Our Story Will Be On The Moth Podcast Tomorrow (11/2/18)

I am thrilled to announce that my Moth story from the 10/18/18 show in Boston will be part of the November 2nd podcast (this coming Friday).

I will share the link again when it is released on Friday, but for people that aren’t already subscribers, you can learn more about the podcast and where to subscribe here:

 Jim and me at the Wilbur after The Moth show in Boston, MA on 10/18/18.

Jim and me at the Wilbur after The Moth show in Boston, MA on 10/18/18.

Sharing our story on The Moth was truly an honor for me.

I feel so urgently and strongly about sharing the reality of what has faced Jim and me (as well as so many others that do not have the ability to share so publicly for a variety of reasons).


It’s been a privilege to share Grace’s story, and I’m so appreciative to The Moth for the opportunity, and to Boston for the warm reception.


I hope you’ll listen.



A Midterms Voting Guide with Grace Pearl In Mind

 Photo by  Parker Johnson  on  Unsplash

I have pulled together a voter guide for the upcoming midterms on November 6, 2018 that would focus on candidates and issues that would allow us the best possible rights to make the choice we did with Grace Pearl. I am focusing in Missouri because that is where I am most familiar with the candidates and issues, but for wherever you are, I ask that you take reproductive rights into account when choosing a candidate, and how much the individual will do to protect rights of families like mine.

People run into situations like mine every day, in every state. We deserve to be able to make the best choices for ourselves and our families without undue burden in terms of cost, geographical restriction, and time frame. If you vote for a candidate that is against reproductive rights, know you are voting to hurt babies like Grace and women and men like myself and Jim. There’s no way around that.

I’ll take this chance to say we also deserve honest, comprehensive medical care, not places that will blatantly lie to us like Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Please learn more about them here.

Important Voting Information:

The Missouri ballot is huge for the midterms, so I will only be listing out the things I’m best educated on, and then resources for the other issues.

✔️ Polling places will be open from 6 am until 7 pm
✔️ If you are unsure of your polling place, you can look it up here: https://bit.ly/2fg5NRR
✔️ You will be required to show a form of ID at the polls. See acceptable forms of ID here: https://bit.ly/2OdbZba

DO NOT LEAVE A POLLING PLACE WITHOUT VOTING —call this non partisan election hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE) if you have any voting issues.

Now to the voter guide resources:

I’m going to go over my own personal recommendations, where I have them, in the next section. However I just don’t know enough about every issue to make an educated assessment, especially when the ballot is this long. So here’s what I do/resources I use:

  • The League of Women Voters has a great resource at vote411.org. You type in your address & get a personalized ballot with info on each candidate/issue. I go through this list and select each item, and print it off at the end to take with me to vote. PRINT IT OFF OR WRITE IT DOWN in case you can’t look at your phone while voting. Many places ban phones in the polling area.

  • For issues where I do not have an established opinion yet, I have trusted sources I use. They include:

    • ProgressWomen - Representative Stacey Newman puts a LOT of effort into her recommendations, and I value her opinion. She has also covered all Missouri AND county propositions, so this is a comprehensive resource.

    • Planned Parenthood MO voting guide - Planned Parenthood has protections of reproductive rights at top of mind, and this voting guide is consistent with that.

    • NARAL voting guide - they likewise carefully vet for pro-choice candidates and issues.

  • You can see the Missouri Bar recommendations for each judge on the ballot on vote411 while you’re selecting the rest of your ballot. It will tell you each judge and their recommendation, and you can research more from there. There are a few that are not recommended for retention.

My Personal Recommendations/Endorsements:

  • US Senator: Claire McCaskill. I am with many people in feeling that I wish McCaskill were different in some ways, but she has a solid voting record in terms of reproductive rights, and that means a lot to me. Additionally, I am terrified of what electing Josh Hawley would do to all sorts of social rights, including reproductive rights, and he is currently promising that pre-existing conditions will be protected as part of healthcare while entering Missouri into a lawsuit to undo the Affordable Care Act (which would undo the protections of pre-existing conditions). He’s blatantly lying to us.

  • U.S. Representative, District 2: Cort VanOstran. I actually am not able to vote for Cort as I am not in his district, but I have still spend many volunteer hours pushing out awareness around him and encouraging people to vote for him because his incumbent oppoent, Ann Wagner, is THAT BAD. She’s pro-life all the way down the line, and would absolutely vote to hurt Grace, Jim and myself. Cort is endorsed by NARAL and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which goes a long way with me. These organizations support our right to make the choice we did, and fight for laws that protect us.

  • State Auditor: Nicole Galloway. I saw Nicole speak at an event and was very impressed by her. She has done this job since 2015 and has done an outstanding job, as reiterated by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

  • State Representative, District 91: If you are in Sarah Unsicker’s district, I recommend her as a representative that is on the Children and Families House Committee and has fought for reproductive Rights

  • State Representative, District 80: If you are Peter Meredith’s district, I recommend voting for him. I find him to be thoughtful, transparent, hard fighting and compassionate. He was hoping to propose a bill last year that would include infertility treatments in insurance coverage, which would be transformative for families like mine.

  • Amendment #1 (aka CLEAN MISSOURI) = VOTE YES. I have personally worked on this campaign because I believe SO STRONGLY in it. It bans lobbyist gifts to General Assembly, requires open legislative records, lowers campaign contributions & limits committee donations, requires 2 year lobbyist waiting periods and ensures a non-partisan district map process (aka, limits gerrymandering, making sure our votes matter more). This is super important. VOTE YES. If you vote for nothing else, vote for this one. But vote for everything.  More info at CleanMissouri.org 

  • YES on Proposition B – Increases the Minimum Wage to $12 by 2023. St. Louis Post Dispatch endorsement HERE. There are a lot of reasons that I agree with this, but in terms of reproductive rights, if you’re not aware, the Hyde Amendment prevents abortions from being covered by federal funds. If we want women to be able to exercise their reproductive rights asap in an unwanted pregnancy, they have to have the funds to do so. Economic equality is very important to me.

These are the issues that I am most comfortable making endorsements on, and I’m always learning more so if you feel I’m wrong about any of them, please reach out!

The Moth Mainstage at the Wilbur in Boston - 10/18/18

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I will be sharing my story as part of The Moth Mainstage event tomorrow evening (Thursday, October 18th) at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, MA. Tickets are sold out, but if you’re there, send me a hug! This will be my first time sharing in front of so many people and I’m nervous, but grateful for the opportunity to share our story.

I’ll tweet as much as I can about it too!






Kavanaugh Doesn't Respect Roe v Wade as Settled Law. Call Your Senators!

Today (September 6, 2018) during judge Brett Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Senator Cory Booker leaked committee docs show where Kavanaugh says Roe can be overturned.

As Booker stated, he immediately released the documents, which can be reviewed here: Booker Releases Committee Confidential Documents Related to Yesterday’s Testimony. Of particular note in these records is the following piece of information, where  when Kavanaugh was acting as a White House lawyer in the Bush administration, he challenged the accuracy of deeming the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be “settled law of the land”:

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This is terrifying. Kavanaugh is clear with his feelings on Roe. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will die, our basic dignity and humanity to autonomously make our own choices about our live's paths and destiny will be eliminated, and abortion rates won't actually go down. In fact, babies like Grace will 100% suffer. 

Here are a few actions to take:  

  • Please call the Senate Judiciary Committee at 202-224-5225. 

“I'm calling to demand that the committee commit to a transparent and thorough review of all of Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh's extensive body of work before referring his nomination to the full Senate.”

  • Please call your Senators to ask them to vote no on Kavanaugh due to his obvious intent to undermine or undo Roe v Wade, which is established law. You can find your Senator's contact information here

"Hi, my name is ___ and I am a constituent from [city, state, zip code].

I am calling to demand that [Senator] oppose Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court due to this his history of ruling against reproductive rights. I have a friend that had to end a desperately wanted pregnancy at 22 weeks due to a fatal fetal anomaly, and she wouldn't be able to do this if Roe v Wade were overturned, which I believe Kavanaugh would vote to do. Women should not have to fear that their reproductive rights or access to birth control could be removed by adding Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. 

Thank you for your hard work, time and attention. 

[Name]"
[If leaving voicemail, leave full street address to ensure your call is tallied].

  • Call Corey Booker and thank him. (202) 224-3224.

Even if Kavanaugh Doesn't Vote to Overturn Roe, He Poses a Huge Threat to Abortion Access

This article in the New York Times gave a great illustration of what I worry could happen if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court.

How a Supreme Court Shaped by Trump Could Restrict Access to Abortion

President Trump has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was a cautious supporter of abortion rights.

 

As illustrated in the article, while Kavanaugh may respect Roe as settled law, he could vote with other justices to give more power back to the states. Missouri is an example of how we cannot afford to have that happen.

When I had my abortion in November 2016, there was only one Planned Parenthood in the state of Missouri. I had to wait 72 hours, and because of that, bumped up against the deadline in the state for how late I can get an abortion (21 weeks, 6 days, and I had my abortion at 21 weeks, 5 days). I had to sign awful consents and with all of that, still didn't hit all of the many abortion laws that Missouri has. Some of them have been ruled unconstitutional in other states.

If, as Senator Collins says, Brett Kavanaugh has said he'll respect Roe v. Wade as settled law, that doesn't meant that he'll not vote with other judges to give more and more power to states to decide what is legal or not. That is also very, very dangerous to women's rights and health.

Missouri is already a very difficult place to get an abortion, and that abortion will be granted with two heaping spoonfuls of judgement and a side of biased, flawed information. For example, the consents I had to sign didn't also discuss both the pros and cons of pregnancy - only those that presume a human life starts at conception (a belief that is not supported by the scientific community) and ignore facts like maternal mortality rate (the US has the highest rate outside of third world countries) and risk to the mother's health. If they were balanced, I'd respect them more.

We cannot afford to have our reproductive rights undermined any further; indeed, we need to be gaining rights back that have been taken from us from deeply conservative lawmakers that have shown, in my persona experience in reaching out to them and testifying next to them, to have no understand or desire to learn about what real women face. These laws are dangerous, ignorant and disrespectful. 

We need to ask our Senators to vote no on Kavanaugh because his confirmation would deeply threaten abortion access. It's what is right for our privacy, humanity and health. No one deserves to get to tell me what, legally, I am allowed to do if I find myself in a situation again like I did with Grace. Only I was in the room with all of the doctors, seeing the ultrasounds and hearing the diagnosis and odds of survival. To allow lawmakers that don't care about our circumstances to decide for us is blatantly wrong. 

Please call your Senators today and ask them to vote no on Kavanaugh.  You can find their contact information here.

 

Please Call Your Senators: Roe v Wade is About Personal Liberty, not Abortion.

I have been very busy in the land of advocacy lately, but unfortunately not as available here due to that. One thing I got to do that was very rewarding was speak at the Unite for Justice event:

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It was a huge honor to share Grace's story as well as hear the other speakers explaining why Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court and subsequent votes could threaten our rights. 

I read this article recently and it really captured one of my biggest concerns: 

Roe v Wade isn't about abortion - it's about personal liberty. A government that can tell us we cannot have an abortion can also tell us that we must have one. 

That's an inappropriate and terrifying amount of responsibility to give the government, and I can tell you from my experience, their judgments and decisions do not match the circumstances we find ourselves facing. Please read and call your Senators and ask that they vote no on Kavanaugh. Even Senators that you think have already decided - I am hearing that they are hearing far more from people that are for Kavanaugh than against. 

 

Opinion | Remember a woman's right not to have an abortion

Regarding the Aug. 22 news article " Sen. Collins says Kavanaugh sees Roe as 'settled'  ": Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is described as "a centrist who supports abortion rights." If she votes to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, she will have exposed that reputation as a sham.