As a woman growing up in Western North Carolina, I always knew and still know I am not pro-abortion; however, I am pro-healthcare for women.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, I began to think more deeply and honestly about all the things that have been affected by their decision, about all the many unintended consequences that we as women, our spouses and our families are beginning to realize.
Unintended consequences like what could have happened to me as a young wife years ago. I almost lost my son at six months in my first pregnancy. I was put on bed rest and was blessed to carry him to full term and birth my only child. Two years later, I was not so fortunate. I had a partial miscarriage when I was four months along. After four stressful weeks of repeated testing with consistent negative pregnancy results, worry that my baby had been compromised and having developed a uterine infection, I was admitted to the hospital and a D&C was performed by my doctor.
What if I had also been questioned as to whether I had tried to abort the baby or if my doctor had been unsure that he legally could have treated me? Would the ability to have the healthcare I needed eventually have resulted in the unintended consequences of my death or serious impairment of caring for my precious 2-year-old son? It makes my heart beat rapidly even now, 53 years later, to think of the pain both my husband and I felt during that difficult and uncertain time.
I know two young women who have recently experienced miscarriages while trying to bring a much wanted first child into their happy homes. One of them had a complete miscarriage but hemorrhaged and had to be treated at a medical facility. What if her intention had been questioned and as an unintended consequence, she had been denied healthcare by a doctor who was unsure of the legal rights to treat her. Would she have died or lost her ability to have children? It breaks my heart to think of the pain these women, their spouses and families, have suffered without having to suffer through being questioned as to their motives involving miscarriages over which they had no control.
What about cases of rape and incest? There are women who bear the scars of these brutal and horrific crimes against them for their entire lives. How can judges or legislators or any of us dare to think we can develop a simple, unyielding rule of law to decide the fate of these girls and women who face unintended pregnancies and unintended consequences brought about by the Supreme Court’s ruling.
What about the unintended consequences of cases of ectopic pregnancies which will never result in a baby being born but will surely result in real danger to the woman’s life if she is denied healthcare?
What if all the women who’ve had painful and stressful miscarriages had been questioned as to whether they tried to abort the fetuses they were carrying or denied healthcare when they needed it? Further, what if women and girls who have been raped or were a victim of incest and became pregnant were put in prison because they chose abortion over a birth that was conceived in violence and hate? What if all the men who were ever partners in conception and never helped raise or support those children were also put in prison? Honestly, how much of the blame and grief is fair to place on women alone? It’s both cruel and unfair for women to bear the full responsibility.
Yes, we’re now dealing with so many unintended consequences because the Supreme Court foolishly, and without much forethought, overturned Roe vs. Wade. Republican legislators are trying to dictate a one-size-fits-all fix for things that should be private to individuals in the complicated circumstances of their lives. Complicated things that can only be known and should only be decided by the individuals who are facing them. Vote blue to protect your privacy and your right to make these crucial decisions!
Carolyn Cagle lives in Sylva.