Can Women Die if They Can’t Have an Abortion?

With the current post-Roe landscape, conversations about the medical necessity of an abortion to save a woman’s life can be both an emotional and complex topic. 

However, it’s important to highlight that laws regarding abortion access generally apply to the elective termination of an existing pregnancy, rather than resolving pregnancy complications.

Guidance from Health and Human Services (HHS) 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.

Are Life-Saving Abortions Available in States with Restricted Abortion Access?

Even in states with rigid abortion laws, there are health provisions that include exceptions for abortion if a physician deems it medically necessary to save the life of the woman. 

Is Abortion Necessary for Ectopic Pregnancy?

One common misconception is that women cannot receive treatment for ectopic pregnancy, which means that the embryo is implanted outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. This non-viable pregnancy can be life-threatening if left untreated.

This cannot be treated with the abortion pill because it’s located outside the uterus. It’s typically treated with the drug methotrexate or a surgical procedure.

Is the Treatment for Miscarriages the Same as Abortion?

A pregnancy that ends spontaneously before 20 weeks is called a miscarriage.

According to the Mayo Clinic, this happens in about ten to twenty percent of known pregnancies. It can be caused by a variety of factors, usually because the fetus isn’t developing as expected.

In an abortion, the pregnancy is developing naturally but is terminated and removed through drugs or surgical means.

In some cases, medical care is needed to treat a miscarriage to ensure all the pregnancy tissue has passed and there’s no risk of infection. This is different from an abortion, which involves termination.

Next Steps

In Minnesota, abortion is legal up to the point of viability. It is banned after that unless the health or life of the woman is at risk. 

Before scheduling an abortion, we recommend scheduling a no-cost pre-abortion screening appointment for a medical grade pregnancy test and ultrasound at our clinic to confirm the dating and viability of your pregnancy. 

Ultrasounds can inform you of health complications, such as a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. We also provide a pressure-free environment where you can learn more about pregnancy or abortion, and what your available options are. 

Contact us today to schedule your appointment! 

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.