New Hampshire’s ban on abortion care would impact patients like me

I am a veterinarian, wife and mother of two from Maine. I helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2002 World Rowing Championships. I am also someone who had an abortion later in the pregnancy.

Earlier this month, I shared my story at a hearing in opposition to the recent list of anti-abortion bills that were introduced to the New Hampshire Legislature this session. Why would someone from Maine dip their toes into New Hampshire legislative affairs? Because when people in your own community say terrible and uninformed things about abortion seekers, it is dangerous to tell them your story. So I guess I feel compelled to share my own story in solidarity, as a fellow New Englander.

At the end of my second pregnancy, our baby was suddenly diagnosed with a fatal form of skeletal dysplasia, a disease of bone growth caused by a random genetic mutation. There are over 450 skeletal dysplasias, and only some are fatal during the prenatal period. Those that are fatal result in babies who cannot breathe outside the womb. We were heartbroken.

I remember apologizing to the doctor for my uncontrollable sobs. And I will always remember his response: “Oh no, this is really bad. It never happens, but it does, and it’s really bad, and it’s only fitting that you are very upset. ”

After discussing our options, my husband and I decided that ending the pregnancy, while obviously tragic, was the best way to take care of our son. I had assumed that I would be admitted to the hospital that day, or maybe the next day. We just needed to know the plan.

But because abortion care later in pregnancy is so stigmatized, the plan meant being referred to one of the few last-resort abortion providers in the country. It meant having to travel far from home. It’s hard to say how this awareness broke me. In addition to losing my pregnancy, I had been judged and apparently deemed unfit to receive care in my home country.

We flew to Colorado, and over the next four days I was looked after by the kind people at the Boulder Abortion Clinic. I was able to overcome the obstacles and get the care I needed, and then I had another healthy pregnancy.

However, I fear for others if they cannot afford treatment. My abortion cost $ 25,000. Cash. And that doesn’t include the cost of free time, last minute plane tickets, a hotel, babysitting for our daughter, and incidentals.

I am grateful that I was able to get care, but it was deeply distressing to know that I was one of the lucky ones. I know the majority of people in my state or in New Hampshire could not afford the treatment I received. The most marginalized and underfunded members of New Hampshire communities will pay the price for the proposed bans, as they have done in other states like Texas and Georgia.

I believe people are misinformed about what abortion bans actually do and why politicians are proposing them.

After sharing my story with lawmakers in New Hampshire, a woman testified in favor of these bans. Although she never met me, she said my story couldn’t be true. Her sister had also received a fetal misdiagnosis. She chose to carry on and they spent a few hours together before her baby died.

It was his choice, and I support that choice. I wouldn’t want that taken away from him. But one of the bills in this series of anti-choice laws is a so-called “born alive” propaganda bill.

Bills like these would force doctors to remove babies born dying from their parents’ arms and force invasive and futile measures in an effort to save a life that cannot be saved. Those last moments that were so precious to him could be taken from someone else. All this so that politicians can score points with anti-abortion voters.

These invoices are not helping anyone. They take the freedom to make deeply personal and life changing decisions with our hands.

I’m not mad at the woman who called me a liar after hearing my personal story. I am sad and frustrated that we are on different sides of a political divide when we have so much in common. We both know how complicated pregnancy can be. I’m sure we both want to be able to make the best possible decisions for our families. And no one needs politicians to make these decisions for us.

(Dana Peirce lives in Yarmouth, Maine.)

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