New Jersey wants to let midwives perform abortions to meet rising demand

Women gather to demand abortion rights on March 12, 2023 in New York City.
Women gather to demand abortion rights on March 12, 2023 in New York City.Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress
  • To meet a heightened demand for abortion care, New Jersey may permit midwives to perform abortions.

  • Since the overturn Roe v. Wade, many states have limited access to abortion care or implemented bans.

  • Many states – including New Jersey, until years – require a physician to perform the procedure.

New Jersey is mulling over a plan to allow midwives to perform abortions to meet the rising demand for abortion care.

If successful, it would make New Jersey one of about ten states that allow certified midwives or nurse-midwives to perform abortions. Several states with stronger restrictions require the procedure to be performed by a physician, a policy that New Jersey did away with in 2021, according to the New Jersey Monitor.

The potential new rule, proposed by the state's Board of Medical Examiners, would allow midwives to perform surgical abortions through the 14th week of gestation, the Monitor reported.

Over 90% of abortions in the US take place at or before the 13th week of gestation – during or very shortly after the first trimester, according 2020 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many abortions performed early in pregnancy use medication, called Mifepristone, instead of surgery; the US Food & Drug Administration permits the use of Mifepristone to end pregnancies through ten weeks of gestation.

"Many midwives currently provide safe and effective abortion services, including options counseling, ultrasound, comprehensive abortion care, and post-abortion care," the American College of Nurse-Midwives previously said in a statement.

The New Jersey proposal comes amid rising demand for the procedure after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, ending the national right to abortion care. From June to November 2022, the number of legal abortions performed in New Jersey rose by 7%, the New Jersey Monitor previously reported, citing statistics from a national study on abortions.

States imposing anti-abortion policies and bans have forced patients to travel out-of-state to acquire services. Nearly 90% of counties across the US lack an abortion clinic, according to 2020 data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that focuses on reproductive health and access.

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