Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, conservative states have rushed to put into place, without thinking through the ramifications, anti-abortion laws. A recent story in The New York Times caught my attention. “They Had Miscarriages, and New Abortion Laws Obstructed Treatment” focused on a 35 year-old woman named Amanda who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and suffered not one but two miscarriages, each one in her first trimester of pregnancy. The first time, the doctor performed a procedure called dilation and curettage, or D&C, to remove tissue left behind to save her from the agony of dispelling the failed pregnancy on her own over a period of time. The second time, the doctor did not perform that procedure. Instead she was sent home to bleed out in pain for more than 48 hours.
A D&C is the same procedure used for some abortions. Although nothing was said to Amanda, under Texas’ new restrictive abortion law, many doctors now live in fear of being charged with performing an abortion, even when the surgical procedure is for something else, something that could save a woman’s life.
It’s been many decades since my own miscarriages, but Amanda’s story resonated. Like her, I suffered two miscarriages when I was in my thirties. Losing not one but two pregnancies after trying for so long to have a baby was devastating. However, I was saved what Amanda went through during her second miscarriage. After sonograms showed that each pregnancy was no longer viable, the doctor performed a D&C so that I wouldn’t have to suffer further. I had tried for more than seven years to get pregnant so those two miscarriages were heartbreaking. Recovering physically and mentally each time took all the energy I could muster. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if some government authority had come in and charged me with having an abortion. Or had gone after a doctor who had given me such wonderful care.
These anti-abortion laws are being written and put into effect with little thought. We are only beginning to see how many women will suffer because of unforeseen circumstances. When did we stop trusting doctors for giving their patients the best care they could? When did we create an environment where medical professionals live in fear, thus placing their patients in jeopardy? I wept when I read what Amanda went through after her second miscarriage and was grateful I was spared.
Battle lines are drawn on the abortion debate and will obviously play a large role in the midterms. But there are many who are caught in the middle who will suffer because of laws that place politics over women’s health. I fear for all the Amandas now out there and in the future who after a miscarriage could suffer serious health complications and may die.
At the end of the Times article, Amanda says this: “We are not going to try and conceive anymore. We don’t feel like it’s safe in Texas to continue to try after what we went through.”
What a sad, tragic, and avoidable situation.
Top photo: Bigstock