The larger implications and questions surrounding Jessa Duggar Seewald’s spontaneous abortion and D&C

Jessa Duggar Seewald

Jessa Duggar Seewald had a spontaneous abortion. After telling the public, the Arkansas native faced criticism and questions. (Image: Mayan Pearl)

Jessa Duggar Seewald recently revealed that she suffered a miscarriage over the holidays.

The 19 children and counting Alum took fans through her experience in a YouTube video, telling her four children that she was expecting and dealing with the aftermath of her miscarriage. Seewald said she spotted blood and was told at an ultrasound appointment that the baby “didn’t look well.”

Seewald said that she and her husband, Ben Seewald, “just sat there, holding hands and crying, like, ‘What do we do from here?'” Seewald then shared that she decided on a procedure known as dilation and curettage is known (D&C) to remove the fetus to reduce the risk of complications in passing the fetus at home.

Seewald spoke at length about the procedure, noting that the hardest part for her was when she was alone afterwards. “Those 10 to 15 minutes before I was taken back to the room where Ben and my mom were waiting were probably the hardest of my life, just lying there and feeling so alone,” she said.

But Seewald, who is a vocal “pro-life” advocate, received a spate of criticism after posting her video online, with many pointing out that a D&C is a procedure also used for surgical abortions. Seewald’s home state of Arkansas prohibits abortion except in situations where the mother’s life is at risk, and for this reason there are severe restrictions on procedures such as a D&C.

Seewald later continued in the comments of her YouTube video, defending her decision to have a D&C. “Women have D&Cs for many reasons, not all of which involve killing a living human being,” she wrote. “The ultrasound revealed that I had missed a miscarriage. My baby’s heart stopped beating three weeks before my D&C.” Seewald also shared that she had a previous D&C to treat a retained placenta after the birth of her daughter Ivy.

After being criticized for undergoing the procedure, she defended her anti-abortion stance. “Every human being is created ‘in the image of God’ (Gen 1:27), and to intentionally destroy a baby in the womb is an affront to the God who created this life,” she wrote. “There’s a world of difference between someone dying and someone being killed. To equate one with the other – and with a mother who mourns the loss of her baby no less – is utterly repugnant. There’s a world of difference between a mortician and a murderer. Even a child understands the difference between the two.”

So is D&C an abortion? Here’s what you need to know.

What is a D&C?

A D&C is a surgical procedure in which the cervix (the lower, narrow end of the uterus that connects the uterus to the vagina) is opened and a thin instrument is inserted into the uterus, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The instrument is then used to remove tissue from inside the uterus.

A D&C can be performed with either a sharp instrument or suction, says Dr. Daniel Grossman, director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, told Yahoo Life. “This procedure is used for both miscarriages and abortions,” he says.

What is the difference between a D&C and an abortion?

This is where it gets confusing. A D&C can be used to perform an abortion, but a D&C is not always an abortion in the sense that the general public thinks about abortion, Dr. Lauren Streicher, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. “This is a common medical procedure that can be performed on pregnant and non-pregnant women,” she explains. “It’s the specification of the procedure that can be confusing.”

D&Cs can be done on people who have a polyp on their uterus or a retained placenta after childbirth, or to control bleeding, Streicher says. In the event of a miscarriage, the D&C is often used to prevent infection. “Sometimes when a woman miscarries, there’s some tissue left in the uterus — and we have to mechanically clean the lining and occasionally placental debris to stop her bleeding,” says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. “If we don’t clear it out, it could get infected.”

What are the laws in Arkansas regarding abortion?

Arkansas is described by the Guttmacher Institute as one of the states with the most “restrictive” abortion laws in the country. Here’s what the Arkansas abortion treatment law says, according to the Guttmacher Institute:

  • Abortion is totally forbidden with very few exceptions.

  • Patients must have an in-person consultation and follow-up visit with a medical provider at least 72 hours later for the abortion.

  • State Medicaid coverage of abortion treatment is prohibited except in very limited circumstances.

  • The medical abortion must be done in person — the state prohibits the use of telemedicine or the mailing of pills.

  • Parental consent or notification is required for the abortion of a minor.

  • Abortions can only be performed by doctors.

  • Medical abortion is severely restricted.

Did Seewald get an abortion?

It depends who you’re talking to. Medically, yes, she experienced an abortion. “There is no medical term ‘miscarriage’ – the medical term is ‘spontaneous abortion,'” says Minkin. However, without the D&C, Seewald would have experienced a “spontaneous termination of pregnancy” — it means the same thing as a miscarriage.

“The only difference between a D&C for a spontaneous abortion and an elective abortion is that the intact tissue of the pregnancy may still be present,” says Streicher.

The public’s view of a D&C is “definitely something that’s very convoluted,” says Dr. Aishat Olatunde, a Pennsylvania-based gynecologist and associate at Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Yahoo Life. “The reality is that the procedure is just opening the uterus and then removing the pregnancy with instruments or suction, whether it’s viable or not,” she says. “We can get caught up in language and certain words and phrases, but the reality of how we care for people doesn’t change.”

In general, “the procedures and drugs used to manage miscarriage are the same as the procedures and drugs used to treat early abortion,” says Dr. Courtney Kerestes, a gynecologist in Ohio and a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Yahoo Life She adds, “Carers who are specifically trained in abortion care are well equipped to care for patients who need miscarriage care.”

Experts say strict restrictions on medical procedures like D&Cs are making it difficult for people to get adequate reproductive care, whether they have a viable pregnancy or not. “I am concerned that in states with many abortion restrictions, providers may not be properly trained or lack the resources, support, and skills to perform these procedures, which could create unnecessary barriers to patients seeking access to these necessary, need timely care,” Kerestes says. “Although these miscarriage treatment procedures would be legal in states with abortion bans, concerns about legality could also cause unnecessary delays for patients receiving this treatment, underscoring how abortion bans affect everyone and cause chaos and confusion among providers.” should and patients”.

Olatunde says it’s “really unfortunate” that doctors in states with restrictive abortion laws have to circumvent restrictions on procedures like a D&C. “It does our patient a great disservice by not allowing us to provide evidence-based and compassionate care,” she says. “Ultimately, doctors are subject to government restrictions and laws, but those restrictions are not based on fact. We should allow doctors to do their jobs, whether a patient is being treated for a miscarriage or is seeking an abortion.”

Seewald said in her video that she plans to take a break from social media for a while to focus on her recovery.

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