WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 05: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduces the Senate version of the ‘Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’ during a news conference with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (L) and leaders from other anti-abortion groups in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill October 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sen. Graham introduced the companion legislation to House of Representatives’ version, which passed earlier this week by a vote of 237 to 189. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

At age 40, after being blessed with three beautiful, healthy children, I was overjoyed to discover I was pregnant with a son. I began to blog about my pregnancy and post pictures from our ultrasounds.

And then everything changed.

At 16 weeks, my husband and I learned our unborn son had a heart condition. We scheduled tests and we tried to learn everything we could, but by 20 weeks, his heartbeat had stopped. I will never forget the experience in the ultrasound room with his body floating, protected by my womb and my love, but he was no longer alive.

Devastated by this incomprehensible reversal of fate, we were referred to another provider at a different clinic because my doctor was unable to perform the procedure due to the late stage of my pregnancy. Not knowing the procedure was considered an abortion, my husband and I arrived and learned that the clinic could not accept my insurance, forcing us to pay out of pocket for the loss of our son.

I have been a supporter of a woman’s right to choose since I was young. Having spent much of my life studying the Torah, I know that my faith recognizes that women have the moral right and capacity to make our own personal health decisions. I never imagined I would one day need a late-term abortion. No one does.

Abortions after 20 weeks are relatively rare, less than 5 percent of the total. But as in my case, many fetal anomalies are not discovered until the 20-week ultrasound. It is cruel enough to be facing that decision. It is even crueler for a politician to presume to make that decision for me and my husband.

Instead of political grandstanding, we should listen to physicians like Dr. Rebecca Cohen from Aurora, an ob-gyn and an abortion provider. As she puts it, “The 20-week abortion ban is intrusive, based on lies, and serves only to further stigmatize reproductive choice, not to protect women or children. Denying women this safe, legal, merciful option and instead forcing them to suffer a stillbirth or carry a terminally ill pregnancy through their due date is cruel and misguided.”

My experience has illuminated how important it is that women and their families have the right to make their own choices safely and privately. Everyone has the right to their own opinions and to make their voice heard, but the policies proposed in these types of bills are meant to vilify and intimidate women and their health care providers. The rhetoric we’ve heard in Congress is not the way to have a constructive conversation about reproductive health choices.

And outside the political rhetoric, intimidation tactics are increasingly used on patients and providers nationwide. According to a recent survey from the Feminist Majority Foundation, threats and violence against clinics have skyrocketed since 2014, from 19.7 percent to 34.2 percent, with half of the clinics in the U.S. experiencing at least one incident of severe violence and/or harassment — including the attack in Colorado Springs.

For some politicians, these assaults on a woman’s right to an abortion are an opportunity to stand on a moral soapbox. But for me, as a legislator who has had an abortion, these attacks are personal.

When we talk about the importance of electing women and their lived experiences, I know what it means. I understand why being pro-choice isn’t a hypothetical and that 20-week abortion bans aren’t an abstract concept. It was a decision I had to make with my physician and my family. And it was the right one to make.

I believe in love and compassion. My lost son and my experience showed me that. I stand with all women who need access to reproductive health care, and those who provide it compassionately without judgment.

Sens. Bennet and Gardner, out of respect for me and for Colorado women and families, if this legislation comes up for a vote, please vote “no.”

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/06/banning-late-term-abortions-is-cruel-i-know-because-ive-had-one/?utm_source=nar.al&utm_medium=urlshortener&utm_campaign=FB

One Response to “Banning late-term abortions is cruel. I know because I’ve had one.”


  1. they are so centered on abortion they will not listen to you, Laurasmith.

    Like

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