Have a Miscarriage? No Explanations Needed!

February 21st, 2011

Few things can make my blood boil like racism, sexism and discrimination against women. So when I read that Georgia Republican Representative Bobby Franklin has proposed a bill to the Georgia legislature, HB1, that would require women who miscarry to have to prove that the miscarriage is a spontaneous, natural occurrence I was seething mad.

In my experience, most women who miscarry wanted the child that was lost and had been doing their utmost to have a healthy successful pregnancy. Unfortunately, not all pregnancies are viable. Nature in her infinite wisdom (far superior to this Georgia representative’s!) has created mechanisms within a woman’s body to dispose of non-viable pregnancies. We call them miscarriages.

I have been through 2 miscarriages myself so this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Despite the fact that I had my miscarriages in 2001 and in 2004, I can still remember them vividly. The first began with severe cramping and back pain followed by copious blood flow for days while I was traveling on business. If I was a Georgia resident, would I be charged with felony homicide because I deigned to travel while pregnant? That was my very first pregnancy, the first of 4, and one that I really wanted. I was devastated that it had resulted in miscarriage and was depressed for months as I subsequently endured a fertility work up and surgery to remove uterine fibroids.

The second miscarriage (my third pregnancy) occurred between my children. Again, my husband and I decided we wanted to add to our family and I became pregnant. Every thing seemed just fine. I felt good, much better than I had while pregnant with my daughter, and was really looking forward to another little one. When I went in for what I thought would be my first prenatal visit at 9 weeks, my OB could not find a heart beat. Additionally, the embryonic sac looked empty and she suspected that I had miscarried. Actually, she said that it looked like I had a blighted ovum, that the fertilization process had not occurred properly and no fetus was developing. Again, I was devastated. To make matters worse I had to call my husband, who was traveling on business in Japan, and tell him that our child was gone.

My OB thought that my body would expel “the products of conception” ( my baby) but it did not. I carried the remains of “my child” around for a week.  When my husband returned home, a final ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis and my OB recommended that we remove the fetal tissue. I opted to take misoprostol to induce uterine contractions and expel the fetal tissue at home rather than go to the hospital for a D&C.  Suffice it to say that the misoprostol worked and about 12 hours after taking it, I scooped the remains of “my child” out of my commode and put it into a container to be analyzed in a pathology lab. Then my husband and I sat on the side of our bed while I cried uncontrollably.

Even now, many years later, I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I remember these events. I could not have endured an interrogation as to my behavior and possible contribution to the demise of my children when these events took place. Yet, this is exactly what Rep. Franklin is proposing. Rep. Franklin, a republican, who opposes big government, health care reform and has agreed with his chums that medical decisions need to be made between patients and their doctors in opposition to many of the proposed mandates in “Obamacare”,  feels that it is okay to completely invade the privacy (in direct violation to HIPAA) and grief of a woman and her partner to protect the rights of an unborn child. What about the rights of the woman? This woman is very likely one of his constituents. This woman may have (although I now hope not) voted to put him in office! Yet if this same woman has a miscarriage and cannot prove that it was through no fault of her own, Rep. Franklin is proposing that this woman face criminal charges-essentially punishing her for what is very likely a force of nature.

This is nothing more than another assault on women’s reproductive rights  and another attempt to regulate how and when women have children and what they do with their bodies. How can Republicans and others concerned about the size of government propose another government entity to “police” what women are doing with their bodies?  By their own admission, government is already too big and we can’t fiscally support the programs that are already in place. And if Rep. Franklin is so concerned about all of his constituents and the citizens of Georgia, why isn’t the same concern shown for women when they are raped (Here again they have to prove that they did not in some way provoke the attack!), when they are battered (often while pregnant) or when they are otherwise left without means or protections? Where is his outrage and indignation for these women, these citizens of Georgia?

The bottom line is that a woman’s reproductive health is between her and her health care provider and what goes on with her body is her business, no one else’s, and it should stay that way! Keep your nose out of our uteri, Rep. Franklin! No Explanations needed!

One response to “Have a Miscarriage? No Explanations Needed!”

  1. Why women miscarry is still a mystery to medical science. There are untold factors that could influence whether the baby is carried to term or not. To find out more, read this: http://morningquickie.com/2011/02/25/miscarriage-is-not-your-fault-and-not-a-crime/

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