I was one of the millions of women (and men) who marched at The Women’s March this past weekend. While I can get into the many reasons why so many of us took part (and the many reasons people were protesting), this particular march was especially personal for me.
Two weeks after Trump was elected, I had a second-trimester abortion.
Let me back up.
The day after the election, my husband and I got a call from our doctor that no newly pregnant couple wants to hear: the baby had severe birth defects. My husband and I went to countless doctor’s appointments, spoke to doctors and genetic counselors, and ultimately made our heartbreaking decision to end the pregnancy.
For months I was afraid to speak out, or call it what it really was. Perhaps it’s because of the stigma attached to it. But imagine having to go through making this heart-wrenching decision when the man we just elected President took a hard-line stance against the very thing we had to do. In case you forgot his viewpoint on abortion, even for medical reasons, here’s what he said during the 3rd debate:
CLINTON: [On partial-birth abortion]. Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I do not think the US government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions.
TRUMP: If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, Hillary can say that that's OK. But it's not OK with me, because based on what she's saying, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.
I have always been pro-choice, but until I had to make the decision for myself and my family, I couldn’t grasp the weight that choice carries. And now we have a man in charge who wants to make abortion illegal and not covered by insurance, even private insurance. I have private insurance. I pay a high premium every month and am happy to do it because prior to Obamacare I didn’t qualify for insurance because of my asthma. Our hospital bill for the abortion was still the biggest bill I’ve ever had to pay. I can’t even imagine going through all that heartbreak and strife with a bill that would put my husband and I in debt for the rest of our lives. But this is our new reality.
President Trump wants to be respected and taken seriously, but he has yet to show us, the American people, that same courtesy and respect. His blatant lies, treatment of women, and double-standard all support that claim. But, we’re also living in a world where facts don’t seem to matter anymore.
At the march, there were some anti-abortion activists shouting how all women who have an abortion are murderers. Those words cut like a knife. I’ve heard them before, but they didn’t resonate in the same way. I was lucky to be with my best friend who shielded me from it. I was even more grateful to see and hear the women who responded to the activist by either gleefully dancing around him or leading a chant, “My Body, My Choice” to drown out his words. I shouted until my voice was sore.
Ever since I got that call from my doctor, I’ve felt so alone and helpless. But, I’m not alone or helpless. Saturday proved that. So, I will continue to march and speak out, not only for myself, but for the millions of people that have felt what I’ve felt. Hopefully you’ll never have to experience that feeling of helplessness and oppression. But for the rest of us who aren’t so lucky, I am immensely grateful for the Women’s March.