Particularly after the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, you may have heard a lot of conflicting information that left you confused about abortion laws and what they mean for women in difficult circumstances. Although it’s a rare occurrence, sometimes women who have medically life-threatening conditions that are due to or aggravated by pregnancy must seek immediate medical treatment.

Even post-Roe, if a woman finds herself in a situation where life-saving medical intervention is required to protect her health and safety, emergency medical care will not be denied to her. In Maryland, you can obtain an abortion during all nine months of pregnancy.

Is Life-Saving Treatment Available in States That Have Abortion Restrictions?

Immediately following the decision to overturn Roe, the Secretary of Health and Human Services issued this letter to medical professionals everywhere. This letter explains how medical providers are compelled to use their expert judgment and provide the appropriate care to save a woman’s life whenever necessary. As such, healthcare workers can feel confident in their guidance to use any resources available to save a woman’s life when she is facing life-threatening conditions, no matter what state this occurs in.

When a woman’s health is in danger, all emergency intervention efforts to save her life are available and unrestricted, including but not limited to abortion. As such, the only way a woman would die or face life-threatening medical challenges is if she were unable to gain timely access to medical attention.

Is Treatment for Ectopic Pregnancy the Same as Abortion?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs or begins developing outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tubes. There are key differences in treatments for ectopic pregnancies and elective abortion.

First, the location of ectopic pregnancies means that these pregnancies are not viable. Further progression of an ectopic pregnancy could cause harm or even fatal effects to the woman if left untreated.

On the other hand, abortion is the elective termination of an otherwise viable pregnancy located within the uterus. In other words, without an abortion procedure, the pregnancy would continue to progress in a healthy or expected manner.

In a post from UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Patricia Santiago Munoz, M.D., explains another key difference in treatment: “Ectopic pregnancy treatment is not the same as abortion… treatment cannot be generalized as ‘abortion,’ particularly because many women with ectopic pregnancies planned to conceive and wanted to carry their pregnancies to term.”

Ectopic pregnancy care is not restricted by any state law. The necessary medical inventions required to treat ectopic pregnancies are distinctly different in intent and practice from elective abortion.

Is Miscarriage Care Affected by Abortion Restrictions?

In a similar way to the differences between ectopic pregnancy treatment and abortion, miscarriage care, namely the intent behind it, is markedly different from elective abortion as well. Again, while the intention behind an abortion is to end an otherwise viable pregnancy, miscarriage treatment involves medically indicated treatments to safeguard a woman’s health following the demise of a pregnancy that has already naturally and spontaneously occurred.

The University of Missouri’s School of Medicine clearly explains this difference: “Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy…in which the embryo or fetus is prematurely removed or caused to be expelled. Induced abortions are commonly voluntary (elective)…in contrast to spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, in which the embryo or fetus is involuntarily expelled because of accidental trauma or disease.”

Some similarities in procedures to treat miscarriage and abortion may exist – such as a dilation & curettage or D&C – but because of their key differences in intention and process, miscarriage care will not be restricted by abortion restrictions.

Want to Discuss Your Pregnancy Options?

There’s a lot of information to consider as you weigh your pregnancy options, and it can be hard to know where to turn next. At Pregnancy Clinic of Maryland, our team is here to serve as a helpful, compassionate, and knowledgeable resource to you as you navigate your pregnancy decision.

You can get all the information you need about your options that take into account your unique health concerns. All of our medical care is confidential and free of charge. We’re here to help you answer your questions – schedule your free appointment today.