A Letter to My Daughters About Life After the Roe Decision

5 mins read

Dear J. and M.,

Anticardiolipin antibodies. I need you to be aware of these weird little immunoglobulins (let’s call them anticardio-goblins) that caused me so much trouble when I was trying to have you.  They apparently are passed down from parent to child; in fact, I think I got them from my dad.  You need to be tested for anticardio-goblins because they caused me to have two miscarriages and a stillbirth before I was lucky enough to have you. And thanks to the Supreme Court’s unprecedented and short-sided, not to mention anti-judicial, overturning of Roe v. Wade today, my fear is that you might not have legal access to the medical treatment that I had for my miscarriages and stillbirth. It is truly a nightmare to me, but the truth is that you have far fewer rights to critical reproductive healthcare than I did.

What you need to know is that miscarriages and stillbirths are usually treated with medications and medical procedures that are now (or will soon be) illegal in many states. When I had two early miscarriages in the 90’s, which devastated me, the called-for medical treatment was a D&C (dilation and curettage). This is the same procedure that is used for early abortions. When I had my 26-week stillbirth, which nearly killed me, I was immediately medically induced into labor so that I could pass the deceased child. There was no hand wringing by my physicians or questions about legality of the procedures I required. My every instinct in all these instances was to seek expedited medical treatment so that I could move my body out of failed pregnancy mode.  It was essential to both my physical and mental health.  

Which brings me to you. My fear is that I have passed on to you the anticardio-goblins that give you a higher risk of miscarriage. And my greater fear is that in this Gilead-like post-Roe world full of unreasonable and unconscionable governmental controls of women’s reproductive rights, you won’t have reliable access to the proper medical treatment for miscarriages. Or that you will be subjected to being second-guessed about your pregnancy choices (or outcomes) by some sort of Abortion Police. I have read about cases in anti-abortion jurisdictions where women have been refused medical intervention for failing pregnancies (even when the woman’s health is compromised) and can’t fathom the idea that you could be forced to carry on with a nonviable pregnancy. Just keep calm and carry on — what century is this!? I’m ashamed that my generation couldn’t prevent the constitutional theft that was perpetrated on all women by the Supreme Court today. 

So, my first suggestion (after being tested for the anticardio-goblins) is that you join the movement to prevent the further dissection of women’s rights in the United States. It is clear that your generation will have to take to the streets, voting booths and state houses to restore what was lost today. The Supreme Court is basically one more faulty decision away from declaring fetal tissue a “human being,” and if that happens abortion could be outlawed across the country.  My next suggestion is that you avoid moving to Texas or Louisiana (despite how much you may love Austin and New Orleans), Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, Kentucky, or even beautiful Tennessee until you are out of your child-bearing years. Choose places to live that steadfastly support reproductive rights (and that includes contraception, which Justice Clarence Thomas has also targeted for Supreme Court annihilation). Finally, please try to lend support to women who get stuck with unwanted pregnancies because their right to choose was eliminated by the  Supreme Court today. 

Sorry if this letter is scary, and I feel compelled to quote the oft-Facebooked meme of the protesting woman with the sign “Can’t believe we still have to protest this sh*t.” The truth is, we may always have to protest this sh*t. 

Love you always, Mom   

Featured image by Julie Frontera

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