Ectopic Pregnancy Abortion

Ectopic Pregnancy Abortion

Ectopic pregnancy is when a pregnancy grows outside of your uterus, usually in your fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancies are rare but serious, and they need to be treated.

Normal pregnancies develop inside your uterus, after a fertilized egg travels through your fallopian tube and attaches to your uterine lining. Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg attaches somewhere else in your body, usually in your fallopian tube — that’s why it’s sometimes called “tubal pregnancy.”

Ectopic pregnancies can also happen on your ovary, or somewhere else in your belly.

Ectopic pregnancies are rare — it happens in about 2 out of every 100 pregnancies. But they’re very dangerous if not treated. Fallopian tubes can break if stretched too much by the growing pregnancy — this is sometimes called a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This can cause internal bleeding, infection, and in some cases lead to death.

Ectopic pregnancies can be deadly.

The condition happens in about 2 percent of all pregnancies, when a fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus — usually in the fallopian tube, a tiny structure connecting the uterus to the ovary. If the pregnancy continues to grow and develop, the tube can rupture, and the pregnant person can hemorrhage and die.

In most cases, the only way to treat an ectopic pregnancy is to terminate it with medication or surgery. But now, some abortion opponents are arguing that patients with ectopic pregnancies can simply be monitored until they miscarry — or even that such pregnancies can be carried to term.

“Knowing that a medical condition carries a very small chance of death is scary,” Georgi Boorman wrote at the Federalist on Monday. But, she asked, “is that very small chance enough to prompt you to suffer through purposely destroying your own child?”

The argument is starting to make its way into legislation, with a recent Ohio law including a special provision for the surgical reimplantation of ectopic pregnancies into the uterus, something doctors say is not possible.

Experts say failing to treat an ectopic pregnancy can put patients at serious risk. “It is really malpractice to watch a patient who is at risk for a tubal rupture from an ectopic pregnancy” without offering termination, Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive services at the University of California, San Francisco, told Vox. “There’s a real risk of death.”

Claims that abortion isn’t necessary in the case of ectopic pregnancies may be part of a larger movement toward abortion bans with fewer and fewer exceptions, like a law in Alabama that bans abortion even in cases of rape or incest (the law does have an exception to save the pregnant person’s life). And even if such laws never go into effect — most have been challenged in the courts — false claims about ectopic pregnancy in the media could lead patients to delay treatment, Grossman said, potentially harming their future fertility or risking their lives.

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