Thursday, October 1, 2015

Realities of Pregnancy

Content Warning: Pregnancy Loss.

Many of the discussions about Planned Parenthood and abortion, often reveal ignorance of the #RealitiesOfPregnancy (Hashtag courtesy of Sarah Tuttle, @niais , from July). As Slate writes, "Childbirth is also gross and scary."

Part of the issue, is probably the lack of awareness of just how scary and dangerous pregnancy and childbirth can be. October is Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness month, so here are a few facts about that:

The #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that over 50% of fertilized eggs never implant.

The ‪#‎RealitiesOfPregnancy‬ are that 15-20% (up to 1 in 5) of women who know that they are pregnant, will miscarry (lose the pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation).

The #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that natural pregnancy loss is common. And needs to be discussed more.
The #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that the distinction between a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and an induced one is most clear in medical settings.

The #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that abortion can be therapeutic in many circumstances. Like an ectopic pregnancy: "watchful waiting" only works for a few weeks, before the risk of rupture. Pre-existing conditions that make pregnancy dangerous. Or complications can develop that can only be solved by delivery.

For many healthy pregnancies, the ~20 week visit is the first ultrasound. That's also when many parts are developed enough to examine. The #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that sometimes, development goes wrong, and not all fetuses are viable.
Now - none of that is, or should be, an automatic answer. What it means, though, is that I oppose a 20-week abortion ban, because proper due diligence would allow these women facing these heartbreaking scenarios to get a second opinion, to take time to do their research and prayers about what their particular situation would mean for their potential child.

Because not all of these anomalies are fatal. Because there is a wide range of in-betweens where the choices are not obvious. Because with the proper second or third opinions, with the proper connections to afford treatment, with the proper community support, many of these in-between scenarios could be carried to Life. You don't want anyone making an impulsive, sudden decision to beat the deadline, do you?

And the #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that childbirth itself can be deadly to mothers.

  • Exceptionally deadly: Death from childbirth is unusually common in America

  • One of my ongoing themes in this blog, is the issue of healthy relationships. I continue to emphasize that, because there are so many unhealthy relationship models in this world. Unhealthy relationships are held up as examples in Hollywood, in books, in news articles. The #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that it is not always a woman's choice. Pregnancy makes a woman vulnerable, and abusers use that vulnerability.

    The #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that women who seek out abortion are often not who you think they are.
    And the #RealitiesOfPregnancy are that carrying to term is more dangerous than having an abortion. Particularly for women who are turned away.
    The preponderance of evidence has led me to stand with Planned Parenthood, for their cancer screening, their sexual health education, for their contraceptions, prenatal care, and abortions.

    If you want to end abortion? Making it illegal doesn't work. This Salon article lists tactics that could cut the number of abortions by 90%.