A ban for one, a ban for all – New Hampshire Bulletin
Friday, June 24 was supposed to be the due date for my identical twin girls. Instead, Friday marked eight weeks with our healthy twin, Lily, and eight without her sister, Iris, who died shortly after birth. And now will also forever be remembered as the day the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade – legal protection for private reproductive care without which I have never known life.
When we found out I was pregnant last fall, my husband and I were so excited to grow our family. Then, at 21 weeks, we learned that one of our twins could not survive outside the womb. Worse still, his condition threatened the life of his healthy unborn sister.
As if that news wasn’t devastating enough, we also learned that Governor Chris Sununu has signed a new 24-week abortion ban in New Hampshire that could prevent us from getting the life-saving medical care needed. of our healthy twin.
In situations like ours, the primary treatment is minimally invasive surgery that peacefully and painlessly ends the life of the non-viable twin, thereby protecting the healthy twin from harm. One sister gives her life to save the other – the ultimate act of love. Then the two twins remain in the mother’s womb until the healthy one is ready to be delivered. Without doing this procedure and letting the sick twin go, the chances of losing both babies are appallingly high.
By the time we saw our third group of specialists to make sure there was no mistake, New Hampshire’s 24-week deadline had arrived. We had learned that my pregnancy had other rare complications, and because of these the surgery would carry an unusually high degree of risk. So, after weighing the odds, we decided with our doctors to take an agonizing wait-and-see approach instead. I was admitted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center where I was under constant surveillance for weeks, living apart from my husband and toddler, knowing that any sign of distress could spell the end for my two unborn babies.
We were very lucky. Not only because Iris lived to be 32 weeks, keeping her healthy sister Lily safe until their c-section date, but also because we had the financial resources to take abortion care out of the way. ‘State after 24 weeks, if we had decided to . I had health insurance and paid holidays. We have families and friends who support us. We are white. So many people in America, especially people of color and low-income people, do not have these privileges, and because of this they will be deeply and disproportionately affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.
Some seem to believe that abortion is a cold and careless act, or that adoption is a better way. By sharing my story, I want to challenge these ideas. I learned that pregnant women consider having an abortion very carefully. In my case, the pregnancy was planned and deeply desired, but something unexpected and incurable went wrong. Some struggle with addiction or debilitating mental illness. Some experience complications that seriously threaten their own health.
You may think that some reasons people seek abortions are more valid than others. Unfortunately, it is impossible to choose. When abortion is prohibited for certain reasons, it is effectively prohibited for all the reasons. Any margin of restriction opens the door to all restrictions, especially now that the Supreme Court has returned the matter to the states.
For this reason, it is impossible for the laws – even with many exceptions – to fully capture all of the deeply private and intensely personal life-threatening situations, complications, and conditions that a pregnant person might face. And it is inappropriate for elected politicians – most of whom are not medical experts – to be in the examination room with the patient, to judge which reasons are valid and which are not, and to interfere with the patient’s ability to receive life quickly and potentially. life-saving treatment.
That is why the only effective solution is to make safe and comprehensive reproductive health care fully legal and accessible to everyone, without exception. This way, individuals and their doctors have the freedom to decide on the best treatment without any confusion as to whether or not it breaks the law. And if the freedom to defend and protect one’s own body and family isn’t the purest expression of Granite State values, I don’t know what is.
Yet with the Supreme Court’s decision, the liberty of the granite staters is threatened. New Hampshire is the only New England state without proactive abortion rights protections, and the way is now clear for politicians to add even more restrictions on our personal freedoms.
So what can we do to protect free access to abortion care in New Hampshire? Find out who is running for the state and local office where you live. Support candidates who are committed not only to protecting reproductive rights in New Hampshire, but to expanding them. The lives of the Granite Staters – and those who would travel here for treatment – depend on it.
I lit candles for my daughters Friday night as the sun was setting. As they shimmered in the fading light, I sent a prayer that this moment would not define their lives, leaving them with less rights over their own bodies than I have had in the 38 years of my life. . It doesn’t have to be that way. But if we don’t all do something, however small, nothing will change. It’s up to us now.