This new regulation, HHS-45-CFR part 88 is an abomination to all women, but one of the least talked about applications of it is how this will effect infertiles and recurrent miscarriers. By focusing on them I'm by no means denying the horrific effects this will have on women of normal fertility or pregnant women in general. Just, here's another perspective.
This has made the rounds amongst the feminist blogs, but I think it's equally important to women dealing with infertility and loss. So, here you are.
I've made it pretty clear that I am adamantly and proudly pro-choice, but I'm not debating actual abortion here, now. I've also written repeatedly about my belief, derived from logical conclusion, that any abortion restriction (ok, most) has a negative impact on miscarrying women.
Well, let me show you how.
Recently a draft proposal from the Bush Administration was leaked, and it is disturbing. In summation, the proposal does this:
Therefore, for the purpose of these proposed regulations, and implementing and enforcing the Church Amendment, Public Health Service Act §245, and the Weldon Amendment, the Department proposes to define abortion as "any of the various procedures—including the prescription and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action—that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation."
Any drug, procedure, or any other action that could result in the demise of a fertilized egg. Let's break that down, shall we?
Again, we're assuming Bush gets his way and abortion is outlawed. This would at the bare minimum outlaw cancer treatment for women, antidepressants, most painkillers, many antibiotics, etc.
And, of course, IVF, embryo freezing (not all embryos make it), embryonic stem cell research.
It gets worse. Keep in mind they said "any action."
The Bush administration has already suggested that women of fertile age shouldn't handle cat feces due to risk of toxoplasmosis to their hypothetical potential embryo. So, there goes that.
In addition, consuming lunch meat, unpasteurized dairy, or taking a hot bath. Hell, drinking coffee.
"But Ashley," you say, "doctors and scientists know that those things don't cause miscarriage." See, that doesn't matter. Science, logic, and reality doesn't matter to these people. The government is seriously trying to enshrine in law the BELIEFS of, well, fucking crazy people.
"The Department proposes, then, to allow individuals and institutions to adhere to their own views and adopt a definition of abortion that encompasses both views of abortion."
This statement is prefaced by a discussion over the two competing views of the beginning of human life. The scientific community says that pregnancy begins at implantation, because that's a verifiable and testable moment, largely because the ZEF (zygote/embryo/fetus) interacts with the woman's system. The religious view point is that pregnancy begins the moment of conception. The thing is, there is no way we can possibly know when that is, at all. And considering the sheer number of chemical pregnancies, it's something that happens to pretty much every woman.
Now, of course, science knows that birth control pills, Plan B, etc. don't interfere with implantation, but the religious people believe this happens. That is enough to enshrine it in law according to this document.
I think you can see why this is disturbing. If you want to actually read the proposal, here it is: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/...
I wrote this back when I was in the throes of infertility and rather depressed by it. Now, at 15 weeks pregnant, this regulation scares me even more.
Should I develop severe pre-eclampsia and have an anesthesiologist with a "conscience" he could do his best to stop a termination procedure and thereby greatly increase my chance of stroke or death.
Were this pregnancy ectopic (thankfully it's not) and my doctor was a Catholic, I'd lose 50% of my fertility instead of just my pregnancy.
If this were a molar pregnancy (and thankfully, it's not) I could have a nurse refuse to assist in my termination, again risking my life.
Heck, if the nurse I had when I went to the ER with hyperemesis gravidarum had been a real stickler about drug labels, she could have refused to give me anti-nausea meds (I was given a class B drug, something that is only shown to be safe in gestating animals, not necessarily gestating humans), thereby increasing my dehydration and the risk to my child.
After this pregnancy, there's even more fun to be had at my expense by the religious reich. I have PCOS, which causes infertility and miscarriage (amongst other things). There is a chance that I will go back on the pill post partum in order to preserve my fertility; should a pharmacist refuse my prescription, they'd be making it potentially far more difficult for me to become pregnant again at a later date.
This regulation has so many more implications than just abortion and birth control, and could severely restrain the health choices of every woman between the ages of 10 and 60 in this country.
One final thought.....
Realistically, an oncologist can refuse to give any woman chemotherapy in the belief that she may be harboring a fertilized egg.