Pro-life and pro-choice are two groups which typically do not intersect in the minds of many people. As a venn diagram, the two circles probably don’t overlap, or even touch. According to many people, they can’t even be on the same piece of paper.
For the record, I am pro-choice, however suffering through multiple miscarriages when trying to conceive my second child, was definitely not my choice. In fact, with each of these three, brief pregnancies, I was as pro-life as you can get. I was wishing and praying for life so much that it consumed my every thought as I obsessively charted basal temperature calendars and monitored home pregnancy tests as they gradually faded from ‘bold plus sign’ to a faded dash that looked like an etch-a-sketch which was half-shaken clean.
I was fortunate that I did not experience any complications with my early miscarriages and I was able to grieve the loss in the privacy of our home. I am also fortunate that my miscarriages happened when we lived in Washington, since we currently live in Texas where a recent mandate put into place recently requires that hospitals and clinic must handle aborted or miscarried fetal tissue “using the process of cremation, entombment, burial, or placement in a niche or by using the process of cremation followed by placement of the ashes in a niche, grave, or scattering of ashes as authorized by law.”
Let that sink in for a moment.
Under this law, if I had gone to the doctor’s office to be treated because I was concerned about the significant blood loss or the pain of the cramping as my body miscarried, instead of being sent home to grieve my loss, I would be sent home with a to-do list of arrangements for the burial or cremation of my fetal tissue.
I would now have three burial plots.
Or three urns filled with the ashes of my fetal tissue.
Until this week, I thought this was the the most senseless and cruel law I had ever heard of.
And that’s when I heard the name Shannon Lungren, the Iowa Representative who, in an effort to support the 20-week abortion ban, suggested that even women who miscarry after 20 weeks of pregnancy should have to carry their dead fetuses to term.
Again, this isn’t a pro-life, anti-abortion issue. These are laws designed to punish women, even those who miscarry wanted, loved pregnancies.
No matter what your feelings are about abortion, I can’t imagine how anyone can justify forcing the emotional, and financial cost associated with a burial of a miscarriage on a woman who has just been through one of the most traumatic experiences a woman can have. Or in Rep. Lundgren’s case, carry a dead fetus as a daily reminder of your loss. That is not pro-life. It is the heartless and cruel agenda of politicians who are trying to find creative ways to control and punish women.
With the Texas bill, politicians had to lump miscarriages into the law to give the appearance that it was actually about respecting the sanctity of life of the unborn. But apparently the sanctity of life only applies at hospitals, as the law does not apply if the miscarriage or abortion takes place at home. What a dangerous message to send to desperate women and girls, that if you can’t financially afford, or endure the exposure of the burial of a lost pregnancy, you better go ahead and take care of things at home.
Thankfully, the Austin American-Statesman reported that Friday, January 27, U.S. District Judge, Sam Sparks issued a preliminary injunction on this law saying the rule “placed burdens on access to abortion that substantially outweigh the benefits.”
Not surprisingly, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already pledged to appeal this decision and we all need to speak up to ensure that the appeal is not successful.
Why should you care about these bills if you don’t live in Texas or Iowa? Because while everyone is preoccupied with the chaos and news updates about the Trump administration, your local and state representatives are submitting and passing bills that have the potential to greatly impact your life and your liberties and it’s incredibly easy for them to slip by without you noticing.
We spend a lot of time focusing on the larger Federal laws about issues without realizing that our local politicians may be injecting their own nuances into those laws or creating brand new ones. I would have never imagined that even with a federal law in place protecting the right for a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy that I could be punished at a state level for miscarrying a very-wanted pregnancy.
It’s more important than ever to be aware and take charge of your own information gathering on a national and a local level. Here are five easy ways to be more involved locally.
Subscribe to your local paper or follow their site.
Find out who your Federal, State and Local elected officials are at https://www.usa.gov/elected-
Sign up for their email lists and follow them on social media
Google “State Legislature ________” and fill in the blank with your state. You’ll be able to search filed bills, calendars for votes and meetings & track legislation that is important to you.
Speak up. Show up. Be heard. Use social media to receive information and share your views broadly, but call or show up face to face with elected officials to make sure that you are being heard.
It’s our responsibility to be informed citizens and to make educated decisions when voting for even the smallest of local elections. Plus, it’s time that we demand that our elected officials represent us more often than just on election day. You know where you stand on important issues, it’s your duty to make sure that they do too.