If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be concerned about your options if you cannot access an abortion. With the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion and pregnancy-related healthcare has been top of mind for women wondering what this means.

Guidance from Health and Human Services states that medical professionals must do everything possible to save a woman’s life from pregnancy-related medical conditions, such as ectopic pregnancy, complications of pregnancy loss, and severe preeclampsia.

Complications from pregnancy can be a health risk or even life-threatening in some cases, so access to lifesaving care is crucial. In states restricting abortion access, health provisions allow abortions when the physician deems it necessary to save the mother’s life.

These provisions mean, within the United States, women should always have access to emergency medical treatment, especially if related to their pregnancy.

Is Treatment for an Ectopic Pregnancy the Same as an Abortion?

According to Dr. Patricia Santiago Munoz, M.D., “Ectopic pregnancy treatment is not the same as abortion.” Ectopic pregnancy is a condition where an embryo implants and continues to grow outside of the uterus. While the embryo may continue to grow for a few weeks, it ultimately cannot survive. Delaying treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is dangerous and unethical, because it puts the mother’s life at risk due to rupture and heavy bleeding.

Since an ectopic pregnancy is outside the uterus, doctors treat them with a medication called methotrexate or surgical intervention. The medication and procedures are different from those typically used to end a pregnancy within the uterus.

According to Dr. Patricia Santiago Munoz, M.D., “Patients who have early pregnancy ultrasounds can be identified early to avoid the potential catastrophic bleeding” of an ectopic pregnancy.

Is Treatment for a Miscarriage the Same as an Abortion?

In medical terms, a miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion, which can be confusing when distinguishing between elective abortion and natural miscarriage.

The difference between the two is that the miscarriage ends the pregnancy on its own while an elective abortion is intentional. However, the medications are sometimes the same in cases of treatment. 

For miscarriages, medication is used to help expel the fetus and pregnancy remnants from the body, while in elective abortion it is used to first terminate the ongoing pregnancy and then expel the fetus and tissues.

Next Steps

Currently in Ohio, abortion is legal up to 21 weeks and 6 days of gestational age. In Ohio, there is an injunction on a law that bans abortion once cardiac activity is detected (typically around 6 weeks of gestational age). This law only applies to pregnancies within the uterus and includes exceptions for the life and health of the mother. There are no restrictions in the law for treatment of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriages. There is no indication that these restrictions will affect women’s access to healthcare or emergency medical treatment.

If you are wondering if abortion is the best option, we recommend gathering more information to determine your eligibility. At our center, we offer no-cost ultrasounds, which can give information such as the age and health of your pregnancy. Ultrasound is an important step to ensure your safety, no matter what pregnancy option you are considering.

We also offer a no-cost options consultation where you can ask questions in a confidential, pressure-free environment. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!