With Roe v. Wade done, mothers will need help

The overturning of Roe v. Wade by the SCOTUS and the list of states with trigger legislation will undermine the physical autonomy of women. It limits their personal health decisions and access to health care specific to their needs, something that is prejudicial and undermines the essential equalities that should be inherent our society. 

Political partisanship is evident and has blurred the constitutional separation of church and state. If our courts are going to create an unequal burden on one sex, we must address the elephant in the room. The fertilizing male and the communities within which these women live must assume the responsibilities to support the health of the mother and child.

— Comprehensive medical and mental health care for the mother whether it be though a special Medicaid program or other insurance vehicle. That includes maternal pre-existing, pregnancy associated, and post-natal care and support. 

— Prenatal diagnostic services, interventions, and preparation for difficult issues such as genetic syndromes, premature birth, and other conditions that can adversely affect the mother’s, baby’s and caregivers’ lives.

— Food, shelter, and education need to be considered for the mother and the child. Women who may have opted to terminate a pregnancy and are not able to work or attend school will need food, shelter, continuing educational and job opportunities, and job security.  The baby needs to be assured of a healthy and supportive home environment for the first six years of life during which essential physical and psychological development takes place.

— Choosing termination in another state where it is legal. For those who choose to move out of the state for their personal health and bodily autonomy, there should be funds available to help in that process.

— Paternity and responsibility of the genetic contributor. Paternity needs to be established and the fathers of these babies must contribute to the care of these babies. The mother should retain the personal freedom of choice to decide if that relationship is through co-parenting or just financial. There might also be a whistle blower “reward” for revealing paternity if not admitted to or for anyone who helps to hide the paternal identity.

— Paternity testing must be covered and not subject to refusal by any purported sexual partner. 

— In the event of rape or incest, appropriate investigation and legal proceedings must be undertaken.

— Family leave. If the mother to-be is in a family and both parents would be afforded compensated family leave from work and supplemental support if there was a complication or outcome that required extended medical care of the mother and/or baby.

— Maternal death or disability. If the mother dies from a complication of pregnancy or childbirth, the state will provide compensation and support for the surviving members of the family until the youngest child reaches 18 years of age.

Dr. Russell Libby