Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) provided searing commentary on the latest assault on reproductive rights (of women, mind you - no one limits a man's reproductive rights) during a Congressional hearing about the latest flurry of hate-filled forced birth laws sweeping the nation. While most Republicans (all white men) spent their allotted time asking absurd questions of the expert witnesses before them and belittling them by dismissing their earned titles, McBath turned the tables and asked questions of those in the room who'd deny her and all birthing people their privacy, bodily autonomy, dignity, and frankly, their sanity.
First though, she laid bare for the public her harrowing stories of pregnancy loss, and not for the first time.
"For two weeks, I carried a lost pregnancy and the torment that comes with it. I never went into labor on my own. When my doctor finally induced me, I faced the pain of labor without hope for a living child. This is my story. It's uniquely my story. And yet, it's not so unique," McBath told the room, and the world.
"Millions of women in America, women in this room, women at your homes, and women that you love and cherish have suffered a miscarriage. And so, I ask, on behalf of these women, after which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned?" she challenged.
"Would it have been after the first miscarriage? After doctors used what would be an illegal drug to abort the lost fetus?"
"Would you have put me in jail after the second miscarriage? Perhaps that would have been the time, forced to reflect in confinement at the guilt I felt. The guilt that so many women feel after losing their pregnancies," McBath said, painting the grim picture.
"Or, would you have put me behind bars after my stillbirth? After I was forced to carry a dead fetus for weeks? After asking God if I was ever going to be able to raise a child?"
"And I ask because the same medicine used to treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine that states like Texas would make illegal. I ask because if Alabama makes abortion murder, does it make miscarriage manslaughter? I ask because I want to know if the next woman who has miscarriage at three months if she will be forced to carry her dead fetus to term."
If a woman has a miscarriage at three months and is forced to carry to term, there's a good chance she'd go into sepsis and die. But don't tell that to the Republicans in the room. Were there even any Republicans in the room? Or did they pull a Ketanji Brown Jackson exit the second Lucy McBath began to tell her story?
I'm of the unpopular opinion that if a person finds themselves pregnant, and decides they don't want to be pregnant for any reason whatsoever, they should be able to have safe access to a safe abortion within a reasonable distance from their home. I don't care if they were raped or molested by their dad. Birth control fails and you don't wanna give birth? Abortion-time! I understand the heaviness of it, but I don't insist everyone feel that way, and I certainly reject the notion of horrendous guilt that accompanies the procedure.
I'm also of the opinion that a person getting an abortion owes exactly no one an explanation for why they are getting it. This happens outside abortion clinics all the time when I'm escorting. The patients are accosted by forced birthers screaming at them, "Don't murder your baby!" or pretending to "care" and "offering help" for their "babies," or to "adopt" them, and the people coming in feel compelled to explain to them why they are there. "I'm not pregnant!" or "I'm just here for birth control!"
In those cases I try to reassure them that they have every right to be there and they owe no one an explanation, least of all these forced-birth bullies trying to impose their uninformed, hateful will upon them.
But the worst — the absolute worst — is when the patient's face crumples up in pain or blazes with fury and says, "I'm here because I had a goddamned miscarriage, okay?"
And just like Lucy McBath, reliving and retelling her trauma in the hopes that these heartless, racist, woman-hating Republicans might give them the same access to abortion they'll give their own mistresses, it falls upon ears that don't hear, and changes nothing.