Thoughts on Overturning Roe v Wade
From a mother who lost a young son
As a mother who lost a son, and subsequently adopted one, you may think that I believe all babies, no matter the circumstance, should be born. I always wanted to be a mother, and I made many sacrifices to be one. But there is no stork, like Disney’s Dumbo illustrates, that delicately drops babies into the arms of the perfect parents.
It is not a magical formula. It’s one that is often very messy, prioritizes families with money and resources, and oftentimes only rescues children who have suffered severe abuse and neglect. The system isn’t perfect. There aren’t enough foster parents, and there aren’t enough resources for single mothers. And, this legislation prioritizes fetuses, rather than the American female, and violates a woman’s privacy and strips her of autonomy.
My son Milo was the perfect combination of my husband and me. He had a tough beginning, entering the world at just 24 weeks gestation. He resided in the NICU for his first ten months of life. His lungs were underdeveloped, and his eyes suffered damage from the oxygen. His growth was slow. He never walked or talked. But he tried so hard. He was mighty. He was beautiful. He was my most treasured creation.
At two and a half, he was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma—liver cancer. He endured five months of chemotherapy, then was given the gift of life, a second chance. He received a liver and kidney transplant. Eight days later, he left this world. And I have never been the same.
I experienced ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, and within a year of his birth, I had a hysterectomy. Not only was my son gone, so was my fertility.
We wanted to make our sweet angel proud, and we wanted a family. We loved being parents, and we weren’t done. We explored private adoption. It was so expensive. So, we turned to an agency specializing in pairing potential parents with children in foster care awaiting adoption.
This is where we found our second son. He was three and had been in foster care for 18 months. After several attempts to rehabilitate his 19-year-old mother, he was placed with a family member. They, too, were not fit to parent. Eventually, children’s services became his legal guardian. Then, after six months and multiple well-care checks, we became his parents.
Stressed Social Services
I am grateful every day that his birth mother did not choose abortion. However, with that no longer being an option, we can anticipate hundreds of children entering the foster system. A system that is overwhelmed and understaffed. One that relies on whistle-blowers—neighbors, friends, or relatives—to report neglect and abuse. One that relies on parents and individuals like us to become certified, a process that requires a year of training, immense paperwork, and a dedication to raising a child that will ultimately be placed with another family. Foster parents do receive compensation, and many are motivated by the money, but it only pays a couple hundred dollars a month.
Many of these children have very difficult lives. They bounce between families, some become criminals or addicts, and many suffer from multiple mental health issues. They are very rarely placed at birth because mothers are not physically or emotionally able to voluntarily relinquish a child they’ve birthed. It is the most selfless and most difficult decision for any mother. Because even if the child is unwanted, it is still fiercely and irrevocably loved.
Our country is the most polarized it has ever been in our history. Women, minorities, and children do not enjoy freedom. Politics and government are guiding decisions that strip us of rights. Like the right to an abortion—a procedure which saves the lives of members of our society. Members that no one considers when they preach about pro-life. We give more rights to the unborn fetus than the woman carrying it. How can we preach pro-life when we don’t value the lives of the mothers? Mothers, who may seek illegal procedures or resign to dangerously terminate pregnancies themselves, are likely to permanently affect their fertility or their life.
The Declaration of Independence states, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Women, clearly, are not created equal. But aren’t we also children of God, endowed by the Creator? Aren’t the babies we carry endowed by the Creator? Yet, many who argue they are pro-life are behaving as if we aren’t. Do women have the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? Is the U.S. a free country? This vote clearly illustrates that it is only a free country for a limited few.
“One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” This is not the nation I live in. We are the most divided we have ever been. And only a select population enjoys liberty and justice. The rest of us are not free. The rest of us are not provided justice. How can we hold this country to the standards set by our forefathers, while also evolving with the times? Those men who founded this country killed and maimed. They took what they wanted, and they labeled it theirs. They defended their land and created a doctrine. This was supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Women are being stripped of freedom and safety.
Women can vote. Women can run multi-billion-dollar corporations. Women can run a household, raise children, hold leadership positions, and be primary breadwinners. But we are not equal to men. The Me-Too movement shined a spotlight on this fact. We can physically be overpowered by men. We can be raped while the men have few consequences. We fear walking in parking garages and city streets at night. And now we fear living in this country. We are taking momentous steps backwards, away from equality.
What rights will we lose next—the right to marry who we love, the right to hold a job, the right to birth control? This could and very well may result in government making many decisions that further affect women’s rights. We are too smart, too valuable, and too independent to let this happen.
Why I Care
I love being a mother, more than anything in the world. If my situation had been different, I would have given birth to many children and I would have raised them to be competent, reliable, strong, and genuine.
But this was not my journey. I couldn’t control the death of my son or the removal of my uterus. In a perfect world, my babies would have been set on my doorstep by the stork and I would have had them from birth to eternity.
I have met many loss moms in the seven years since my son’s death. We’ve suffered what’s called the most traumatic event a parent can survive. We struggle with grief—forever. Marriages fail, siblings suffer, families divide. This is what happens when a child dies.
Adopting a child and giving birth to one are very different ways of building a family. After we applied, became certified, and waited for the perfect foster child to join our family, we had two separate calls offering us the possibility of an unborn child. We got our hopes up and we prayed. Two separate mothers considered placing their children for adoption, and we were on the short list. We were so excited, we wrote a letter to each, and we waited. Both changed their minds and kept their children. The disappointment for us was monumental. It felt like we lost two more children. It was heartbreaking and proves just how difficult it is for mothers to place their children in another family’s care. Because all mothers, those who planned their pregnancy and those who didn’t, are unequivocally in love with those children. But not all are equipped to raise them.
Why You Should Care
Many of these children, born to mothers who are ill-equipped and may have otherwise aborted them, do not get adopted, remain in foster care for years, or remain with mothers who have little access to resources. Many will be neglected. Many will be abused. Many will not be fed, nor clothed, nor raised in a loving household. Much of our country lives in poverty. Much of our country’s population lives paycheck to paycheck. Much of our country is jobless, homeless, hungry, and scared. This decision will exacerbate these problems. And we don’t have a sound structure to help them. Our economy is headed for recession, and the cost of fuel is at an all-time high.
The decision to allow abortion is not the responsibility of each state. Many, including mine, are banning abortion, planning to prosecute clinicians, and support the narrative that the decision to abort a fetus is not the responsibility of the woman carrying it.
To fight this, to support women’s rights and maintain our autonomy, we must stand together for change. And it’s going to require momentous effort and immense support for one another.
Please support each other.
Please RISE AS WOMEN.
2 thoughts on “Women’s Rights 2022”
Preach it sister…every single word or this.
Yes!!!!! You have so much direct experience in so many facets of the child birthing, raising, losing, adopting process and you have so eloquently stated why this is a horrific injustice to all women and girls.