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For the past week, I haven’t been able to log on to social media without seeing controversy about the abortion bans that are sweeping the country. Even the most politically apathetic people are weighing in on it.
I grew up in a cultishly tight Evangelical Christian community. I went to private Christian schools. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I was raised to be pro-life.
Nowadays, I call that kind of mindset “anti-choice” or “forced birth.”
As a young adult, I was fed a number of horrifying lies about abortion, such as the level of embryonic development at certain stages and the reasons people get abortions in the first place. This made even “reasonable” abortion accommodations hard to defend, given the huge stigma placed on allowing pro-choice rhetoric any validity at all.
My biggest breakthrough in my fight for choice happened a few years ago when an old friend needed a life-saving abortion that she couldn’t afford. I raised $1,000 to cover the cost of this procedure.
After my brutal journey through this ethical mire, it was devastating when I woke up to find that Michigan’s House and Senate had both voted to ban a common abortion procedure. dilation and evacuation is considered by doctors to be among the safest options for terminating a pregnancy between the 13- and 24-week stages.
Michigan throwing its hat in on restricting reproductive rights hit very close to home for me, because at the beginning of this month I had a scare of my own.
I have a Nexplanon birth control implant. The implant, which is placed in the arm, has a failure rate of only 0.05 percent. If it does fail, however, there is a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy. Curled up in my bathroom after midnight, I was afraid that had happened to me.
An ectopic pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus. These pregnancies are almost never viable, and if untreated can result in rupture of the fallopian tube which can be fatal. Survivors of ectopic pregnancy may be left with scarring that affects their future reproductive health.
Fortunately, my symptoms were related to a violent irregular period, but between the heavy bleeding, the extreme pain and the vertigo so intense I was seeing things in stop-motion, I had legitimate concern that I’d have to go to the emergency room. I genuinely feared that I might die.
I’m not in the market for an abortion. In June I will be married to a beautiful woman with whom I want to start a family. Termination of any pregnancy, even before I stop my birth control, is not on the menu … unless medically necessary. As I am disabled, with family history of high-risk pregnancies, it is an unfortunate possibility.
Many forced birthers wonder why people like me are concerned about these bills. “Medically necessary” abortions, as they deem them, would be “allowed” for pregnant people who would die without one. Actual legislation and opinions from our lawmakers state otherwise.
An Ohio bill which claims to have an exception for ectopic pregnancies requires that the fertilized ovum be re-implanted into the pregnant person’s uterus. This procedure is medically impossible — it does not exist.
Miscarriage is another issue that brings fear to pregnancy-capable people. On top of the trauma of losing a child, which often is accompanied by pain and bleeding, now pregnant parents have to fear being criminalized for a natural physiological process. Miscarriages are no one’s fault, yet there are increasing cases of people being accused of ‘infanticide’ upon losing a pregnancy.
In a horrifying move for Michigan’s forced birth community, a lawmaker shared the belief that abortions “should be painful.” Republican State Sen. Kim LaSata said that parents carrying unviable pregnancies should “allow God to take over … and deliver that baby.”
The idea that “pro-lifers” take an anti-abortion stance to protect children seems to many people like a thinly veiled cover-up for the truth: a desire to hurt and further disenfranchise women.
Catchphrases like “consensual rape” and “life begins at conception” highlight perspectives stating that forcibly impregnated minors should be required to carry the infant because “it’s not the baby’s fault” and “a C-section would be less traumatizing than an abortion.” So much for protecting children.
All I want, as a future parent, is the assurance that I will be allowed to terminate a pregnancy if it is a danger to me. I want this right for every person who is capable of pregnancy, whether that danger is financial, physical or emotional.
Abortion rights are intrinsic to protecting reproductive health. Even if I hadn’t had my own unviable pregnancy scare, I would still fight for the reproductive rights of all people.