Janneke Parrish is an activist and community advocate from Texas—a state that even before the Supreme Court’s intention to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case was leaked, passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. In Texas, it is illegal to have an abortion after about six weeks when a heartbeat can be detected, regardless of whether that pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Parrish shared a thread on Twitter Monday explaining exactly what it means "to cease to be pregnant in a state where abortions are banned."
It is both heartbreaking and infuriating. Consider this a trigger warning.
RELATED STORY: Five things to know about abortion right now
"I went to the doctor because I had a lot of pain in my lower back and pelvis, and had been nauseous for weeks," Parrish started her thread. "A blood test confirmed I was pregnant – until that point, I didn’t know."
Getting pregnant is one of my worst fears. I have nightmares about being pregnant, about being forced to have something grow inside me, and having to tear myself apart to bring it into the world.
The doctor brought me in to do an ultrasound, and confirmed that I had been pregnant, and wasn’t any longer. I’d miscarried, and that was where the pain and blood was coming from.
The doctor asked me about pregnancy, going into consolation mode. They asked me if I’d been trying to get pregnant, if I’d been pregnant before. I told them I had been pregnant, once before.
The doctor asked Parrish how many children she had, and when she responded that she had none because she had had an abortion when she was 19 years old, she wrote that “the conversation shifted dramatically.” She said the doctor questioned if she had taken a list of drugs in the last six weeks, asked what she had been doing and if she intentionally injured herself.
"Intentionally or not, it felt like I’d become a suspect in the death of something I didn’t know existed," Parrish said on Twitter. “Eventually, it stopped. They were satisfied that I hadn’t known I was pregnant and induced an illegal abortion in Texas. I left, though not without the fear that because I’d gone for medical help, I’d now be reported, per Texas law.”
Kavita Vinekar, an obstetrician-gynecologist, told Grid News overturning Roe v. Wade would have "an immediate impact" on patients but also on "the next generation of healthcare providers."
“A large portion of the next generation of providers may not have adequate training in basic skills that are helpful, not only in abortion care, but also in a gamut of other essential reproductive health services,” Vinekar said.
Reporters Jonathan Lambert and Alex Leeds Matthews wrote in the article:
Virtually overnight, it would become illegal for roughly 2,600 of the 6,000 OB-GYN residents nationwide to learn a skill their accreditation body deems essential. While programs are scrambling to develop workarounds, the likely end of a national right to abortion threatens to shrink the pool of doctors who can perform the procedure — limiting access even in states where abortion remains legal.
Scott Sullivan, an obstetrician-gynecologist who's on the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology, responded in the Grid article to the story of a now-professor of obstetrics and gynecology feeling unprepared after her residency because the University of Kansas only provides abortions in cases of emergency.
“If physicians don’t have the training to do these types of emergencies, you’re going to have unsafe situations and complications,” Sullivan told Grid News. “We think more people are going to die because of these rules, which is horrifying.”
If you need help paying for an abortion or with logistical support, you can find an abortion fund here.
Parrish said if she had known she was pregnant, she wouldn't have gone to the doctor. "Miscarriages are already being prosecuted in the US," she tweeted, citing an article from the reproductive health news cite Rewire News Group. "1200 people have been arrested since 2005 for not carrying a pregnancy to term.”
Lizelle Herrera was arrested last month by Texas’ Starr County Sheriff’s Office and held on a $500,000 bond after the sheriff's office reported that she “intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.” She was accused of homicide, and it took the local district attorney to clear Herrera of the charge. Texas penal code notes homicide doesn't apply to the mother in cases of an unborn child’s death.
RELATED STORY: 'Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted': District attorney to dismiss indictment on abortion
But even in clearing her, District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez wrote in a Facebook post:
”In reviewing this case, it is clear that the Starr County Sheriff’s Department did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital. To ignore the incident would have been a dereliction of their duty.”
The most alarming part of Ramirez’s statement is “brought to their attention by the reporting hospital.”
When we criminalise abortion – as Texas has done, and as half the US is now poised to do – we implicitly criminalise miscarriages too. Any pregnancy that doesn’t end in a live birth becomes suspect. What did they do to cause this? How did they kill their baby?
People stop going to get help when there is a risk they will go to jail for it. That is how people die. When you criminalise abortion, you criminalise every person able to get pregnant, and you put everything about them under scrutiny. They stop being human, and just become uteri.
Daily Kos is fundraising to help people access abortions in hostile states and those surrounding them, some of which have already seen an increase in patients traveling across state lines for care after Texas’ six-week abortion ban was enacted. You can make an impact right now by donating to these organizations to help people access abortion in this moment and in the future.