My ectopic pregnancy makes me fear for women

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
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With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 decision, women no longer have a constitutional right to an abortion. Those on the pro-abortion side are concerned not only about privacy rights, but for the rights of women seeking to terminate pregnancies for health reasons. Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid reveals very personal reasons for ending her pregnancy, and explains how important it is for women — and doctors — to have legal options available for them:

A few years ago, I had an ectopic pregnancy where the egg fertilizes in the fallopian tube as opposed to the uterus and I almost died. You can click the link to read the full story, and you should, if only to familiarize yourself with the symptoms. 

The reason I didn’t was that my friend Erin recognized the signs — in my case, cramping and bleeding that weren’t consistent with my cycle — and ordered me to take a pregnancy test. It was positive, which, again, didn’t make sense given where I was in my cycle and she more or less frogmarched me into a car and drove me to the hospital. I was told I was indeed pregnant, despite the fact that I was crystal clear about the fact that nothing about this seemed right to me. The doctor congratulated me, and sent me home. 

I returned to the hospital several hours later in so much pain I could barely stand or speak. I was told I was having a miscarriage, and then I was sent home again to “finish” miscarrying.

Except over the weekend, my stomach swelled to the size of a basketball from internal bleeding, and I ended up in emergency surgery, during which the doctors removed my fallopian tube and the embryo inside it. 

Ectopic pregnancies are not viable — there is no way for an embryo to grow when it is lodged in the fallopian tube – and they are very, very dangerous. What happened to me was an example of incompetent medical care. My survival shouldn’t have depended on the intervention of a friend who just happened to know the signs of an ectopic pregnancy and who would not stop advocating for me, but it did.

With the Supreme Court deciding to overturn Roe v. Wade, people around the country are understandably angry, fearful, and heartbroken. The myriad of effects that this decision will have on people experiencing unwanted pregnancy cannot be overstated, but what I want to communicate today is just how tangibly dangerous this failure of the judicial system will be in ways beyond what may seem tragically obvious. 

A few years ago, I had an ectopic pregnancy – where the egg fertilizes in the fallopian tube as opposed to the uterus – and I almost died. You can click the link below to read the full story, and you should, if only to familiarize yourself with the symptoms. 

The reason I didn’t was that my friend Erin recognized the signs – in my case, cramping and bleeding that weren’t consistent with my cycle – and ordered me to take a pregnancy test. It was positive, which – again – didn’t make sense given where I was in my cycle – and she more or less frogmarched me into a car and drove me to the hospital. I was told I was indeed pregnant, despite the fact that I was crystal clear about the fact that nothing about this seemed right to me. The doctor congratulated me, and sent me home. 

I returned to the hospital several hours later in so much pain I could barely stand or speak. I was told I was having a miscarriage, and then I was sent home again to “finish.” Miscarrying.

Except over the weekend, my stomach swelled to the size of a basketball from internal bleeding, and I ended up in emergency surgery, during which the doctors removed my fallopian tube and the embryo inside it. 

as it stands now, I basically can no longer have natural pregnancy which I feel really guilty for even. I mean, I have two healthy children. I’m so lucky. It just really is hard to have, I guess have that decision made for me when I wasn’t sure that that I know there are other options.

Ectopic pregnancies are not viable – there is no way for an embryo to grow when it is lodged in the fallopian tube – and they are very, very dangerous. What happened to me was an example of incompetent medical care. My survival shouldn’t have depended on the intervention of a friend who just happened to know the signs of an ectopic pregnancy and who would not stop advocating for me, but it did.

With the Supreme Court deciding to overturn Roe V. Wade, people around the country are understandably angry, fearful, and heartbroken. The myriad of effects that this decision will have on people experiencing unwanted pregnancy cannot be overstated, but what I want to communicate today is just how tangibly dangerous this failure of the judicial system will be in ways beyond what may seem tragically obvious. 

When an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed within a certain timeframe, the proscribed course of action is to take medication that essentially induces a miscarriage – specifically a drug called methotrexate. By taking methotrexate, you can prevent the pregnancy from advancing to the point where the fallopian tube can burst, with devastating results for the woman. It’s the most common cause of death for pregnant women in their first trimester. And yet Texas has already put into effect a law that restricts the use of that drug – a decision that’s having ripple effects in other states.  

Physicians in states that now prohibit pregnancy have already begun turning away women who are in the midst of miscarriages, out of fear that treatment could be constituted as abortion. Pharmacists are already declining to fill prescriptions for potentially lifesaving medications that terminate non-viable pregnancies. A woman in Texas was told to drive to New Mexico – fifteen hours away – to have her ectopic pregnancy removed. I’m telling you right now, that is not a thing I would have been able to do. 

There are tremendous barriers to effective treatment for ectopic pregnancies even prior to the overturning of Roe V. Wade. During my trips to the hospital, I asked several doctors outright whether I was having an ectopic pregnancy. I told them that whatever was happening to me was not normal. “I’ve been pregnant twice before,” I said, “and this is not right.” I was dismissed over and over. Sent home. And, because this bears mentioning, I am a white woman of enormous privilege, with access to excellent medical care, and I live in the state of California.

If doctors are afraid that treatment of a miscarriage could result in charges, they are seriously unlikely to pursue it. They are far more likely to – as in my case – suggest that the miscarriage be allowed to proceed “naturally.” To “resolve itself.” 

But if it doesn’t? A woman risks uterine perforation, organ failure, infertility, and death – not to mention the emotional damage of undergoing such an experience. 

The overturning of Roe V. Wade will have consequences for women that I don’t think we can fully comprehend yet – financial consequences. Emotional ones. Physical ones. And don’t tell me that abortion will be permitted in “medical emergencies” (which, in many states, will not include situations like rape and incest). Methotrexate wasn’t offered to me as an option due to negligence. What if it hadn’t been offered to me out of fear?

This decision is going to touch us all, in one way or another. It’s going to hurt women. It is going to kill them. 

Just remember that when it’s your turn to vote. 


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