We were excited to have a baby. A doctor’s visit changed everything.


Being pregnant is the biggest news that you can’t tell anyone.

A little more than four months ago, my husband and I were relishing our early pregnancy and imagining a scary and wonderful new future as parents. Pregnancy brings a list of what-ifs that are terrifying even when everything goes “according to plan.” But what happens when everything doesn’t go perfectly? What if the pregnancy risks that are a 2% or 5% possibility become your reality? What if in the flash of a doctor’s glance, you know that the scary and wonderful prospect of parenthood is turning to scary and devastating?

Those what-ifs happened to us. Our doctor flashed us that glance and explained our situation. And, two days later on the very same day the United States Supreme Court ended the reproductive health protections promised under Roe v. Wade, a second doctor, with sadness and compassion, told us the horrible news that our pregnancy — unplanned and unexpected, but entirely welcome — was indeed part of the tragic tiny percent where things go wrong. The reality of choosing to have an abortion came into focus.

Learning from our doctor that an abortion was an option for us to consider on the same morning Roe was overturned was an almost unthinkable and ironic twist of fate. The dark cloud that rolled over the country rolled right into the doctor’s office with us. We grappled with two interwoven truths: that the Supreme Court had taken away a fundamental freedom for women, and that an ill-fated pregnancy had taken away our dreams of parenthood. The combined reality was a crushing blow.

My dreams and hopes of seeing my incredible husband become an incredible dad, gone. Watching my mom teach my kiddo the same lessons she taught me, vanished. I felt for myself and for the women across the nation hearing the same news on the same day — but not in a state with the same protections for next steps.

Because we live in a state that protects our choice of personal medical decisions, my husband and I were able to make a difficult decision with the help of our doctors that was rooted in our love for one another.

We considered our circumstances and planned to have an abortion, but even with our advantage to access our chosen path, we realized the process would be delayed and involved.

Our doctor scribbled a phone number on a scrap piece of paper and said, “Here, call this number.” Their earliest appointment was a month away. We didn’t even get to how much it would cost before we hung up.

The Supreme Court’s decision, announced just hours earlier, had already flooded Colorado clinics as others seeking abortions from states with forced-pregnancy laws sought out Colorado’s safe haven.

Our insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure, ruling out many hospitals that help with family planning. But we made more calls and got an appointment on a Friday two weeks later, a delay that could cause medical complications for me.

Would we even be able to get an abortion in the state protected by the law I voted for as a state Senator, and where I’ve spent my career fighting for women’s rights?

That Friday, I was not the only person to get an abortion. Every woman and couple in the clinic had a story and a reason for being there which was unique to them and unknowable to us. They made the choice that was right for them, and while the politicians may demand justification and the reason why, they have no right to ask for it.

I do not know the names of the people waiting quietly in the clinic with us, but I do know that one had her flight home canceled and was struggling to find and afford a place to stay as she also struggled to recover. Another woman leaned on her partner to stand and walk from the room — they embraced and tenderly kissed as they left. Another was waiting for an interpreter to translate her next steps. Another asked the nurses for help ordering food as she was in Colorado alone and unsupported.

That Friday, all the license plates in the parking lot but ours were from other states. That Friday, all the protesters that booed and heckled my husband with hateful conviction as he went to get us coffee had left by the heat of the afternoon — I guess they got uncomfortable and wanted some air conditioning.

The loss of being a parent was tragic but this experience would have been compounded and made exponentially worse if my husband and I weren’t empowered by Colorado law to make the decision best for us. Every person who decides to have an abortion has their own complicated reason that was likely arduously reached.

To any lawmaker who carries a law to restrict a family’s access to abortion, give me a call and convince me why what you did was in service to your constituents. Explain to me why you think you belonged in the room when the doctor told my husband and me that our dream was likely over. Come tell me why you think the government needed to be in the chair next to the doctor as my husband held my hand and I sobbed while the specialist moved the ultrasound to confirm the worst news expectant parents can hear.

Our hyper-politicization of abortion has had poignant and tragic consequences. We’ve stigmatized a safe procedure that saves women’s lives and isolated it from healthcare. This is a political construct, not a medical reality. Abortion is subject to a level of hyperbole, rumor, and mischarecterization that only political litmus tests inspire.

Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Colorado’s own Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett lied to Senators when they called Roe settled law. They repealed the freedom for women and families to make a personal decision in favor of forcing us all to live their extreme ideology, our lives be damned. They introduced the long arm of government into the most private of decisions. The Supreme Court turned our country into a land hostile to women and embraced the hypocrisy of a party fighting for a fetus without a developed heart but not raising a hand to protect a kindergartener from being gunned down and killed in their classroom.

In a nation that sings with pride about the personal freedoms it protects, this personal choice should  be protected broadly, not just in a patchwork of states. This medical procedure should be available nationwide, and not stigmatized. It is health care.


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