Marquise Goodwin’s Tragedy Highlights the Need for Comprehensive Obstetrical Care

Over the weekend, San Francisco 49ers player Marquise Goodwin made headlines for a dramatic touchdown followed by what was clearly an emotional moment. The player had taken the field just hours after severe complications ended his wife’s pregnancy.

Goodwin’s post about the subject on Instagram was bold; many people are reluctant to talk about bad pregnancy outcomes like this, and losing a very much desired baby is a traumatic and stressful experience that’s often mourned in silence.

But the situation also unwittingly highlighted another issue in the United States: the need for widespread access to comprehensive obstetrical care.

Though Goodwin chose not to delve into the details of his private family tragedy, their baby was clearly pre-term and delivered via induced labor to give the parents an opportunity to say goodbye. Compassionate, caring medical providers would much rather deliver healthy, full-term babies, but this is part of the job too.

And it requires training that’s on the wane in the United States, thanks to the stigma of abortion. Had fetal demise occurred earlier in the pregnancy — and required the services of a physician who could perform a surgical abortion, rather than an early delivery – the family might have struggled to find care, potentially compromising wife Morgan Goodwin-Snow’s health, fertility and life.

The National Abortion Federation notes a steady decline in the number of abortion providers capable of providing care at all stages of gestation. Some of that is due to the harassment many abortion providers report, as well as legislation designed to regulate abortion out of existence.

But limited access to training is a problem too.

In 2005, researchers found that many medical schools didn’t offer abortion training, an issue that drove Medical School Students for Choice to step up and increase availability of training. Clinicians who want to provide miscarriage care also need to learn how to provide abortion care — because they’re the same thing. And clinical experience under skilled instructors is critical to increase safety and help providers feel comfortable with a sometimes emotionally fraught aspect of patient care.

Failure to provide training and invest in research also deprives patients of opportunities to experience the best quality care possible. Abortion is already an extremely safe procedure, and confidence with abortion procedures makes it easier to provide safe miscarriage care — especially considering that it often occurs in the context of an immediate emergency, with less control over the circumstances. In the case of stillbirths, knowing how to provide compassionate care is tremendously beneficial for patients.

Whether people are terminating a pregnancy they don’t want, making tough decisions about pregnancies with severe complications, coping with fetal death or trying to save the life of a pregnant patient, quality gynecological and obstetrical care is of key importance. It’s critical to protect access to the training that makes competent care possible — and to defend the clinicians and facilities that offer it.

No one in a state of trauma and stress should have to search far and wide to find a qualified care provider to take care of their needs. And attacking access to abortion care doesn’t just make it harder to get abortions; it also hurts pregnant people who are devastated by the loss of wanted pregnancies.

The fight for abortion rights helped to ensure that this family got the best possible care at a traumatic and terrible time. Furthermore, the research performed by care providers interested in how and why things go wrong in pregnancy could make a huge difference for the outcome of Goodwin-Snow’s next pregnancy, should she decide she’d like to try for another baby.

Those who wish to deny access to comprehensive care for private medical matters might want to look to this family and think again, regardless of their own personal views on the subject of abortion. After all, they benefited from the work of individuals committed to protecting reproductive health for everyone — including those ready and eager to welcome children into their lives.

Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito/Flickr

38 comments

Mike R
Mike R14 days ago

Thank you

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Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O18 days ago

My heart goes to this family, as I have been there many years ago. I was lucky to have had a woman's maternity hospital around in those days that kept a good watch on mother's to be from the start until 6 weeks after baby was born. I went on to have my second child still with personal complications for the both of us. Pleased to say he is a fine dad now and I am still alive as well. I feel every woman deserves the right to have the best care for her unborn, but importantly for herself as well. Thank you for bringing this out in the open.

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s20 days ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s20 days ago

Thank you

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One Heart inc
One Heart inc23 days ago

Thanks!!!~
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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One Heart inc
One Heart inc23 days ago

Thanks!!!~
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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Chad A
Chad A24 days ago

Thank you for raising awareness.

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson25 days ago

ty

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Winn A
Winn A26 days ago

:-(

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Adele E Zimmermann

Anyone who claims to revere the unborn should take a look at this. How many wanted babies are lost due to inadequate obstetrical care?

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