People have been coming forward to share their own stories about abortion and pregnancy in the wake of the new Texas restrictions banning abortion after a mere six weeks and allowing anyone to sue people suspected of having or helping someone get the procedure.
It’s a devastating rollback to human rights that many in favor of it do not seem to fully grasp. While all people should have control over their own bodily autonomy, regardless of the specific circumstances of their pregnancy, much has been made over the fact that victims of rape or incest won’t have an exemption to this law, nor will those who technically have to have an abortion due to medical complications that would prevent the baby from surviving regardless.
Editor Alex Arnold is among those who got personal, sharing her own story in the hopes of highlighting one of the many, many issues with this barbaric law.
Arnold explained on Twitter that she was “18 weeks into a very wanted pregnancy” — well beyond Texas’s six week allowance — when she discovered her baby wouldn’t make it no matter what she did.
“I had three ‘options’ for moving forward,” she wrote. “1. Continue the pregnancy knowing the likeliest outcome was that he’d die in-utero within the next weeks or months, and deliver him stillborn. 2. Continue the pregnancy on the chance I could carry to term or close to it, knowing he’d die within days or weeks in the hospital. Or 3, end the pregnancy via [dilation & evacuation] surgery within the next few weeks.”
In other words, she could risk a stillbirth, know that her child would die very soon after being born, or have an abortion.
“For me, #3 was the best of three terrible options, all of which would leave me with heartbreak and no living baby,” Arnold said.
Her passionate explanation as to why this horrible position was made slightly easier by access to abortion continued:
Without that access, Arnold would have been put in the unthinkable position of having to carry an unviable pregnancy for another five months, causing emotional, physical, and financial strain with no possible positive outcome that could have easily been avoided thanks to safe and effective advances in medical science.
Arnold’s case is far from unique. About 1 in 160 births in the United States are stillbirths, which is classified as a death that occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Up to 15% of confirmed pregnancies result in a miscarriage (which happens prior to the 20th week), a number that includes those that are medically referred to as a “spontaneous abortion” and may require the assistance of a doctor to remove fetal tissue.
And others have come out in droves to share their own stories in response to Arnold’s, lending anecdotal evidence to cold, hard facts.
The stories are heartbreaking, and should mean something to those blanketly implementing these archaic restrictions to exert control and restore a rule of the land that unevenly shifts the balance of power to men and the wealthy, but it shouldn’t have to get to this point.
And all people should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies that spare their physical and emotional well-being, regardless of hyper-specific circumstances. The fact that this is not only still up for debate, but actively being challenged and rights stripped away is leading us down a horrifically dark path, even as Republicans and religious extremists charge to the front and cheer it on.