There’s a picture I love of my daughter and me. It captures a moment in my early mothering when I felt somewhat capable of caring for her and my anxious daymares of accidentally killing her had somewhat abated. I’d mastered breastfeeding and I was so happy to be her mother. I am thankful I waited to have a child when I did because the demands of mothering blindsided me. I never once doubted my decision to have my daughter Safiya because I waited until it was the right time for me.
I got pregnant for the first time ten years earlier. I was 26 years old, interviewing for the internship year of my doctoral program. When I came home, the guy I was dating at the time picked me up from the airport. We went to his house and had unprotected sex. I knew exactly when I conceived both times I got pregnant. I knew I was pregnant that night just like I knew the night Ben and I conceived Safiya.
There was nothing I wanted or planned about that first pregnancy. I was not ready to carry, deliver or mother a baby. I wasn’t done with the plans I intended for myself, so I chose to have an abortion. It was the only option and choice I considered. Fortunately there was a Planned Parenthood near Kalamazoo where I was safely counseled and cared for during my abortion. Everything inside of the Planned Parenthood was compassionate and considered. Entering and exiting was a different story. I was harassed and intimidated by protestors trying to shame, terrorize and humiliate me about my choice.
I was 36 years old when I made the choice to become a mother and 37 years old when I delivered her. My pregnancy was considered high risk due to my “advanced maternal age” and fibroids, so the first few weeks I saw an OB specialist. I was well into my second trimester before I was able to see a regular OB/GYN. They didn’t think I would make it to term. But I did and Safiya appeared September 20, 2004.
Eighteen years later my baby of choice will not have control over her body the way I had control over mine. The highest court in our land is telling her that should she find herself impregnated with an unplanned and unwanted fetus, the future she planned for herself is no longer viable. There is nothing pro-life about banning safe abortions or criminalizing those who support women by providing safe abortions. The systematic dismantling and overturning of Roe vs. Wade is state and federally sanctioned sexual abuse and terrorism. If we let this stand on our watch, we are as guilty as they are. Please protect the human rights of women to govern their own bodies in a country where we demand that democracy and liberty is meant for all.
Peace & Solidarity