The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, prompting many states to ban abortion, will have far-reaching consequences beyond limiting a woman’s right to choose motherhood. One thing it can potentially impact are ectopic pregnancies, when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. Lauren Conrad took to Instagram last night to share her story of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.
She credits “prompt medical care” with allowing her to subsequently become pregnant with sons Liam James, almost 5, and Charlie Wolf, 2, with husband William Tell. “Due to prompt medical care doctors saved my fallopian tubes, allowing me to have two healthy pregnancies,” the former The Hills star wrote.
The lifestyle guru shared that she had been debating on what to say since the Supreme Court’s decision last Friday.
“The last few days have been hard,” she wrote. “I’ve been searching for the right words, and reposting someone else’s didn’t feel quite right. I wanted to share my own experience with lifesaving reproductive care.”
But seeing a story about a woman not getting fast treatment for ectopic pregnancy in light of this decision prompted her to share her story. “Yesterday I read about a woman with the same condition having her ectopic pregnancy rupture — and facing death — while waiting for treatment, because her doctor was on the phone with his lawyer out of fear of losing his medical license (for using a D&C as a tool to help establish the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy). This is heart breaking.”
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), says an ectopic pregnancy cannot be moved to the uterus, so the only option is to end the pregnancy. Some women are given medication like methotrexate to stop the cells from growing and end the pregnancy. Sometimes emergency surgery is required to protect the fallopian tubes. “Patients with an ectopic pregnancy must have timely access to all treatment options,” stated the ACOG. “An untreated ectopic pregnancy is life-threatening; withholding or delaying treatment can lead to death. Laws limiting, restricting, or directing treatment of ectopic pregnancy are dangerous and unethical.”
The ACOG continues, “Legislation that bans abortion care for those with an ectopic pregnancy or mandate how clinicians treat ectopic pregnancies do not reflect the clinical reality of ectopic pregnancy management and could result in delays or even denials of care. Abortion bans — even those with exceptions for ectopic pregnancy — can generate confusion for patients and health care professionals and can result in delays to treatment. Health care professionals should never have to navigate vague legal or statutory language to determine whether the law allows them to exercise their professional judgment and provide evidence-based care. Any application of an abortion ban that affects those in need of treatment for ectopic pregnancy is inappropriate and will certainly cost lives.”
Dr. Aileen Gariepy, director of complex family planning at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, told The New York Times on Tuesday, “We’re already seeing on Twitter and elsewhere physicians being scared to treat ectopic pregnancies. As doctors, our job is to follow science and evidence-based medicine, it is keeping up-to-date and doing what’s right for the patient. It is not the nuances of how state legislatures wrote something.”
“Many women in my life had their own experiences with abortion,” Conrad continued in her Instagram Stories. “I am so grateful that in each case they were able to safely receive the healthcare they needed and were free to make their own decisions.”
She added, “Talking about abortion is hard. It can be scary and sad and confusing, and it divides us. But we must continue talking — and listening — to each other in a respectful way, especially when we disagree. I hope someday we will be in a place where every woman has access to the healthcare she needs and the freedom to decide what happens in her own body.”
Regardless of your personal feelings on abortion, banning abortion will lead to lives lost — and that is not something that anyone should be celebrating. It should be up to a woman and her doctor to determine her reproductive health care, and the government — and men who never have and never will be pregnant — can stay out of it.
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