My testimony was just read on the floor of the Texas Senate, by Senator Wendy Davis of Ft. Worth. She is currently filibustering SB5, a horribly restrictive abortion bill. You can read more about SB5 at Burnt Orange Report. The testimony is not the full story of my abortion, and there were factors beyond my health that were absolutely in play when I made that decision. But we were asked to keep it to 500 words or less, so here’s what I was able to summarize within that limit.
I was in Austin on Sunday and Monday. I came from DC, because I had an abortion in Houston a few years ago, when my birth control failed due to antibiotics given after a surgery for my cervical cancer. Because of health problems I’ve had (ovarian cysts, endometriosis, cervical cancer) and the surgeries I’ve had to treat them, carrying a pregnancy could be extremely dangerous, both for me and for the fetus. Procedures to address my cervical cancer have compromised the strength of my cervix – later in a pregnancy, it’s possible my cervix wouldn’t be able to hold up a full uterus. But we couldn’t know! If I had carried the pregnancy and developed complications, I would likely have had to abort in order to save my life and any possible future fertility. It would have been well past 20 weeks. My doctors have told me that any pregnancy for me will be very high risk. I was only 23, in a relationship with someone who didn’t treat me very well, and far from any family emotional or financial support. So while there were medical issues, having a baby at that time was simply not in my own best interest, or in the interest of a child. Carrying that pregnancy just wasn’t possible, and women who face those same complications don’t only live in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, the only places clinics will remain if SB5 passes. They live all over the state, in rural areas with limited contraception access and high rates of teen pregnancy. They live in Oklahoma and Louisiana, where the closest clinic by far is in Texas. All women need access to abortion, whether healthy or not, whether a rape victim or not, whether they have the financial resources to raise a child or not. Republicans would now tell me that I couldn’t follow my doctor’s advice. They should be ashamed of themselves for preaching about freedom from government intrusion while stepping quite literally between me and my doctor.