[Spiehler] Where Is the Line? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Spiehler] Where Is the Line?

My first pregnancy ended with a shot. After three weeks of careful monitoring, my doctor finally saw a mass growing in my left fallopian tube and diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy. She hugged me through my uncontrollable sobs and gave me three options: wait to see if it resolved on its own, risking a ruptured tube; immediate surgery to remove the baby; or an injection of methotrexate, a cancer drug that was newly being used as a non-surgical treatment for ectopic pregnancies.

Scared of tubal rupture and surgery, I chose methotrexate. The doctor's office didn't keep it stocked, so she sent me to a nearby pharmacy with a prescription in my hand.

I sat in the car for a long time, screaming at God for turning the greatest dream of my life into a nightmare. For a few minutes, I considered just dying under a tree in the woods with my baby. I thought about my husband, who was speeding from work to be with me, and I drove to the pharmacy.

I was numb when I returned to the doctor's office, thanks to a pharmacy tech who kept badgering me to "smile," so I only felt the physical sting of the shot and not the emotional sting.

My second pregnancy ended in a c-section 11 weeks early, after my water inexplicably broke, and I spent five days on strict hospital bed rest. Ace spent two months in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

The only lasting effects of his prematurity are mild cerebral palsy and a big attitude. The latter could be attributed to the fact that he's both 5 years old and a superhero.

I decided that pregnancy was no longer an option for me after my third pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. An ultrasound revealed a lifeless blip where before I had seen a blip with a heartbeat. Birth control keeps two things at bay: cramps and the absolute terror I feel at the thought of a fourth shattered heart.

When I first heard about the Personhood Amendment, I read the entire text online and thought: "Surely that's not it. It's half a paragraph with nothing about life-saving abortions."

I called Personhood Mississippi for clarification and was told, "We're just trying to get the amendment on the ballot." I accepted that answer, thinking it would be fine-tuned eventually.

Wrong. The final ballot version was the same, word for word. I emailed Personhood Mississippi and asked again, "What about life-saving abortions?"

Their response: "They won't be outlawed."

My response: "How will they not?"

No answer.

So I took to Facebook. On Sept. 25, WLBT ran a story about Personhood, under which I posted the entire text of the amendment and asked, "Where is the exception for life-saving abortions?" I asked on my own Facebook page and asked several pro-life friends. No answer.

On the official "Yes on 26" Facebook page, someone asked how this would affect treatment for ectopic pregnancies. The official reply was a link to the American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYNs website (http://www.aaplog.org) on which its members assert their opinion that ending an ectopic pregnancy is not morally wrong. That's wonderful, but wasn't actually an answer to the question.

I was distracted, though, by another post on the page insisting that 26 wouldn't prevent access to birth control. I asked simply, "Why not?" The official reply from the page's moderator was, "Birth control prevents conception," and anyone who said that 26 would limit access to birth control was lying to me.

I responded that I had come to that conclusion on my own, thanks, knowing that a tertiary effect of birth control was preventing implantation of a fertilized egg. How would 26 not ban that? My questions were deleted, and I was blocked from the group.

Finally, I posted on WLBT's Facebook page, pleading for the answer to my questions about life-saving abortions and birth control. After nearly 30 non-answers, a man spoke up and said the amendment sets the framework for pro-life legislation in Mississippi and that legislators would iron out the details.

That's it? I'm supposed to trust that the Mississippi Legislature, which still believes abstinence education works when we have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country, will allow me to have my birth control knowing that a tertiary effect of birth control is ending the life of a "person?" And while I have good faith that life-saving abortions will be allowed, should I trust that the Mississippi Legislature knows when a pregnancy is life-threatening? Will they allow one at the point of diagnosis, when a detectable heartbeat can still be found, or at some later point? Since some ectopic pregnancies end naturally in miscarriage, will the Mississippi Legislature allow for methotrexate, or will we take El Salvador's solidly pro-life lead and wait until the fallopian tube ruptures before performing surgery?

I can't trust complete strangers with my life or reproductive health. This is not me taking a pro-life or pro-choice stance. This is me begging you to read the amendment's wording for yourself and tell me where I fall in line.

Stacey Spiehler is a wife, mother, social media guru, and loud and proud WhoDat. The Mississippi transplant's vision for utopia includes unquestioned tolerance and the perfect shrimp po-boy.

Previous Comments

ID
165149
Comment

Great post, Stacey. You are all over the main problem with this Initiative. It will leave critical decisions on women's health and well-being up to a legislature which has not managed to get us off the top of every negative social parameter I can think of, whether it is crime, poverty, unwanted pregnancy, teen-age pregnancy, STD levels, mortality rates, cancer rates, obesity rates, high school drop out rates, etc. It would take issues of family planning and women's health out of the hands of women, their loved ones, and their medical providers, and put it in the hands of the court system.

Author
mims
Date
2011-10-12T20:26:37-06:00
ID
165150
Comment

You want to scare people. You also want abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason. Shame on you. Jay: restating and twisting other people's opinions violates our user agreement. You can state your own opinions but don't make up opinions for others. Similar violations will not be posted. Disagree agreeably.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2011-10-13T09:55:14-06:00
ID
165157
Comment

So, Jay, are you are proposing that By Law, every child should be provided enough food for optimal nutrition, a Shelter that meets health and safety codes, Clothing, a bed and bedding, protection from abuse and a good k-12 education with health checkups, preventative care and medical attention as needed, including any medications. That is very progressive of you. Unless, of course, you just meant that every pregnancy should be carried to term no matter what conditions it will be born into (or with) and once it's born, well, it's on it's own from there.

Author
BobbyKearan
Date
2011-10-13T13:11:01-06:00
ID
165159
Comment

Bobby--Talking to him would be pointless. He thinks there is some strange link between abortion and paganism and vampires. ( Check THIS out) He also has a pretty far right extremist blog where he lays out the "plans" of Personhood USA (The Forerunner Blog). I refuse to link to that as I think the computer picked up a Trojan while I was looking at the site. (OH, THE IRONY)

Author
Lori G
Date
2011-10-13T13:23:12-06:00
ID
165163
Comment

Great. Another outside agitator armed with talking points.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-10-13T14:54:49-06:00
ID
165164
Comment

Don't read his blog, seriously. It pretty much reads like a manifesto of theocratic crazy. Which, by the way, is pretty much the goal of the Personhood movement. His blog systematically lays out how they are going about outlawing abortion (and many, many other medical issues related to it.) They are attempting to go state by state enacting "Personhood" laws. They say that they know they cannot defeat Roe V. Wade at the federal level so they are using "personhood" to change the constituation of at least 38 states in order to get it changed in the US Constitution. The more I read about them the more I see how really crazy they are. They "decided" upon this so they didn't have to "wait on the make-up of SCOTUS to change".

Author
Lori G
Date
2011-10-13T15:00:24-06:00
ID
165169
Comment

As a Pagan, I find Jay's attempt to link witchcraft and abortion very, very offensive. I've read the google+ entry several times and I can't believe it. Its not enough to attack women's health and reproductive rights in the name of domination and control, but they have to throw in attacks on other religions to boot? How much hate can a person contain? What misery in their lives has lead them to do such things?

Author
BobbyKearan
Date
2011-10-14T06:36:00-06:00
ID
165176
Comment

See, that was a nice answer, Stacey. I was gonna say "Steve, why don't you take that crap to the house and sit down.". (That's code for: Step off, Yankee)

Author
Lori G
Date
2011-10-14T09:48:09-06:00
ID
165203
Comment

WHOA! Steve, did you just say that if an ectopic pregnancy is a "person" than you can't see how its ethical to consider "killing" that person as a way to avoid the pain, expense, and future disadvantage of the MOTHER? Seriously? Let's replace that word "mother" with "wife". SO, if your wife has an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy that is NOT VIABLE, you would be willing to have your wife keep an ectopic pregnancy knowing that the outcome would ALWAYS be the eventual death of the "baby" and the permanent loss of your wife's fertility (AT THE LEAST) with the worst case being the death of your wife? You are willing to let your wife die for an unviable pregnancy? That is what you are saying? Because, if that is what you are saying, its not worth it to debate this with you anymore. You are a radical that pretty obviously has no respect or love for women whatsoever and I hope that you aren't married. God Bless You, honey. I find nothing to admire in men who can find nothing better to do than exert control over women in their life--mostly to their own detriment. You are anti-women and I bet you did find something to admire about those that fought under the confederate flag. Different color, same fight.

Author
Lori G
Date
2011-10-18T08:50:21-06:00
ID
165207
Comment

It's not often that I have wanted to say this, but, "BRAVA! Lori G!" Stacey, I don't think that Mr. Schulin will understand your analogy. I don't think his simple closemindedness will accept logic. These fundamentalists will stop at nothing short of the eventual criminalization of clinical abortion.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-10-18T15:15:56-06:00
ID
165212
Comment

Mr. Schulin, it would be a stretch to consider an embryo implanted in the Fallopian tube (just one form of ectopic pregnancy, by the way) as another patient. And, by the way, your ethical treatment has a name, salpingectomy. Often times, a salpingectomy is often done in conjunction with an oophorectomy (removal of the ipsilateral ovary) because the affected Fallopian tube often has a surrounding fibrotic reaction that causes it to adhere to surrounding structures, namely the ovary. Naturally, when this is performed, the ability to conceive in the future drops. I hate to drop such big words on you but my medical school training habits die hard. Oh, and the next website you have to resort to for substantiation...please make it a scientific one. Your reliance on your version of Christianity dilutes your facts, as if there were any. Dr. Koop was a staunch anti-abortionist...in private. He was always very careful when, as Chief of Surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and later as Surgeon General, to tread neutrally on this topic. You see, he was able to marry the subjective feelings of his personal philosophy with the scientific, objective part of his medical profession. In fact, the famous "Koop Report" on abortion (as commissioned by President Reagan) was not written by him at all, though many continue to throw that up. And, I can assure you, that Dr. Koop operated on very few, if any, pregnant women following his surgical residency (and avoided like all hell the uterus, tubes and ovaries in any case). That is the purview of obstetricians/gynecologists, not pediatric surgeons.

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-10-19T18:22:57-06:00
ID
165213
Comment

Thank you, Darryl. I know you know what you're talking about.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-10-19T20:25:39-06:00
ID
165214
Comment

Stacey, I am so very sorry for your losses. Regardless of the stage of pregnancy, the size of the fetus or lack thereof, the woman carrying that life is attached to it both literally and figuratively. I have had two miscarriages, two vaginal births, one Caesarian section, a failed VBAC that resulted in dehiscence of both my uterus and bladder among other internal injuries. After that I was told I could and would NEVER get pregnant again. But I did. I was told by three Catholic doctors practicing at a Lutheran Hospital that abortion was the only way I would survive that pregnancy. Not nearly as severe as an ectopic one, true, but it was a highly unstable environment for a baby. In addition to the professionals telling me to terminate that pregnancy, my own family chimed in with how selfish I was to continue the pregnancy with four children who needed their mother (who most certainly would die), how could I take this chance with the heightened risk of the baby being born with Down Syndrome because of my age (I was 37 at the time, but only 36 when the egg was fertilized, I argued) and worst of all, how could I make my poor husband choose between the life of the unborn baby and his dying wife if it came to that. My point, and I do have one, is that the Personhood Amendment is vague and deliberately so, I'm sure. Usually, as mothers we love our babies and we coddle that life from the minute we know we are carrying them. Whether they are a cluster of cells, zygote, embryo, fetus, toddler or one of the surly teenagers I'd like to muzzle on a daily basis, I don't believe that the Personhood Amendment captures the sanctity of that life. Women are better able to choose what is best for themselves, and for their bodies than any man or other woman could think of doing. The wording of this Amendment is horrific. I personally believe that you can't be responsible for killing a "person" if you don't know that that "person" is there! And that's about 4-6 weeks after conception! Unless you're trying to get pregnant, then abortion wouldn't be an issue in the first place, would it? I think we should invest more time and resources in the children who are here and less time on the children who are not here. I would hate to think that had my decision been different, it would have been murder. Given my circumstances, I don't think anyone would have considered me guilty of wrongdoing but this Amendment scares me. The Personhood Amendment is just too ambiguous. I will be voting "no" on this item. p.s. I found a Perinatologist for my high-risk pregnancy, gave birth, 7 weeks early, to a smart-mouthed, sassy little girl and bankrupted my family. They love and deserve us both.

Author
Lisa
Date
2011-10-20T01:45:56-06:00

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