This morning Roe v. Wade was overturned. In my state, abortion is still legal, but is likely to grow less accessible as more states pass restrictions. This critical healthcare will be in higher demand from those who must travel here from someplace less safe.
I asked a lot of people what to do and how to prepare for this day. The usuals, support your local abortion support network, go to the protests, etc. came up a lot. I have done those things, and I am glad I did, since today is not the day for clear thinking.
About a month ago, I procured abortion pills from Aid Access, and several boxes of Plan B from my local pharmacy. (Note aidaccess.org crashed this am, but I am sure they will be back online soon.) I have two 15 year olds, and my house is often full of young people. From talking to them, I know $50 for Plan B is inaccessible for many, let alone the process of obtaining abortion pills to have on hand (you need ID and a credit card, computer access, and a way to receive the pills safely). I know I am not the only mother in my community who has prepared this way.
But I want to talk a bit about why this is less about practicality for me this morning and more about emotions. First, as someone who dealt with infertility and repeated miscarriages, I know that fundamentally first trimester abortion is the SAME THING as the procedure to remove the products of conception during a miscarriage. Second, as someone who had an abortion when I got “miraculously” pregnant at 43, I can tell you that the thought of having my bodily autonomy stripped away is visceral.
Quite literally, for me, being pregnant is a fight with constant nausea and vomiting. I am certain of this, since I have been pregnant many times. The last time I was pregnant, I really thought I could tough it out and make a go at having the miracle child. But biology stepped in and I had to decide between my existing children, my career, my other relationships and 9 months of incapacity. The hyperemesis treatments that worked for me before no longer made a dent in the crippling vertigo.
I couldn’t get out of bed, and I couldn’t work – because that required standing up, or at least sitting up. My gracious coworkers took over for me during this time, and no one asked me any hard questions. In other words, they respected my autonomy and privacy. They gave me space to get back on my feet. I am forever grateful. Not everyone has this kind of support network at home, much less at work.
There are women all over the country and maybe in your life dealing with similar situations. Somewhere a woman is lying in bed right now, learning that she is unable to terminate the pregnancy that is robbing her of her ability to mother her children, be a partner to her spouse, or maybe even keep her job. Maybe someone from the clinic has called to tell her that the appointment is cancelled.
It is for these women I grieve, and tomorrow there will be more.