I grew up in a staunch conservative household. As a family, we would protest abortion at the annual March for Life. I recall marching down the streets of Washington, DC as a young teen, chanting, “What do we want? Pro Life! When do we want it? Now!” along with my family and members of our church.
I was a pro-life advocate.
Until I had an abortion.
I was pregnant with a second child my husband and I hoped for. We were blindsided to discover at a doctor’s appointment that the pregnancy was non-viable. If you’ve been there, you know the gut-wrenching knot that forms in the pit of your stomach when the ultrasound technician suddenly becomes silent then finally says quietly, “The doctor will be in shortly.”
I miscarried for an entire month. A month of insomnia, severe guilt, depression, and anxiety. A month where every thought I had was centered around what was happening within my body. And what wasn’t happening.
Miscarrying naturally had failed. The medication-induced abortion had failed. My doctor recognized the beginning stages of an infection and told me that surgical intervention was imperative to complete the miscarriage, and that time was of the essence.
As the general anesthesia set in, my body relaxed for the first time in months. The mental and emotional anguish of the past month hit me all at once. The last thing I remember as I drifted off to sleep is that tears uncontrollably streamed down my face. Tears of grief. Tears of relief for the heart-wrenching ordeal to finally end.
Senator Gary Peters recently shared a personal story about his wife desperately needing a medically necessary pregnancy termination in the 1980s when abortion was banned. Due to politics her hospital’s policy denied the procedure and his wife’s health was rapidly declining. The story brought me to tears. If I did not have access to the care I needed, who knows what could have happened? What if the infection affected my fertility? My 2 subsequent children would not be here today. Or what if I became septic and it took my life? My husband and toddler would have lost me.
What this taught me is that what happens in a woman’s body is between her and her doctor. That. is. it. Without question, politics have no place in a woman’s body. My body, especially my reproductive health, is nobody else’s business. If abortions were banned, my doctor would not have had the power to make the decisions about my health.
I firmly believe that too many people are taught from the church, politicians, and the media that abortion is black and white. Either you’re for “killing unwanted babies” or against it (the message that I felt I received growing up). There is absolutely nothing black and white about this issue. It is a million shades of gray. Posing restrictions on abortion and restricting access to care hurts WOMEN. You simply CANNOT let politicians take that away from you. The lives of women depend on it.
Jenn Sigmon lives in San Diego with her husband and three children. When her children aren’t demanding 18,000 snacks a day, she loves to travel and explore. You can follow her adventures on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/sandiego_explorers/.