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Stephanie, 28

Almost a year ago, I rushed into the emergency room one morning with intense abdominal pain. Within the course of the next few hours I learned that I was seven weeks pregnant and that it was an ectopic (tubule) pregnancy. My husband and I were using birth control, and I had no symptoms of pregnancy so the news came as a shock to both of us. I underwent emergency surgery immediately, and had to have my fallopian tube removed. The surgeon told my husband that if I had waited one to two more days the tube would have likely burst.

I never thought of this life-saving surgery as an abortion until I went for my yearly ob-gyn exam a few weeks ago, and the nurse told me I needed to check the box on my medical forms to indicate that I had an abortion.

I am telling my story now because today I read that the "Protect Life Act" is pending in Congress. If such a law had been in effect last November, there is a chance I would not be alive today. Under the proposed law, the hospital could have refused to perform an operation that saved my life.

I am fortunate that I live in a city with multiple hospitals. What about women who live in rural areas with access to only one hospital? I am fortunate that I have excellent medical insurance, and my hospital bills were paid for. What if my insurance company refused to cover it and I had to go into debt to pay the over $15,000 bill for my surgery and overnight hospital stay?

This was a difficult experience for me. I am sharing my story because I don't want any women to be denied the same life-saving medical treatment I have had.

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