Will the Stupak Amendment Force Women Who've Miscarried to Lose Insurance Coverage?
This weekend, a group of male pro-life Democrats gambled with women's health, and women lost. By broadly writing in that insurers can chose whether or not to cover "abortion services," pro-life amendments don't just affect their intended victims -- women seeking a way out of an unwanted or medically harmful pregnancy. They also affect another group of victims -- women whose pregnancies have already ended but have not yet miscarried.
I'm one of those women, and this past Halloween I had what the hospital officially termed an "abortion."
Hospitals and doctors in general do not have terminology to classify a difference between the termination of a live pregnancy and one in which the fetus has already died. To them, a D&C is a D&C, regardless of the state of the "conception materials" removed. Regardless of how many times I made sure to mention to the staff, either for the sake of my sanity or to spare me some sort of imagined shame, that I was ridding myself of my "dead fetus," to them, it was all the same.
I had learned the day before that the baby I thought was nearly 12 weeks old had no heartbeat, and had actually died at 8 weeks. I was given three options: wait for a miscarriage to occur on its own, something I was told my body had no intention of doing anytime soon, take medication that would expel the fetus, passing it in my own home (classified a "chemical abortion") or come in for a D&C to remove the fetal materials.
As much as I struggled with the sudden realization that the pregnancy was over, I also found myself trying to decide financially what I was willing to do. A chemical abortion would cost $40, but I would be alone, bleeding, and it could still be incomplete and I would require a D&C anyway, since my pregnancy was so advanced. Surgery would be quick, total, and under controlled circumstances, but would likely be our full maxed insurance amount of $1500. And of course, there was the free option of waiting for my body to finally realize I wasn't pregnant, but after 4 weeks the risk of infection was steadily climbing, increasing my chances of future miscarriage, infertility, or even death. With a toddler at home, and still nursing hopes for extending our family some day, this was not an option.