Thursday, October 20, 2016

The importance of Roe v. Wade

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Roe v. Wade

Abortion seems to be a hot topic as always, but it is particularly ugly this election year. It is not a subject I enjoy talking about, but I think it is important to speak on it now. Here is my story, and my story is a prime example of why Roe v. Wade should never be overturned and abortion should not be further restricted.

I had three therapeutic abortions. If you have miscarried, it is likely you have had one, too. You just didn’t know this is what it was.  This was not a term I was comfortable with after any of my miscarriages, but that is exactly what it is. Therapeutic abortions are performed when a fetus dies in utero and is not expelled. The procedure is commonly referred to as a D&C. I had five miscarriages, and three of those miscarriages required a therapeutic abortion. There is nothing dirty or immoral about it. It is necessary. Before you say this isn’t what people want banned, let me tell you that this would indeed be affected by any type of ban or restrictions. Why? It is the same procedure as an elective abortion, and if restrictions are placed it would need legal approval before it can be performed. That means women like me could (and would) die while waiting for approval for a necessary procedure.

Twenty percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in five. Think about that for a moment - one in five. Two percent of pregnancies end in a missed or incomplete miscarriage. A missed or incomplete miscarriage means the fetus has died, but the body has not expelled the fetus. I had five miscarriages, and three of those were missed/incomplete. I hemorrhaged with two of my missed miscarriages. Two. I had a D&C (therapeutic abortion) with three of my miscarriages. One was performed under emergency circumstances, as I was losing too much blood and I was losing it fast. This was in the middle of the night. If I had to wait for the hospital to gain legal approval to perform the procedure, which would be a side effect of reform, I would have bled to death before a judge could sign off on treatment. The doctor’s hands would have been tied, and she could not have performed an operation that was needed to save my life.

I want you to think about that for a moment. Imagine that you have just learned that your baby has died, and you know you are bleeding to death while you wait for approval of a life-saving procedure. Imagine lying there knowing your baby is dead, and you are going to die, too. I was lucky, but reform would mean many women would not be so lucky. I was lucky that a miscarriage didn’t end my life like the many women who died before these life-saving procedures. The modern marvels of medicine intended to save women’s lives would suddenly be subject to legal approval, and women would indeed die despite us having the ability to save them. Why? Because they miscarried. They would die simply because their baby died in the womb.

Make no mistake about it. When you say abortion should only be available to save the mother’s life, in cases of rape, or with any type of restriction that means a doctor would need a judge to sign off and say it was legal to perform the procedure. This is already the case for a minor who wishes to have an abortion. A judge must approve it, and that does not happen in a short amount of time. That time means women waiting for therapeutic abortions will die because people wanted restrictions or an all-out ban. Women who miscarry will die. Don't pretend that there will be judges on hand day and night to approve such things. Don't pretend that medical professionals will be allowed to use their own discretion. Any type of legal restriction requires legal approval prior to the procedure. 

When a woman miscarries, one of the first things that goes through her mind is why it happened. You wonder if there was anything you could have done wrong. Did I eat right? Did I drink too much caffeine? Did I lift something heavy? You try to figure out what went wrong. If restrictions are placed, women will die as they wait, thinking they killed their baby and their baby is killing them. What a horrible, awful, terrible thought. Women should not have to die because their doctors must wait for a judge to say they can save them. This is not acceptable, but that is what will happen if further restrictions are enacted. The unintended consequences of what people believe to be good intentions will be maternal fatalities. Enact laws where insurance companies do not have to pay for anything abortion-related, and insurance companies won’t cover needed medical care after a miscarriage. Women will die. One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, and women will have to hope and pray their case is approved by a judge before they bleed to death. Oh, and if she isn’t bleeding to death and hasn’t passed the baby, she would have to carry it until she developed massive infection and was dying before a D&C could be performed. I cannot imagine that. That is not acceptable. One of my miscarriages would have been like that.

Before you say they should just allow them if the baby has died, just know that any restriction would mean a doctor would have to prove that they followed the law, meaning legal counsel and a judge would still be required to protect the doctors and hospitals - before they perform the procedure. You’re still going to have the same problem while they get it approved. No doctor or hospital is going to risk breaking the law. Life-saving action will be delayed, and any time that happens deaths occur.

Now, let’s say a woman is beyond her first trimester and her baby dies in utero. If there is no threat to her life, she would be forced to carry it to term or go before a judge and explain that the baby she is carrying is dead and ask to have it removed. Can you imagine? Should women be forced to carry dead babies to term if their life is not at stake? Should a woman carrying a deceased child have to go before a judge and plead her case? A grieving mother should never, ever have to go through such nonsense.

Let’s tackle another scenario where pro-lifers agree to give a pass. Suppose a woman is raped. In order to have an abortion, she would have to report it, name the rapist, and go to court. Did anyone else see how ugly and vicious people are to women who dare to accuse a man of unwanted sexual contact? Did you see how awful they talk about women who dare to step forward? And you want more women to come forward so they can be humiliated and then further degraded when they must go to court to face their rapist AND beg a judge to allow them to abort the product of rape? No. This is not acceptable. It’s not okay to tell women they must face their rapist while the rapist says she was asking for it and the general public makes the same types of statements they have made over the last few months. How could anyone feel that level of humiliation and torture is okay? Don’t even get me started on how awful this would be for cases of incest.

Are you starting to understand why banning abortion is a really, really bad idea? Are you starting to understand why women’s rights needs to be protected? Are you starting to understand why women’s healthcare should be between her and her doctor?

My five miscarriages were horrible. It was horrible to lose five babies. It was horrible to go through all that I did, but women face this every day. Do you know what would have been worse? If I had died because the doctor had not yet received approval to save me and my husband and children were left without a wife and mother. Bans and reform will have those consequences.

So, when you say abortions should be banned, what you are saying to me is that it would have been an acceptable consequence if I had been left to die because my babies died. Before you backtrack and try to explain this isn’t what you meant or those things wouldn’t be included, let me assure you that what I am telling you is what the consequences would be of a ban or reform. And I say to you - my body, my choice. Let doctors save lives while you snub your nose at things you don't understand. Therapeutic abortion after a miscarriage is the only reason why I am still alive today, and no woman should have to die because she lost her baby. Leave my rights alone. 

Oh, and for those of you still screaming we need to ban abortions, take your sanctimonious self-righteous indignation and shove it. 

~ A ticked off Gran

1 comment:

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