You might be wondering whether ectopic pregnancy treatment is the same as having an abortion. Spoiler alert! They couldn’t be more different. Despite this, many women are fearful that they won’t have access to ectopic pregnancy treatment since the recent Supreme Court decision, Dobbs vs. Jackson, revoked the federal right to abortion. Don’t be alarmed! Let’s start by learning exactly what an ectopic pregnancy is, how it’s treated, and how the treatment is intended to save life, not take it.
WHAT IS AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY?
Normal pregnancies develop inside a woman’s uterus after a fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tube and attaches to the uterine lining. Ectopic pregnancy, however, is when a fertilized egg attaches somewhere else in the body, usually in the fallopian tube. When this happens, the developing ovum outgrows its blood supply and dies, causing severe bleeding and grave danger for the woman. This result is unavoidable since there just isn’t room in the fallopian tube for the embryo to develop.
An embryo implanted outside the uterus has no chance of surviving to birth. Not only can the embryo not survive, but in the absence of treatment, the mother’s health can often be endangered under these conditions.
Oftentimes, women’s bodies will naturally miscarry the pregnancy, but in rare instances, an embryo can grow for 12 to 13 weeks before they can no longer survive due to insufficient hormone and nutrition supply. If and when an embryo grows for that long, it becomes large enough to rupture inside the mother’s fallopian tube, causing abdominal hemorrhage and even possible death for the pregnant woman.
Thankfully, this condition is rare. Less than 2% of pregnant women experience an ectopic pregnancy. Those who do find themselves in this situation, though, have three options for treatment:
- EXPECTANT MANAGEMENT – Some women choose to carefully monitor the pregnancy, hoping to allow the body to naturally miscarry since the body often recognizes that the pregnancy isn’t viable anyway
- MEDICATION – If the ectopic pregnancy has not yet ruptured, medication which stops cell growth may be prescribed to preserve the mother’s health and future fertility
- SURGERY – If the fallopian tube has already ruptured, surgery may be required to remove portions of the fallopian tube in order to preserve her life and hopefully retain the woman’s ability to have children in the future.
WHY THE CONFUSION?
Many argue that because ectopic pregnancy treatment and abortion treatment do away with the pregnancy, they are the same. When you examine the purpose behind both procedures, they are not the same at all. Lets dive deeper into the treatment proccesses for abortion and ectopic pregnancy to make this distinction.
Not all abortions are done at the abortion clinic. There are also chemical abortions, which are accomplished when the pregnant woman takes a series of pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the body’s ability to recognize progesterone by the uterus, causing the uterine lining to break down and thus ending the life of the embryo.
Misoprostol is then taken to cause the uterus to contract and expel the embryo, embryonic sac, and lining of the uterus. This is not an easy or painless process by any means, but it is one that is chosen by the pregnant woman with the objective of ending a pregnancy.
Now, in some ectopic pregnancy cases, a similar regimen is followed, allowing the pregnancy to stop developing and ultimately, to end. A medication called methotrexate is injected into the body to stop cell growth and dissolve existing cells. This procedure is chosen only out of necessity to preserve the mother’s life. Left untreated, ectopic pregnancies account for nearly 4% of recorded pregnancy deaths . With an ectopic pregnancy rupture, the baby has no chance of survival, but the mother does have a chance to live, so long as she receives treatment.
Now, examining the medications used during both of these procedures, many argue that they are accomplishing the same result – ending a pregnancy. However, the intentions and end goals are different. And they’re not only different, they are complete opposites!
PRESERVING LIFE IS THE END GOAL
Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy always intends to alleviate the health emergency for the woman by removing the improperly implanted pregnancy. A pregnancy in the fallopian tube has no chance of survival. Only the mother’s life has the potential to be saved here, and ectopic pregnancy treatment seeks to do just that.
SAVING a life is the end game here. That’s a direct contradiction to abortion, which – by definition – aims to END a life.
WHAT ABOUT WOMEN’S RIGHTS?
Many argue that if abortion is made illegal, this treatment needed for ectopic pregnancy might also be so. They argue this because they believe that ectopic pregnancy treatment is the same as an abortion. The truth is – there’s no reason for this concern, since the two are not the same at all.
One – ectopic pregnancy treatment – solves a critical health concern, while the other – abortion – terminates a regular pregnancy, thereby disrupting a normal function of the human female body, where no one’s life was in danger in the first place.
Since abortion ends a life, it is a human rights issue, and therefore up for legal debate at the state level. Ectopic pregnancy treatment, however, is actual healthcare. This should never, and could never, be made illegal, since the objective of medical care is always to preserve life.
WOMEN DESERVE BETTER HEALTHCARE
Women with ectopic pregnancies today can rest easy knowing that the healthcare they need will always be made available to them. Preserving their lives (and the lives of their future children by preserving their fallopian tubes) is the life-affirming care that all medical professionals swear to provide their patients the moment they take the Hippocratic Oath. A good healthcare provider knows and upholds your rights as a patient and as a woman.
Do you think you might be pregnant? One of the most important things you can do is get a lab quality ultrasound. While a pregnancy test may tell you you’re pregnant, only an ultrasound can confirm the location and viability of the fetus. To be sure you’re not experiencing a tubal or ectopic pregnancy, contact Choices today and schedule your no-cost ultrasound appointment with our licensed clinic staff.