Less than six weeks into her pregnancy, Hope’s doctor at Planned Parenthood couldn’t find a heartbeat during an ultrasound.
The next steps for the Quad Cities resident, who requested we only use her middle name in telling her personal story, were easy.
“At that point, they said that I could either choose to terminate the pregnancy, or I could go to my doctor and have them do it,” Hope said. “I told them that I wanted to schedule the appointment for the medical abortion.”
Hope wanted it over with. By using the medication, she could schedule an appointment sooner and take the pills in the privacy of her home rather than setting up an appointment with her primary doctor.
“It’s not invasive. I felt like it was the easiest way and the most respectful to my privacy,” Hope said. “It was a pretty easy decision because it wasn’t a situation where there was a heartbeat. It was a pregnancy that had already ended.”
Hope also had two daughters and was raising them alone. Before finding out about the miscarriage, her boyfriend hadn’t wanted her to get an abortion, but Hope had known she didn’t want to have another baby without a guarantee he’d be involved in helping.
“When you bring a child into a situation that’s not ideal, I feel like it’s unfair to that child because they didn’t ask to be there,” Hope said.
She said it’s also important for mothers—especially new mothers—to have a support system, which wasn’t something she had. She said it’s hard to navigate motherhood without it, and no one should be forced to be a single parent.
“Republicans, they want to ban abortion, but if the mother struggles with transportation or child care or, I mean, the baby formula shortage of all things, if I’m forced to have this baby then what’s next?” Hope said.
She said figuring out how to find child care or access state services isn’t obvious. Additionally, if a new mother also has to juggle an unsupportive job or navigating a city bus, it makes it harder to succeed.
Those challenges are one reason why Hope is grateful and relieved she could access the health care she did from Planned Parenthood.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and likely more happen before they’re detected. Sometimes those miscarriages are life-threatening and require emergency intervention. Sometimes they’re like a heavy period. And if the body doesn’t induce the miscarriage itself, doctors have to perform a D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure to remove the tissue. That procedure is also used for some surgical abortions.
In many cases, a person might have more than one miscarriage before being able to carry a pregnancy to term, and Hope said women should be able to get the treatment they need each time.
“A friend of mine, she had had like five or six miscarriages before she was able to carry a full pregnancy to term,” Hope said. “And to think that during that time she couldn’t get the health care that she needed, it seems cruel and unfair.”
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