The Ohio House and Senate just passed an extreme abortion bill called the heartbeat bill. It bans abortion after the first fetal heartbeat, and it was rejected twice before being passed because it’s ridiculous.
But arguing about the law’s baseless restrictions on women and the fact that it could kill us is a secondary priority because today there will be a woman in the state who gets pregnant. She’ll find out eight weeks from now after she’s missed a second period because she doesn’t have a regular cycle and missing one didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.
The embryo (it’s not even a fetus yet) she’s carrying has a few heart cells. They beat, just like they would if they were isolated in a petri dish.
Over the next nine months that little clump of cells could grow bigger and bigger and at some point it’ll become a fetus. Twelve weeks after she realizes that it’s there, it’ll start to develop a nervous system and it’s at this point that most medical professionals recommend a restriction on abortion. However, three months earlier, her time was up.
She’s already made arrangements to deal with it. Maybe she dropped out of college, rushed a wedding with the father, applied for maternity leave that she knows she won’t get, and read up on parenting a kid she doesn’t want.
Maybe she’s planning on starting a different kind of birth control after hers failed or maybe she’s going to try to have her tubes tied. Hopefully she knows that if she goes to a Catholic hospital she’s not getting that done.
Meanwhile, that fetus keeps growing and after hours in labor maybe it dies from some illness that couldn’t be prevented and wasn’t even noticed until week 18, 10 weeks after it was destined to be born no matter what. Maybe the kid lives and grows up and at the age of 18 it finds out that it ruined its mother’s life. Maybe she never tells her child how her life could’ve been.
She tries to pick back up where she left off, but she can’t keep up with college and work like she could when she was young. She doesn’t have the energy anymore. She tries to send the kid to college, so that maybe something good could come of all of this. But the kid’s a girl. That girl gets pregnant. Since the mother never saved up the money to move, they live in Ohio.
Now, maybe Ohio’s congressmen don’t understand how a uterus works or know that a significant percentage of women miss a period at least once a year and that some only get one or two a year. Maybe their wives don’t tell them because it grosses them out. Maybe they didn’t get medically accurate sex education. After all, they’re from Ohio which doesn’t mandate it. (I grew up there and I certainly didn’t get sex ed.)
IF YOU ARE GOING TO REGULATE SOMETHING YOU SHOULD HAVE A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF HOW IT WORKS.
Here’s what other options that woman who’s looking at her positive pregnancy test right now could have.
1: She could live close to the border.
Pennsylvania requires women to read anti-abortion literature and wait 24 hours before an abortion. Schedule an appointment and reserve a hotel room for two nights.
PPWP is the closest Pennsylvania clinic to the border.
West Virginia bans abortion at 20 weeks. Women are required to read the same anti-abortion literature as in Pennsylvania and wait 24 hours. Schedule an appointment and reserve a hotel room for two nights.
Abortion Acceptance is the closest clinic to the border.
Indiana survived Mike Pence through the court system and allows abortion up to 22 weeks. The same anti-abortion literature is distributed and there is an 18 hour waiting period. Schedule an appointment in the morning and reserve a hotel room overnight.
Indianapolis Women’s Center is the closest clinic to the border.
Minnesota allows abortion until viability but it can be expensive after the first trimester because of additional regulations. Schedule this as soon as you know you need an abortion. You’ll also be required to read anti-abortion literature and wait 24 hours. Schedule an appointment and reserve a hotel room for two nights.
West Virginia allows for first trimester abortion which will not likely be helpful in this case. You would need to know very early in your pregnancy to be able to get an abortion in West Virginia.
- She could take Misoprostol.
This stomach medication is 90% effective at inducing abortion. If you choose this method you will miscarry. Early in pregnancy this may just mean a few hours in pain and a heavy period. Later on it could cause serious medical issues.
Don’t hesitate to go to a hospital if this method causes what seems like an unreasonable amount of pain or if you experience any complications. It’s important to tell the doctor that you’ve taken Misoprostol but it could be dangerous to tell them that you took it to induce a miscarriage because this would be against the law.
- She could try to find someone with experience to help her have an abortion.
This option is tricky. The person needs to have medical experience and access to a sterile facility, both things that abortion providers already have. Finding an abortion provider willing to do this procedure against regulation probably won’t happen, because if those clinics are shut down all legal abortion in the state comes to an end and the lucky women who find their pregnancy before the fetal heartbeat will be in the same terrible situation as other women.
After pregnancy, that’s about all of the safe options a woman has.
DO NOT USE A SHARP OBJECT, SELF-HARM, OR DRUG ABUSE AS A METHOD OF ABORTION. THEY ARE LESS LIKELY TO SUCCEED AND MORE DANGEROUS.
What women can do now, though, is get birth control, preferably an IUD which can be taken out if they want kids or left in for years at a time – long enough for this law to be overturned.
If you know that you don’t want kids, tubal ligation is a good option. It’s the one I’m probably going to have to go with even though I’d prefer getting a hysterectomy.
The state of Ohio also funds a program which mails condoms to residents. You can apply at http://ohiv.org
Women can also vote out any congressman who voted in favor of this law. In fact, Ohioans have an obligation to do so. Make Ohio safe again.