Pro-abortion advocates often use ectopic pregnancies as a prime exception for where abortion should be legal. They argue that restricting abortion would jeopardize women with this medical condition. Let’s talk about how treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is NOT an abortion.
What Is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb, usually in the fallopian tubes. This can be a very dangerous condition for a mother, as it can cause internal bleeding and damage to organs. If not treated immediately, an ectopic pregnancy can be fatal. This is considered a non-viable pregnancy because a fertilized egg cannot develop outside of the uterus.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and lightheadedness. Treatment typically involves removing the pregnancy through surgery. In some cases, medication may be used to stop the bleeding and prevent further damage.
What Are the Risks Associated with Ectopic Pregnancy?
There are a number of risks associated with ectopic pregnancy. Below you’ll find some of the most common risks.
Ectopic pregnancies can be life-threatening
Ectopic pregnancies can cause the fallopian tube to rupture, which can lead to dangerous internal bleeding. This condition is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester of pregnancy, accounting for 10%-15% of all maternal deaths.
Ectopic pregnancies can lead to fertility problems. When ectopic pregnancies are detected and treated early, many women do not have problems with future pregnancies. While the condition can lead to infertility, 62%-70% of women have successful pregnancies after experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. However, some women do have recurrent ectopic pregnancies.
Aside from physical complications and dangers, ectopic pregnancies can cause emotional distress. Regardless of where the pregnancy implanted, a life is lost. Similar to a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies entail a grieving process of their own.
Undiagnosed Ectopic Pregnancy and Abortion
Women seeking the abortion pill (AKA a medication or chemical abortion) could put themselves in harm’s way if they are pregnant with an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. Seeing a physician online or acquiring pills through the internet does not ensure the pregnancy is viable and does not diagnose ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy cannot be treated using the morning-after pill or the abortion pill. The FDA lists ectopic pregnancy as a contraindication the administration of Mifeprex, which is a brand name for the abortion pills. The FDA warns that “mifepristone is not effective for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy,” and it warns about sepsis occurring after medical abortions with mifepristone.
What Are the Treatment Options for Ectopic Pregnancy?
A doctor cannot diagnose an ectopic pregnancy just by examining the mother. A diagnosis is made through blood tests and ultrasounds. If an ectopic pregnancy is detected early, it can be treated with a medication called methotrexate, which stops cell growth and dissolves existing cells. This is not the same medication of the abortion pill, which names are mifepristone and misoprostol.
What are the different types of surgery for ectopic pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancies require specific medical surgery that is not the same as a surgical abortion. There are two different types of surgery for ectopic pregnancy: laparoscopic surgery and abdominal surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves making small incisions in the abdomen. This type of surgery is often used when the ectopic pregnancy is found early, and the fallopian tube can be saved.
Two laparoscopic procedures are often used: salpingostomy and salpingectomy. A small incision is made in the abdomen, and the surgeon uses a camera to view the tubal area. In a salpingostomy, the ectopic pregnancy is removed and the tube is left to heal on its own.
However, a salpingectomy is used when both the ectopic pregnancy and tube are needed to be removed. Often this sort of abdominal surgery is a more invasive procedure that involves making a larger incision in the abdomen. This surgery is often used when the ectopic pregnancy is found later and the pregnancy has ruptured.
Does the overturning of Roe v. Wade affect ectopic pregnancy treatment?
Abortions are never medically necessary, but treatment for an ectopic pregnancy IS medically necessary. This has been the continuous argument of the pro-life community, but pro-abortion advocates wish to use ectopic pregnancy as an exception where abortion is needed.
The Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare, a declaration signed by many doctors and medical professionals, released the following statement:
“As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology, we affirm that direct abortion “the purposeful destruction of the unborn child “is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.
We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.
We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”
Roe v. Wade will not stop doctors from treating ectopic pregnancies. This is an overinflated concern by those in opposition to the overturning of Wade and serves as disinformation used as rhetoric to manipulate public opinion. Treatment for ectopic pregnancy does not use the same medication or surgical procedures that abortion does. They are not the same.
Concerns about protecting “abortion” for ectopic pregnancies has led to federal protection for abortion for all medical emergencies. Although states with abortion bans do make the exception for ectopic pregnancies, the Biden Administration released federal guidelines that override state abortion bans in the case of a medical emergency, through the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra clarified that these medical emergencies include but are not limited to ectopic pregnancies, complications from miscarriages, and hypertensive disorders such as preeclampsia.
WebMD, MayoClinic, and even Planned Parenthood do not refer to ectopic pregnancy treatment as abortion, yet ectopic pregnancy is used as a buzzword to protect abortion access.
With the new threat of increasing access to the abortion pill, women are at greater risk of the dangers of undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies. It is essential that women receive care to determine if their pregnancies are viable before seeking abortions. This is why medical care, ultrasounds, and intentional counseling are so important to moms at risk for abortion. Considering sponsoring a life-saving ultrasound today, and change the lives of both mothers and babies.