How Roe v. Wade’s Reversal Opened the Door to Eugenics Against Disabled People
The Supreme Court decision to overturn the abortion protections provided by Roe v. Wade have lead to a lot of fear among women of child-bearing age and the people who love them.
We are already hearing stories of obstetrician practices who are so afraid of being sued that they are “watching” ectopic pregnancies instead of ending them as soon as they are discovered. One in fifty pregnancies is ectopic, meaning that instead of implanting in the uterine wall, the fertilized egg has implanted elsewhere, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.
When this occurs, according to the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, nothing can be done to prevent the termination of the pregnancy. “Unfortunately, the foetus (the developing embryo) cannot be saved in an ectopic pregnancy. Treatment is usually needed to remove the pregnancy before it grows too large.”
In the past, that has meant one of three options for the person suffering from the improper pregnancy: 1) Doctors watch the patient until a miscarriage occurs naturally. This is usually not recommended because it places the life of the person who is pregnant directly in danger. When the pregnancy does not spontaneously abort, the growing embryo can cause the Fallopian tube to rupture and if not treated immediately, cause the parent to bleed to death.
2)If it is early enough in the pregnancy, the parent is prescribed methotrexate to terminate the pregnancy. This is only done when they embryo is small and poses no immediate risk or rupture.
3) Surgeons must remove the implanted foetus to save the life of the parent.
Unfortunately, because of the risk of being prosecuted for helping a parents have an abortion, many doctors are now opting only for option 1. This puts the life of that parent directly at risk. And contrary to the alleged goal of pro-lifers, it often makes it impossible for that parent to have subsequent successful pregnancies.
And all that is horrible, the things that we have been warning would happen to healthcare if the states with total abortion bans were allowed to keep those laws.
But we are beginning to see an insidious side effect that perhaps those fighting to end a person’s right to choose didn’t intend. Perhaps. The truth of the matter is that if they did see it, they likely didn’t care.
At least two different chronic illnesses are often treated with methotrexate. It is not solely used to terminate deadly pregnancies. For people with Rhuematoid arthritis or lupus, methatrexate is used to stop the progression of their disease.
The drug specifically interferes with folic acid, necessary to developing embryos, but also needed for cell division. When prescribed for people with chronic illnesses it is intended to stop their condition from worsening.
But several social media posts indicate that people of child-bearing age who need this medication to improve their quality of life are being told they can no longer take it. Doctors are afraid that if a person was unaware of a pregnancy and took the drug had a miscarriage, they might be considered legally responsible and some idiot might call it a medically-induced abortion.
Was the repeal of Roe v. Wade intended to create an opportunity to deny disabled people their necessary medication, creating a slow and painful form of eugenics for those people? I’d like to say I don’t think so, but the truth is I can’t.
Much attention has also been focused on the impact the repeal has on the right to privacy and how that impacts healthcare privacy. The simple reality is people should assume that their medical records are no longer private.
And there should be a legitimate concern that right-wing extremists will use access to medical records to persecute people for things that happened before the repeal. Most of these laws are new enough that their statute of limitations is unknown. So, can I be prosecuted for the miscarriage I had a decade and a half ago while taking caustic drugs to fight my MS? The truth is we just don’t know.
People who support health care as a universal right and who believe that a person should be able to choose what happens to their own body need to be hyper-vigilant and aware that they are coming for us every way they can.