I'm seven years older than my sister. In between us, when I was five, my mother had an ectopic pregnancy.┬á Ultrasound wasn't common back then, if it even existed--1971ish.┬á The first we knew was my mother waking up late at night screaming in obvious agony, pause for a few moments, scream again.┬á I heard a door slam, then movement, then the door again.┬á I think I remember my father coming through to tell me things were okay and something about a doctor.
When I woke up, our neighbor Mrs Seton was in the house, told me my mother was in the hospital, made sure I got fed, kept me occupied--it was school break.┬á I remember my father coming home, and cooking breakfast the next morning, but he didn't say more than three words.┬á I remember liking his breakfast better than my mother's, and feeling a bit guilty. Then he was gone again. This lasted several days.
Then my mother came home and had daily visits from the nurse.
So, what had happened was the ectopic pregnancy burst the fallopian tube, destroyed an ovary, and left her dead on the table for almost four minutes before being revived.┬á Part of it was some cultural legal BS at the time that the doctor wouldn't do what he had to without the husband's permission. Part of it was they didn't know what it was and didn't want to start cutting until they did.
Then they screwed up and used non-dissolving sutures internally, leading to abcesses, hence the home nurse visits. On the one hand, the NHS made those visits possible. On the other hand, their screwup made them necessary. This wasn't our first run-in with the incompetence of state-run medicine, either, but that's for elsewhere.
Jumping forward, on Thanksgiving Day this year my wife started complaining of some pressure and pain on her left side, lots of discomfort, and feared a possible miscarriage. She arranged a blood test for Friday morning, which showed things mostly normal.┬á "Mostly."
The following Tuesday was previously scheduled ultrasound appointment.
And of course, the universe has to kick things around.
Our four year old daughter woke up gagging and threw up, mostly bile. She was fine until she got on the bus for preschool, then threw up again, then again at school.┬á So we had to pick her up and take her with us to the appointment.
The clinic and doctor are absolutely first rate. They obviously didn't want a four year old, especially sick, in the clinic area, so the clinic manager herself came out to watch her in the waiting room, since they knew Jess needed me along for support.
The senior tech did the probing, and the doctor was present himself.┬á I knew that wasn't a good sign, after three previous kids.
And yes, that fuzzy sonar image looked wrong. Too small, too stringy.
The doctor was very gentle and diplomatic, but the end result was that it was an ectopic pregnancy, and at 7 weeks along had to be terminated NOW, before I got to see the other side of a woman screaming in agony as her body rips chunks of itself apart.
The process is chemical:
Methotrexate and┬ávaginal┬ámisoprostol.┬áMethotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, others) is rarely used for elective, unwanted pregnancies, although it's still used for pregnancies outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancies). This type of medical abortion must be done within seven weeks of the first day of your last period, and it can take up to a month for methotrexate to complete the abortion. Methotrexate is given as a shot or┬ávaginally┬áand the misoprostol is later used at home.
Get that?┬á The medical treatment for an ectopic pregnancy that might kill the mother is a chemically induced abortion. It's not "because she's lazy" or "because she couldn't keep her legs together."┬á It's because she might die.
So, in the currently civilized US, the discussion was basically,
Doctor: "We have to do this. Very sorry."
Mother:┬á "This is terrible, but yes."
Doctor: "Come in first thing tomorrow and we'll get the procedure started."
Now, in quite a few countries with more restrictive laws than the US--much of Europe, some of South America, Canada before abortion was legalized in the late 1980s--the process is much the same, except the doctor has to file an official note as to what and why.
And in quite a few other nations, they have to wait for the screaming agony, and then do more tests, and then surgical work, and a lot of women die.
This related case is a textbook example:
THAT is what happens in nations where they obsess over "The life of the unborn." The mother is legally an incubator with no rights.
And as I've referenced here before http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/index.php?itemid=433┬áwe live in a nation where the Dept of Education has a fucking SWAT TEAM to collect on arrears student loans.┬á So I'm not taking a bet that if a law here said that "only if the mother's life is in danger," there'd be too few, or too procedural, or too assholish of bureaucrats, and we'd have to wait for my wife to scream in agony and start hemorrhaging before anything was done.
This is one of many reasons I support absolutely unlimited abortion access, discussed between doctor and patient (and pretty much no doctor will perform the largely mythical just-before-birth abortion unless the mother really IS going to die, because doing so is very dangerous and worse than delivery, if delivery is an option at all, and there's no fucking time to have a bureaucrat sign papers).
Because today a late stage embryo, barely a fetus, dies before any brain to speak of exists, and my very much alive little girl will still have a mother, and my very much alive wife will stay that way, and have a lot of emotional anguish, because we really wanted another child and we're both reaching age limits.
And not to put too fine a point on it, it's also one of the many reasons I support the 2nd Amendment, because if it comes down to my wife's life vs dead bureaucrats and politicians, you get one guess how I vote.