In a historic and far-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade last month, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion, upheld for nearly a half century, no longer exists. While some celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, the majority of Americans met it with anger, eventually resulting in tens of protests against the decision in the follow-up period nationwide.
In a matter of days, many states enacted abortion bans and clinics stopped offering the procedure. Expectedly, this caused a lot of problems for pregnant women who were thinking of aborting unborn babies, especially for those whose health was put in question for all the different reasons and needed to undergo an immediate abortion. Nearly a month later, pregnant women in states that implemented abortion bans are still having serious difficulties, while abortion-rights movements remain vocal in seeking legal abortion nationwide.
The 42-year-old Marlena Stell decided to once again share her story with the public, this time in detail, explaining what she had to go through last year when she lost her unborn baby. Per her claims, doctors refused to perform a D&C, a procedure designed to remove a fetus following a miscarriage, forcing her to carry the dead fetus for weeks until she underwent further examinations and provided evidence that proved it didn’t have a heartbeat.
Stell and her husband were nothing but happy when they learned that Stell was pregnant with their second child. However, their happiness didn’t last long because when Stell was around nine weeks into the pregnancy, it was discovered that the unborn baby no longer had a heartbeat. The couple lives in Texas, the state that was under fire by Americans last year after passing a law prohibiting abortions after a fetus develops a heartbeat, which takes place six weeks into a pregnancy.
Shortly after the state passed the law, President Joe Biden filed a lawsuit against the state, describing the law as “clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent.” However, the law remained in effect, and as of today, no changes have been made regarding that particular law.
Stell is a make up artist and she runs a Youtube channel with nearly 1.5 million followers. She initially shared her story in a video last October, but decided to once again describe to the public in detail what had happened and how she was exposed to serious health risk as carrying the dead fetus for an extended period of time, it could have potentially led to infection, and even death.
Speaking to WP few days ago, Stell explained that she had already had a miscarriage in 2018 and she was well aware of the D&C procedure and all the consequences that come after undergoing the procedure. Doctors advise the fetus to be removed in the shortest possible period with the aim of preventing infection or long-term health problems for the mother. Having this in mind, Stell asked her doctor to perform the procedure as soon as she learned that her unborn baby didn’t have a heartbeat and she no longer had a viable pregnancy. But her doctor refused.
According to Stell, the doctor told her that she needed “additional proof”, something like multiple ultrasounds, showing that her pregnancy was not viable before she could undergo the D&C procedure, eventually resulting in her carrying the dead fetus for two more weeks before she found an abortion service provider that decided to perform the procedure.
“I felt like a walking coffin,” she said to WP, fighting through tears. “You’re just walking around knowing that you have something that you hoped was going to be a baby for you, and it’s gone. And you’re just walking around carrying it.“
The couple wants a second child, but Stell is now exposed to a higher risk of another miscarriage because she has already had two. However, Stell and her husband decided not to try to have additional children where they live right now because of what they went through nearly a year ago.
“When you know that you’re there because a politician told you you had to be, and you somehow needed to prove that your pregnancy wasn’t viable, it feels like an extra layer of violation,” she said in her first Youtube video, as reported by the Daily Mail. “I get so angry that I was treated this way because of laws that were passed by men who have never been pregnant and never will be,” she added.
When the couple felt the abortion ban’s real-life impact on their own last year, this issue was a statewide problem for women. However, since last month’s Roe v. Wade overturning, this has become a nationwide problem for all women living in America, regardless of the states they live in. With her several recent public appearances, Stell hopes to additionally raise awareness of the issue, so that other women going through it feel less alone.
“It’s added trauma on top of trauma,” she said. “It’s important to share this story so people know how these laws affect all women,” Stell finished.