Rachel and Ryan Burlison share their story of medical termination, miscarriage, and hope after the storm.

“At 20 weeks pregnant with my first pregnancy the anatomy scan revealed severe fetal anomalies with the brain and also spina bifida. I was rushed to a high-risk perinatal specialist who told me that the findings with the baby were incompatible with life and that the baby most likely had a chromosomal abnormality. We made the difficult decision to medically terminate and do chromosomal testing which later showed Triploidy (meaning the baby had an extra chromosome on every strand.” This is the beginning of Rachel Burlison’s Story of loss and hope. Making the hard decision to medically terminate the pregnancy was not taken lightly but their choice.

Rachel and her husband Ryan Burlison met at college through mutual friends. They wanted a baby more than anyone could realize and deciding to medically terminate their first pregnancy was not an easy one. Especially with the publicity, they received around it. Rachel said, “To make things worse, every time I had to go to the clinic which was several times (pre-assessment the day before, actual surgery, and then a post-op check-up) I was yelled at by protesters, called a murderer, and had to be escorted by security through the parking lot while I was harassed but little did the “protesters” know I wanted this baby so bad.”

This took place before the overturning of Roe Vs Wade which made it a legal procedure at the time. It was recommended by her doctors both for her health and what they believed to be the best thing for their child who would not be viable outside the womb due to the anomalies.

Rachel said regarding her experience in a medical termination, “everyone’s story is different, and people need to understand that people deal with and cope with things in their way. And that there are reasons they choose the path they choose like medical abortion. There are reasons why these options need to still be available to women.”

With the overturning of Roe Vs Wade, decisions such as these are no longer offered. Parents who want to medically terminate, who must terminate for the health of the mother, and who have a condition such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy requiring a D&C are no longer able to make those decisions or receive those procedures even when it puts their own life at risk.

In the story, This is What Being Denied Your Reproductive Freedom Looks Like: Tragedy & Hypocrisy found on Twitter @guariandangeloso, this mom tells her story of her early labor that resulted in the birth of her son at 21 weeks alive and breathing but how no steps were taken to save this child. However, during the labor process, she was denied the use of Pitocin to speed up her labor because at the Catholic hospital she was at, it was against the religious policies to give Pitocin as it was considered a type of induction abortion.  She goes on to talk about the overturning of Roe Vs Wade and how it affects medical policies such as these.

She says the overturning of Roe vs. Wade has led to the “criminalizing abortion for women, outlawing abortion from the moment of conception, and eliminating exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Some states have even introduced legislation declaring the termination of ectopic pregnancies to be murder covered under their sprawling abortion bans.”

 In other words, women who must go through procedures for miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies are now being investigated for the murder of their child for something outside of their control because they may or may not have started the miscarriage or somehow caused it. Women who are going through the worst experience in their entire life of losing their child will now be under criminal investigation for any reason or be forced to carry their child who has passed away to full term with risk of infection and even death.

Another story found on Facebook @Kana LiVolsi-Crosby, tells her story of knowing that her child was endangered and telling her doctors something was wrong. She says, “I could feel my uterus tearing. I told my doctors that something was wrong. I BEGGED my Obgyn to take him out. He was 9 months; he could have survived. They didn’t listen. It was that disregard of the female voice, of a mother’s voice, that caused us to lose our son, Les Robert LiVolsi-Crosby. For those who ask, or even mentally dismiss, no we can’t try again. My uterus is gone.”

Because the doctors did not listen to her, she lost her son and any chance of becoming pregnant again and almost lost her life. Had this situation taken place after the overturning of Roe Vs Wade, she would have lost her life as they would not have been able to save her or the child. She would have died because they would not have been able to remove the baby and her uterus and perform the surgeries needed to save her as it is now against the law regardless of whether the mother’s life is at risk or not.

In the case of Rachel and her husband, losing their first pregnancy to medical termination was a choice they could make at that time, however now she would have been forced to carry the baby through the pregnancy and give birth and the doctors would not be able to do anything to save her should something happen before the birth of their child. Her second pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Although she did not state whether she needed a D&C for this pregnancy or not, now she would be denied one because it’s a type of abortion even though the baby has already passed away. Women who have an ectopic pregnancy are being denied life-saving treatment because the baby is still alive and would have to be removed to save the women’s life.

Rachel and her husband Ryan have since gone on to have their third pregnancy (rainbow baby) and are currently pregnant with their fourth child. Their experiences have helped them grow and understand what many others are going through. Rachel said that her rainbow baby has helped her tremendously during the healing process. She said, “It helped tremendously having him. I would not have had this particular child if I hadn’t lost my first two pregnancies. It made me realize everything happens for a reason. I never take him for granted because of the losses I experienced.”

Now, however, the choices they made are no longer offered legally, and the care they had during their pregnancy loss is no longer available because of the overturning of Roe vs Wade. Women experiencing pregnancy and infant loss of varying degrees receive a lower standard of care now with few options regarding medically necessary procedures than before the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade.

Photo Credit @Reflections by Luna

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