“I am pro-choice. I am 24 years old, married, and have one child. My husband and I don’t want more children. I am on birth control because no doctor in small-town Missouri will want to ‘fix a perfectly healthy’ woman capable of producing more children.
I’m young. They think I ‘might change my mind.’ So I’m on birth control to help prevent an unwanted pregnancy. My husband is scheduled for a vasectomy this summer, the first available appointment we could get. We are doing every possible thing right.
Depending on how our state changes moving forward, if I got pregnant, even taking every precaution, I could be forced to carry to term, or have to find a way to travel elsewhere to get the medical care I need. I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘She’s young, she’s healthy, they’re married, she should absolutely have to carry to term and give birth to the child she chose to make.’
Here’s where it gets interesting.
I was diagnosed with preeclampsia while pregnant with my daughter. With very little detail included, my pregnancy was very difficult. My daughter was born premature, not breathing, and had to be intubated in her first minutes of life. My blood pressure was so high I was on IV medication to prevent my body from seizing. I remember the day of her birth in blurry pieces because I was so out of it. She was in the NICU for a month, and I still suffer from long-term health effects nearly a year and a half later.
I am more likely to develop preeclampsia again in any future pregnancies after having it once. I now have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Studies suggest that 2 out of 3 survivors of preeclampsia will die of heart disease. These risks can all increase with each pregnancy if I had preeclampsia again.
My husband and I sat in a hospital room while a doctor told us we needed to make a decision on whether to save me or my daughter in case it came to that the night before I was induced. We’ve known since then we never want to go through that again. These new laws that are coming do not make allowances for situations like mine. I could be forced to carry a child, and it could kill me. I could also live through birth, only to die a few years later from the long-term health complications preeclampsia can cause.
My daughter could have to grow up without her mother. My husband could lose his wife. I could be forced to risk my life simply because there is no guarantee I would have preeclampsia again. The government is taking that decision out of the hands of the families it affects, and saying we are REQUIRED to take that risk. Personally, I will put my living, breathing daughter above an unviable fetus. She needs me here. My family needs me here.
It is every person’s right to choose to never have an abortion, for whatever reason. It is not every person’s right to make that decision for anyone else. It is not pro-life. If it was, my life would matter. This is pro-birth and pro-control over women’s bodies, as it has always been.”
To learn more about preeclampsia, visit preeclampsia.org.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mariah Mills of Southern Missouri. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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