We share our story for a variety of reasons, including to show how we were ensnared by the Missouri abortion laws, and in the hopes that we can encourage people to vote with us to change them and preserve our reproductive rights.
If you are a person that is a proponent of Reproductive Rights, thank you so much, and I ask that you please vote in every election. We were impacted so much more by our local legislators than our federal ones - it was the local lawmakers that created the 72-hour waiting period, the deadline and all of the consents. Every single election really matters. All of these things are state laws, not federal laws.
Additionally, we can't insist on perfect candidates. For instance, where I live, Claire McCaskill is up against Josh Hawley for Senator. There are reasonable concerns around McCaskill, however she has a solid record on Reproductive Rights, and Hawley wants to diminish our Reproductive Rights even further. When I think about it that way, voting for McCaskill is easy for me.
If, on the other hand, you are against abortion (and if so, thank you so much for lending me your mind and heart and considering my perspective!) and are not in the habit of voting for candidates that protect Reproductive Rights, I just want to share three facts with you that relate to how these laws impacted me (that were not shared in my story).
1). There are rarely exceptions in the laws for situations like Grace's. If you feel like abortions okay in our situation but not others (this is a really common feeling that is shared with us), know that exceptions don't exist that way. Occasionally laws are written with exception for rape, incest, and health of the mother (though I see against laws that have no such exceptions in them all the time), but very rarely do laws include exceptions for fetal anomalies. In fact, the deadline to get an abortion in the state of Missouri shows a complete misunderstanding about when fetal anomalies present themselves - by the time you find out your unborn child is sick it may be too late to do anything about it. We had our procedure one day before we legally couldn't in the state of Missouri anymore and we had to act very fast to make that happen. Our laws do not consider the realities of what women face in pregnancies. If there is one thing I've learned in this process, it's that we have really crappy laws around reproductive rights that don't fit every situation fairly, and worse, we are electing politicians that have no interest in doing better. I have testified numerous times about bills like these and they don't even pay attention to me. I want better politicians/lawmakers and better laws, and I hope that our story has left you wanting the same things.
2). Our doctors were not wrong. I hear this a lot. "Doctors aren't always right." We had eight doctors and a pathology report confirm that Graces diagnosis was accurate and that she would have indeed passed away in agony. They were not wrong. We can't make laws assuming our doctors are going to give us the wrong information.
3). You voting for a politician or law that protects Reproductive Rights does not mean you ever in your life have to get an abortion, or even that you think it's right. It just means that you respect that what you would do shouldn't dictate what other people are legally allowed to do. I would never, ever insist that another family facing the decision we did should have to abort the pregnancy - it would be wrong of me to say that. I just want the same right to make the best choices for my family that you do for yours.
I implore you to vote, in every election, and to vote for people that will work to protect all of our rights. It's about letting a mother do what's best for her very wanted unborn daughter. It’s about humanity, dignity, and the ability to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families.