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Bachmann’s Miscarriage Made Her More Anti-Choice, Mine Made Me More Pro-Choice

Bachmann’s Miscarriage Made Her More Anti-Choice, Mine Made Me More Pro-Choice

 

The political world is acting stunned that Congresswoman and potential Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is discussing a “devastating miscarriage” and how that event made her even more against abortion. “We made a commitment that no matter how many children were brought into our life, we would receive them because we are committed to life,” she told an audience yesterday.

Of course, it’s hard to imagine a woman who was sidewalk counseling outside of abortion clinics long before she ever even became a Republican could say she wasn’t “committed to life” before the miscarriage.  But her story reminds me of one I run into a lot as both a writer on reproductive health and a woman who has dealt with fertility issues and my own miscarriage.

I’ve written extensively in the past about my own personal struggles trying to conceive a family.  Inevitably, I would receive comments from people — mostly women, and mostly women against abortion, who ask me how I could possibly be pro-choice, and support a women’s right to have an abortion, when I have experienced first hand what it is like to lose a baby.

I have experienced it, and I know it for the emotionally crippling experience it can be.  To lose a wanted pregnancy is something that I fervently wish no family ever had to go through.  But the experience also, unlike Bachmann’s experience, made me more adamant in my support for a woman’s right to decide when she wants to carry a baby to term.

When I went in for my appointment at the end of the first trimester, I had absolutely no reason to think anything was wrong.  Although it had taken a long time to get pregnant, I already had one child, and I had no indications that there could be anything amiss in my second pregnancy.  I was sick, tired, gaining weight.  It was only when they went to find a heartbeat, then went to get an ultrasound, that we discovered the baby had stopped growing weeks earlier, and my body simply hadn’t responded to it yet.

I believe any woman who has experienced a missed miscarriage can understand the panic that fills you, knowing that there is something inside of you that you have no ability to remove or end yourself.  That for as long as it takes to arrange appointments, see doctors, schedule surgery, it is sitting inside you, a part of you, but really not.

It didn’t take long into setting up my D&C for me to realize that panic, that feeling of being trapped and needing help and knowing that your life is going in a totally different direction than you thought just a few days earlier, wasn’t much different than how a woman with an unwanted pregnancy felt from the moment she saw her first positive test.

One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage.  One in three women have had an abortion.  It’s pretty obvious that although some women no doubt are changed from their experience of a loss of a wanted baby, miscarriage does not in general change women’s views on a right to choose.

Bachmann’s mention of her miscarriage is courageous in the fact that women simply do not speak out loud about their losses.  But as an event that allegedly “committed” her to protecting life,  Bachmann still speaks for few women other than herself.

Photo credit: By http://www.flickr.com/people/fibonacciblue/ of Minneapolis, Minnesota [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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32 comments

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3:49PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

I had almost the exact same experience you did Robin. At 12 weeks I started spotting & wasn't very concerned, yet still went to my OB to get it checked out. Ultrasound showed that my pregnancy had stopped progressing around the 8 week mark. I had a D&C the next morning. Going thru that experience only confirmed my pro-choice beliefs. I've had another miscarriage since and now am going in for some testing with my OB tomorrow. Being pregnant when you want to be only to lose it to me mirrors the emotional rollercoaster women experience who are pregnant when they don't want to be.

12:33PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

I had the same experience as Robin M.; but as my pregnancy was further along when the fetus stopped moving, I had a wait of about 2 months before my obstetricians were prepared to remove it. As this condition causes a loss in the clotting factor from a woman's blood, I had to go for weekly blood tests to confirm I was not at risk to exsanguinate during the procedure. (I still have the needle scars over 30 years later.)

I was with a practice with 3 doctors, and the first two didn't seem to recognize how hard it was for me to continue to carry the fetus knowing it would never live or breathe; however, the 3rd doctor's wife had gone through the same experience (she carried the fetus for 11 months before she was able to have it removed from her body), and he arranged for the procedure as quickly as possible.

During this time, there were a number of anti-abortion protests locally, and one clinic was fire-bombed. It made me very angry to see how little concern the anti-choice crowd seem to have for women, and it certainly strengthened my support for the right to choose: since then I've been a stronger supporter of abortion rights, including volunteering to be a clinic escort.

Michelle Bachman has the right to her own feelings & her own opinion: she does not have the right to force those opinions on women whose personal situations & beliefs may be vasty different from her own.

8:10AM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

Bachmann completely misses the point. Are people actually serious about electing this clown?

3:07PM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

Her convictions are not that of everybody else. She might keep that in mind.

11:08PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

Bachman gives me the creeps- she's Phylis Schafly in a new suit.

10:07PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

Michelle Bachmann continues to find ways to stay in the "news".

The issue "Pro-Life" vs. "Pro-Choice" is a misnomer. The issue is muddled by the contradictory manner in which "Right-to-lifers" address it.

The choice a woman makes is strictly between herself and her God, and no one else's. She may or may not choose to have an abortion.

A woman has enough trauma in a situation without having hypocrites bleating, whining, and throwing rocks at her. Therefore "Pro-Life" should also pertain to the life of the mother, whose life is every bit as sacred.

It is hypocrisy when a "pro-lifer" says "no abortions", yet refuses to adopt a resultant unwanted baby. It is hypocrisy when a "pro-lifer" in one breath says "no abortions" and in the next breath whines about the drain on the economy from too many of these babies on Welfare. It is hypocrisy to "save 'em at the womb so they can be bumped off later, in another unnecessary war". And it is hypocrisy for every "pro-lifer" to assume they are a "divine" judge and jury for every other woman on earth.

The typical "apples and oranges" argument employed by conservative D********.
(If a TV reporter can use the term, so can I.)

I decry the case of irrational women with 8 kids by 8 different fathers; but that is fodder for another topic--- Planned Parenthood, which the conservative blockheads want to abolish also.

8:57PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

more posts have now been deleted, and one poster has been blocked. He sent me his post, and it was not in the least offensive. So what's happening?

4:43PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

I see some posts have been deleted, wonder how care2 decides who to censor.

1:40PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

Diane O: You are misinformed. No tax dollars go to pay for abortions in the USA. Abortions in the States are paid for by private funding or patient fees. Check it out and stop spouting lies to support your anti-choice philosophy.

1:36PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

Firstly, the current crop of "Republicans" are not. They more closely resemble the nazis of 1930's

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