There are two incumbent Democratic senators who have challenging races this election cycle: Doug Jones of Alabama and Gary Peters of Michigan. It’s you’re not familiar with Peters, it’s because he’s usually been a quiet but reliable senator who’s not usually in the spotlight. He’s certainly not the most vocal critic of the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
That’s why it’s surprising that he’s the first sitting senator to go public with a personal story of how he and his wife chose to have an abortion.
In a story told to Laura Bassett of Elle, Peters says he and his wife were looking forward to having their second child in the 1980s, but four months into the pregnancy, they found out the fetus would not survive. The doctor at the (presumably Catholic) hospital they were at said they couldn’t perform an abortion in the building, but a miscarriage would occur naturally. That didn’t happen, putting his wife’s reproductive future (and her life itself) in danger. Peters pulled some strings to move her to another hospital, where they had the procedure done.
The doctor appealed to the hospital’s board for an exception to their anti-abortion policy and was denied. “I still vividly remember he left a message on the answering machine saying, ‘They refused to give me permission, not based on good medical practice, simply based on politics. I recommend you immediately find another physician who can do this procedure quickly,’” Peters recalls.
Reflecting on the experience now, Senator Peters says it “enacted an incredible emotional toll.” So why go public with it? “It’s important for folks to understand that these things happen to folks every day,” he explains. “I’ve always considered myself pro-choice and believe women should be able to make these decisions themselves, but when you live it in real life, you realize the significant impact it can have on a family.”
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Peter Buttigieg, who doesn’t have children, made a similar point on FOX News last year — in a clip that’s gone viral again recently. Republicans love to bring up “late-term” abortions as if they’re somehow barbaric and commonplace. Neither is true, as Buttigieg explained:
I believe that the right of a woman to make her own decisions about her reproductive health and about her body is a national right. I believe it is an American freedom that should be enjoyed by women in every state. The next president needs to be ready to protect those rights. pic.twitter.com/NM5IJkO9GO
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) May 20, 2019
… So, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation. If it’s that late in your pregnancy, that means almost by definition you’ve been expecting to carry it to term. We’re talking about women who have perhaps chosen the name, women who have purchased the crib, families that then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime, something about the health or the life of the mother that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice. That decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.
That’s precisely what Peters is saying now. The choice was heartbreaking, but ultimately, it was a choice he and his wife were allowed to make. It was the right one for them.
Republicans want to make sure millions of women never get that option depending on where they live and how much money they have. By installing Barrett on the Supreme Court, they’re a step closer to forcing women to give birth no matter the circumstance. And they’re arguing in favor of it by acting like all women who have them are murderers who had other options available to them. That level of ignorance is astonishing.
That level of ignorance will also be in the majority in the Supreme Court. Unless, that is, Democrats win the presidency and Senate and expand the Court. That can’t happen unless people like Gary Peters wins re-election. You can help him out here.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Scott for the link)