Mental health professional: Abortion bans will have dire consequences on healthcare staff

A recent post on social media is highlighting the issues medical professionals are facing with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 3:16 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - A recent post on social media is highlighting the issues medical professionals are facing with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

In an Instagram post, a nurse in a trigger law state describes how a woman with an ectopic pregnancy nearly died after doctors took nine hours to treat her because they had to consult lawyers.

The trauma of the situation brought her coworkers to tears.

“There’s a professional and ethical duty to provide care, right,” said Shuntai Walker, clinical director of Re-Connect My Life Counseling. “So, when doctors are placed in these situations they’re faced with ‘do I follow my ethical obligation or do I follow what the law says?’ So, that puts the doctor in a stressful situation.”

Days after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional protection for abortions, doctors and nurses are being placed in difficult situations when it comes to emergency medical treatment where an abortion is needed.

A situation that mental health professionals say could and will have dire consequences on the healthcare staff charged with treating patients.

“If it continues to have this, this creates a stressful environment for our doctors and our nurses that we could potentially see doctors and nurses leaving the field because of it. Because stress can be overwhelming to the point that it has implications on their health,” Walker said.

The decision by the court’s conservative majority has led to a wave of abortion bans taking effect across the country, leading to confusion which some healthcare professionals say could and will cause a delay in treatment.

Walker said in extreme cases, some healthcare professionals could also take their lives as a result of not being able to provide the lifesaving care a patient needs because of state laws banning abortions.

“Doctors and nurses, they are witness to people dying on a daily basis. But dying when you’re able to jump in and do something about it, that can be stressful. That can be traumatizing,” Walker said.

In Michigan, the right to an abortion is still in place after the state’s Court of Claims granted a preliminary injunction blocking a 1931 abortion law from taking effect.