April 19, 2007

Without A Health Exception: Hyperemesis

When there's no health exception for abortion, MB of Wampum explained last year that conditions like hyperemesis might leave a woman almost completely incapacitated for months, and she would be unable to choose to end it. I'm quoting extensively, because this story should not be missed:

... Most high-school graduates have at least a passing knowledge of the nineteenth-century authoress, Charlotte Brontė. Married in her late 30s, Brontė is suspected to have died from Hyperemesis Gravidarum during her first pregnancy, a severe form of morning sickness defined by excessive vomiting of four or more times per day.

In each of my pregnancies, I suffered from hyperemesis for the first four months. In my case, however, I vomited no less than six times a day, usually twice that during "peak months". In each subsequent pregnancy, the symptoms got progressively worse, so that during my last pregnancy with Kezzie, even the most expensive anti-nausea drug (Zofran) failed. My OB had a central line placed, and I was put on IV for three months, just to keep me hydrated. Of course, the line closed or became infected a number of times, leading to extended trips to the hospital.

I couldn't work or even care for my other children. I couldn't even prepare food for myself (during the short periods food would stay down), as our bedroom was on the second floor, and my IV was attached to a wicked heavy electronic pump and stand.

... Now imagine this same health crisis, but in a single, 20 year old college student whose partner checks out upon learning of the pregnancy. Parents are far away, she can't even get out of bed, let alone to class. Forced to spend food money to take a cab to the ER when vomiting bile turns to blood. The only health insurance available is Medicaid, and the only OB care a local clinic staffed by residents unwilling to pass out any drugs to "charity cases", even pregnant ones. Friends, also barely adults, don't know how to help and public assistance is rejected due to that proud middle-class upbringing.

I'm also familiar with this scenario, as it describes the pregnancy of my first child.

Now imagine it in a working poor woman dependent upon her two jobs to feed, cloth and house her two other young children. Or a woman whose spouse is deployed to Iraq. Or a teenager already ten pounds underweight from trying to look like the model on the cover of Seventeen.

Imagine trying to function in any way, shape or form while vomiting a minimum of 400 times over 3 to 4 months.

... Hyperemesis (HG) occurs in about 1% of all pregnancies in the US. Thus, approximately 60,000 women last year suffered from this very debilitating condition, mostly in the first trimester of their pregnancy. Many of those women, even some with wanted pregnancies, choose to terminate their pregnancies rather than continue to suffer from HG. ...

MB chose to go through that, and every pro-choice woman I know believes that it's as important to protect a woman's desire to have children as it is to protect her desire not to. Or maybe, whether she wanted to be pregnant or not, her desire to avoid serious threats to her health that might not all be immediately life-threatening and might manifest well after the first trimester:

  • certain types of infections
  • heart failure
  • malignant hypertension, including preeclampsia
  • out-of-control diabetes
  • serious renal disease
  • severe depression
  • suicidal tendencies

Other than outright heart failure, these conditions may be readily treatable with medications that pose risk to a developing fetus and aren't prescribed during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is outright caused by pregnancy, and is resolved by childbirth, but may start or suddenly worsen too early in pregnancy to safely deliver the child. And because this ban is against a procedure, vaguely, there's really no telling when in pregnancy or under what sort of expansive circumstances some complete kneebiter might choose to apply it. No telling what sort of health nightmares women might be forced to go through that they would not choose for themselves.

Who is John Roberts to tell a woman that she has to suffer any of this against her will? As if he takes it more seriously than the individual woman in question.

Posted by natasha at April 19, 2007 02:05 AM | Women | Technorati links |

They just don't care. Do you think Dick Cheney gives this type of concern a second thought?

Posted by: Jim DeRosa at April 19, 2007 09:33 AM

Absolute weak performance by Gonzalez:

Did anyone ever look on the performance reports before putting them on the list? (2 b fired)
I dont know that

Fitzgerald (fired in the middle of the case)?

I dont rember that

thinks ever been talking about fitzgerald with anybody (with rove)?

Iglesias (with Rove?): voter fraud cases. Communicated this information to Sampson. (dot-not to rove)
Iglesias was his decision.

this man suffers from amnesia syndroms he must have alzheimer. gonzalez is reagan!!!

Posted by: ccokz at April 19, 2007 09:44 AM

Dick Cheney doesn't have to care, not even on behalf of the women in his own family. The rich have always been able to pay for their own exemptions with the help of compliant doctors.

Posted by: natasha at April 19, 2007 10:19 AM