I was 18 years old, a wife, and a mother of beautiful twin girls when during the thirteenth week of my second pregnancy I awoke to the feeling of wetness between my thighs. A quick inspection found a pink discharge. So I rushed to the hospital. After being given a once over I was told to go home, rest and return if I began to bleed.
By mid morning I was bleeding; heavily. This time they gave me an ultrasound. They let me know I was indeed having a miscarriage. I was informed the fetus had not developed normally. The embryo had actually stopped growing at 8-9 weeks, but since they detected a faint heartbeat and this was a Catholic hospital they could not do a D&C (*cough abortion). I was again instructed to go home and wait.
Within a few hours I was bleeding so heavily that I took my young daughters diapers to catch the blood, a normal pad was not enough. I didn't want to go back to the hospital wondering if they would even help me. When you have basically been patted on the head and told to go home twice its easy to feel that way. I was sitting on the phone with a friend at my mother's apartment next door when I passed out and an ambulance was called. By then I was going into shock and my veins were collapsing.
When I reached the hospital it took five tries to start another IV line for the blood transfusion I was now in need of. My most vivid memory was of my family doctor, who was now working his ER shift, yelling in the hall “who the F*** sent her home, she could have died!” I was rushed to emergency surgery for a D&C (abortion they just call it by another name so you feel better) to remove the remaining tissue from my body. It was to be performed by the same Ob/Gyn who had sent me home.
As I was about to be put under I said to my anesthesiologist "please don't let him kill me". All I wanted was to get home to my little twin girls. After surgery I was placed on the maternity floor. The nurse on duty found me crying and said "don't worry, your young you can have more". Not only was there no compassion for my experience but no acknowledgment that I had just avoided death. After a day in the hospital and almost a week off work my life slowly returned to normal. It didn't have to be like that.
Luckily sometime while I was bleeding to death at home that day I passed the embryo. I often wonder what would have happened if I had not. Would they have even have saved my life or would they have let me die due to a non viable "person" inside of me? Never once did this hospital tell me I could go somewhere else for a D&C. They cared more about a 13 week non progressing embryo than me, a living breathing woman. A wife, mother, daughter, and granddaughter most important PERSON! A woman who went on to "choose life" 5 more times. Somehow I was not part of the equation but my pregnancy was.
I hadn't thought much about that day until recently because people keep saying that initiative 26. the personhood bill, will not change the way women are treated by their doctors. My experience with a hospital governed by the same beliefs that this bill is based on says otherwise and I am not alone and studies prove it. I'll never understand what made an nonviable pregnancy that could not be saved more worthy than living breathing thinking ME. My life should have mattered. My children needing a mother should have mattered. My future should have mattered.
If you pause to think about it it's a scary thought. It made me think about the “personhood" movement as a whole and how I don't believe that the consequences to reproductive choices outside of abortion are an accident or collateral damage. I think it is by design. Women with choices is a scary concept to many. Not being able to shame women through evidence of our sexual behavior doesn't make them very happy either. When you take away abortion, birth control, and access to IVF many of the things that the people behind “personhood” dislike the most can no longer happen. Women will NOT have control over their reproductive choices, condom use will be in the hands of men.
History should tell use how well that works. Same sex couples and single people will not be able to use IVF to create a family outside of conservative religious norms. Teenagers will not be able to avoid stigma or shame brought on by teenage pregnancy and have healthy sex lives.
No I don't think it is an accident that this amendment will have the power to do many things that the conservative movement wants to do. Initiative 26 essentially has the power to turn back the clock on reproductive choices for ALL families. I can't help but think how 1950's of them.