The provision of obstetric emergency care has long been complicated by an uncertain legal environment including ambiguity about restrictions relating to pregnancy termination; this uncertainty about legal constraints may result in clinical repercussions that could limit access to care for a broad spectrum of conditions, not just those that are explicitly prohibited. To understand the impact of this uncertain legal environment, this pilot study will characterize and define obstetric emergencies, use that definition to document variation in the management of, morbidity related to, and mortality resulting from treatment of obstetric emergencies, and to evaluate the federal regulatory response to sub-standard obstetric emergency care.

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