18 malformations typically considered fatal between 2013 and 2018, appears in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Global Reports.
In explaining why they took up their research, Viterna and co-authors Carolina Mena Ugarte and María Virginia Rodríguez Funes, wrote that a “striking number of national and subnational governments that previously allowed legal abortion in cases of severe fetal anomaly” had passed laws to remove the allowances, but that little was known about the maternal health implications.