Election 2020

The Personal and the Political

A dark blue outline of the state of Colorado with the phrase "No on 115" encouraging people to vote No on Colorado Ballot Initiative 115, which would ban abortions in the state after 22 weeks gestation

I’ve historically kept writing about politics to my social media accounts, and for awhile, to a short-lived email newsletter that I tried to start up. Putting something on my website or blog feels different somehow. But, here we are, in unprecedented times. And to be honest, the idea of keeping this space politics-free seems nearly impossible, when so much that’s considered political right now is also extremely personal to many people, myself included. I’m also trying to move away from the fences of Facebook in particular, while having been asked to share my thoughts or opinions on the upcoming election (and not just in relation to the top of the ticket).

So I’m going to start with a particularly personal story, to share why I’m voting NO on Colorado Ballot Initiative 115, the latest attempt to put restrictions on abortion in Colorado.

I’ve written and rewritten parts of the story I want to tell on multiple occasions, including delving in to what feels like a long (and often winding) history around my beliefs around abortion — this is, I hope, a much more condensed version!

2010

Sometime after finding out I was unexpectedly pregnant with our first kiddo. A friend or a colleague, I actually can’t remember who, said somewhat in passing about how being pregnant for the first time should “convince me to be pro-life.”

I wish I had an adequate picture to show how I reacted. Because, well, pregnancy was hard. It was brutal physically, emotionally, and mentally. And being pregnant unexpectedly, but with ample support, made me realize that no person should ever be forced to be pregnant, for any reason. This type of endurance, and quite frankly, love, is something that can’t be forced. It needs to be chosen.

The GOP and anti-abortion advocates would like us all to believe that the woman who miscarries, the woman who cannot get pregnant, the woman who experiences infant loss, is at war with the women and other pregnant people who have abortions. But we’re not. We’re the same woman — the same people — experiencing one of many pregnancy outcomes. We’re the people fighting and hoping that every outcome of conception was a choice we could make for ourselves.

Danielle Campoamor, Women Who Have Miscarriages and Women Who Have Abortions Can Be the Same People

2014

At 21 weeks pregnant with my second kid (who is now 5), after 3 different anatomy ultrasounds (including 2 at the Maternal-Fetal Specialist), a kind OB/GYN Maternal-Fetal Specialist told us there was a possibility of a heart defect that they couldn’t see or get a good image of during those ultrasounds for a variety of reasons. She encouraged us to do some additional testing, but that recommendation came with a warning: we had exactly one week before I was 22 weeks along, and when Georgia’s laws regarding abortion access would prevent me from ending the pregnancy, no matter what.

My first reaction was…of course I wouldn’t have an abortion. I WANT this baby. He is already loved and wanted in this family.

I wish I could better convey in writing the anger that flooded me in that moment. Anger at the Georgia legislature and politicians more generally, for inserting themselves in to one of the most difficult situations in my life, and telling me I had better rush like hell to get as much information as possible and then (potentially) make a hasty decision to beat their arbitrary deadline on a calendar. At activists I knew had been working to demonize people like me, potentially faced with one of the most crushing decisions of their life, to terminate a wanted pregnancy from a place of compassion and love.

It gutted me to spend the next week getting tests and trying to confirm what we knew and what we didn’t. And at the end of that week, when we learned that there was an extremely high chance that the ultrasound image meant nothing permanent, I breathed a sigh of relief at not having to make a soul and life-changing choice. But, I also left that appointment, steeled against the stigma and heartbreak wrought by politicians and activists who think they’re qualified to say what’s best in every single case, based on a calendar, and based on their own beliefs of when life begins and when to trust women and their families to make healthcare decisions.

The idea that someone would go through the physical, personal, and emotional commitment of pregnancy and parenthood to just flippantly decide to choose an abortion moments before birth or to commit infanticide is ludicrous. It is an invented crisis being pushed by extreme anti-choice activists and politicians. It does not exist in real, actual medical practice.

Julia A. Pulver, I’m a Former NICU Nurse. Trump’s Claims About Later Abortion Couldn’t Be More Wrong.

I could contrast this with the level of trust I was given about a year later, when I had to make a decision about whether to remove life support when my mom was hospitalized and struggling.

But, quite frankly, I shouldn’t NEED to make that comparison to make it clear that there should be no bans. Colorado has led the nation in ensuring that pregnant people, their families, and their doctors, can pursue vital and necessary healthcare at all stages or pregnancy. It was the first state to decriminalize abortion in 1967. We should continue to do so, and move beyond the bans.


For more about moving beyond the bans and the efforts to fight against this restrictive law, check out Beyond the Bans Colorado. Their Facebook page contains other articles and stories, from people faced with this awful decision and the impact of the ongoing efforts to limit and restrict abortion access across the United States and in Colorado.

One thought on “The Personal and the Political”

  1. Tess Needham says:

    Great post! I think it’s so important to humanise these issues by telling personal stories around them. It’s easy to be like “I believe strongly about this!” in principle, but without understanding the actual impact on real people, it’s impossible to have an informed opinion.

    The personal is inherently political, so kudos on sharing those stories here. 🙂

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