Thursday, April 19, 2007

Please listen washington.....

I have to do this. I read this article a month or so ago in Marie Claire (one of my favorite magazines) and thought about posting about it, but then did not.

I have to say that with the Supreme Court decision yesterday, I have to speak out now. I am pro-choice. I am pro-woman. I strongly believe that it is my body and it is my choice. As a mother of a daughter, I want my daughter to grow up in a country that respects her mind and her body. It is hers to control - in every way.

My message to Washington is - STAY THE HELL OUT of MY WOMB, MY BODY! What I do with it is my business. Legislating morality is wrong! Limiting my access to birth control is wrong. Limiting my children's access to sex education is wrong! The Bush administration is steering us in the wrong direction.

I must also say that I feel for women who have made this decision. Like Gretchen, it is a choice that will forever be with them. While I have never had to make this choice, I know in my heart that women know what is best for them and their lives, families. No politician and no judge should ever be given that much power, to control women and their bodies. It is just wrong.

I urge you to read Gretchen's story and then contact your elected officials. More info is available at

One woman's story

After reading Gretchen Voss's story in Marie Claire, NARAL Pro-Choice America's president Nancy Keenan asked the woman--who shared her own experience with abortion--to write a message to pro-choice activists. At a time when so much is at stake--we're waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its decision on the Federal Abortion Ban--Gretchen's story puts it all in perspective.

Any day now, the Supreme Court will determine whether women, in consultation with their families and doctors, should make personal reproductive-health decisions - or whether politicians should make our medical and moral decisions for us.

I care a lot about what the Supreme Court has to say about President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban. The same day I decided to terminate my pregnancy, lawmakers gathered in Washington, DC to discuss the ban, which could outlaw abortion as early as 12 weeks and has no exception for a woman's health.

Read Gretchen's full story after the jump.

That's why NARAL Pro-Choice America asked me to share my story with you. It's not a story I ever thought I'd share with thousands of strangers, because frankly, it's nobody's business. But now, of course, it is.

When I was 18 weeks pregnant at my doctor's office in Lexington, Massachusetts, I remember eagerly anticipating the ultrasound that would tell my husband and me whether our baby was a boy or a girl. We were so excited, oohing and aahing like the giddy, expectant parents that we were.

The technician, however, was quiet, and I started to panic. We learned that the ultrasound indicated that the fetus had an open neural-tube defect, meaning that the spinal column had not closed properly. We had to go to Boston immediately, where a new, high-tech machine could tell us more.

In Boston, the doctor spoke using words no pregnant woman wants to hear - clinical terms like hydrocephalus and spina bifida. The spine, she said, had not closed properly, and because of the location of the opening, it was as bad as it could get.

What the doctors knew was awful: the baby would be paralyzed and incontinent, its brain smushed against the base of the skull and the cranium full of fluid. What they didn't know was devastating: would the baby live at all, and if so, with what sort of mental and developmental defects? Countless surgeries would be required if the baby did live, and none of them could repair the damage.

It sounds naive now, but I never considered pregnancy a gamble. Sitting in the doctor's windowless office, I tried to read between the lines of complicated medical jargon, searching for answers that weren't there. But I already knew what I had to do. Even if our baby had a remote chance of surviving, it was not a life we would choose for our child.

I asked over and over, "Are we doing the right thing?" Our family - even my Catholic father and Republican father-in-law, neither of whom was ever pro-choice - assured us that we were. Politics suddenly became personal - their daughter's heartbreak, their son's pain, their grandchild's suffering - and that changed everything.

If President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban had been in force on that day, my husband and I wouldn't have had this option.

It's not always easy to see how the Federal Abortion Ban will affect our lives, so I am asking you to share my story with your family, friends, and co-workers. Please let them see the human side of this story. You can also read my full story here.

As soon as the Supreme Court makes its decision, NARAL Pro-Choice America will be in touch and provide you with ways to take action in your community. In the meantime, if you have a personal story of your own to share, please submit it here. And please learn more about President Bush's Federal Abortion Ban by clicking here.

Thank You,

Gretchen Voss

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