Late last month, a Missouri social worker named Janie Faville posted a photo of a medical bill to Facebook. The total amount billed is $5,584; after discounts and insurance coverage, the amount owed is $1,369.57. “This is how much a miscarriage costs with good insurance,” she wrote in the caption. “THIS is why we need Planned Parenthood and the ACA.” She also posted her bill to the Pantsuit Nation group, where it has since been shared over 10,000 times and has 800 comments, many of which commiserate and depict similar stories.
Nine weeks into her pregnancy, Faville experienced what is known in the medical community as a missed abortion. This condition, when the pregnancy is not viable but the uterine contents are not expelled, is also called a missed or silent miscarriage. As she explains to the Huffington Post, she “had been experiencing very minimal bleeding … and no cramping to speak of.”
Women like Faville in their first trimester are usually given the option to miscarry on their own (which has infection risks), or to have a dilation and curettage (D&C), a procedure where the cervix is dilated and tissue is removed from the uterus. Laura Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, told Self, “It’s not unusual for a ‘simple D&C’ for a miscarriage to have a total price tag of $15,000.”
In conversation with a friend, Faville mentioned the cost of her procedure and was met with disbelief, which made her want to share the financial aspect of her experience with others. “Luckily cost didn’t prohibit me from being able to choose how best to proceed for my mind, body, and soul,” she wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately not everyone has that luxury.”