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Another Side of the Story

by Willo RadgensPEP Young Women's Leadership Council

As a woman, feminist and reproductive justice activist, I have always taken an interest in the legal right to choose an abortion, but never so much as when the Supreme Court made the decision to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban on April 18, 2007.  At the time I was six weeks along in a pregnancy that was planned, chosen, and wanted by my husband and myself. Suddenly, the restrictions on my rights became more real than ever.

Now 30 weeks along in what is thankfully a very healthy pregnancy, I think about the Abortion Ban less as an issue of choice and more as a matter of a woman’s health.  I think this is a side of the story many fail to think of when they think about abortion, which makes it even more important to talk about.

Most people have an easier time relating to an issue when they think about how it affects them directly, so this is what I did with the Abortion Ban.  Unlike other legal decisions that have slowly been whittling away at the rights and protections guaranteed to women by Roe v. Wade, the Abortion Ban is the first Federal legislation that directly challenges Roe by not making an exception for abortions performed when a woman’s health is in danger. 

What that means for me is that if something unfortunate happens to this fetus, my health could be in danger.  If for some reason there was a medical situation that forced me to choose between my health or my fertility and having an abortion, under the Abortion Ban there isn’t even a choice to be made by me, my family, or my doctors.  The Abortion Ban has stolen that option - the option for me to potentially live.

How would the group (mostly made up of men) who made this decision explain to my husband why his wife is gone?  How would they explain to my two year-old son that he no longer has a mommy due to their decision to prioritize what my son only knows as the concept of “baby?”  How would they explain to me how to recover if I lost my fertility?

It seems very easy to make a decision when you will never have to face the consequences.  When politicians make decisions, they’re talking about me and my life.  I am a healthy, loving, responsible woman who, but for the grace of God, has been fortunate enough to have a healthy pregnancy.  But should that change, I would want to remain a healthy mother, wife, and woman.  I would like for one of those people who made the decision that my life wasn’t as important to look my family and me in the face and explain why.

Decisions like this are rarely cut and dry, and yet that’s exactly what this one seems to the men who made it.  A woman’s health, fertility, and life do not become any less valuable the more pregnant she gets.  Right now I represent another side of the reproductive justice movement; a side I believe should be taken into consideration.

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