By Anne Mellinger-BirdsongI have had two abortions, both when I was married. My decision to terminate for medical reasons was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. It is my personal story, my anguish, my grief. I am tired of politicians using my private tragedy as a motivation to get out the vote and get re-elected. I am tired of my grief being used to “rally the troops,” with proposed bans on choices like mine being used as a reward. I am tired of people using my babies’ deaths callously, impersonally, for their gain. My babies were loved and wanted. They had names. They are not fodder for campaigns. They are not fodder for asking for donations. I am tired of politicians using bad data or misrepresenting facts to promote an idea, when the real goal is to eliminate my ability to make the best decision for me and my family. I am tired of politicians thinking they know my medical history and status so well, they can decide what is in my best interest without ever having seen me. I am tired of politicians practicing medicine without a license. I am tired of politicians mandating tests for no reason, and not allowing the government to pay for them. I am tired of politicians thinking our doctors will mislead or dupe us, and dictating what they have to say and waiting periods they must comply with. I am tired of politicians pretending to care so much for “unborn babies,” and then voting to cut Medicaid for children, and medical programs for children and adults with special needs. I am tired of politicians acting so self-assured that they pretend that outlawing abortions will keep them from happening, whereas in reality it will make abortions dangerous, unsterile, unsafe, and potentially life-threatening. I am tired of politicians pretending that banning abortions is the best way to prevent something they don’t like, instead of looking at scientific data that supports comprehensive education and widely available inexpensive birth control. I am tired of politicians talking as if all women who have abortions are young, single, and not fitting their ideal of a virtuous woman. Many of us are married. Many are too poor to afford birth control. And even the “young and carefree” women are intelligent enough to make their own life decisions. I am tired of politicians trying to use the force of government to make every person live by the precepts of their religion. I am tired of them disregarding people within one religion who have diverse interpretations of the Bible, people with diverse religions, or people with no religion at all. I call B.S. on them. They are being false and duplicitous. They are pretending to care about babies, when they don’t. They are pretending to care about babies with disabilities, when they cut funding for programs to help them. They are pretending to want to prevent abortions, when they prohibit the very thing that will help reduce the need for them. They are pretending to care about women’s health and safety, while at the same time promoting ideas and laws that will lead to deaths, infections, sterility, and untold agony. They are pretending to care about women, when they are really trying to control us, shame us, and punish us for not following the politicians’ religious precepts. We women who have had abortions, are intelligent capable human beings. Whether we are young or not, poor or not, married or not, we are all able to make independent, thoughtful decisions. Trust women. Anne Mellinger-Birdsong is a pediatrician and epidemiologist who lives in Atlanta. She has worked at city, county, state, and federal health agencies. She has worked in areas as diverse as communicable diseases, vaccine preventable diseases, radiation environmental health, chronic disease and environmental public health, asthma, a county STD clinic, and a Native American Indian Health Service clinic.
Reprinted With Permission From Anne Mellinger-Birdsong originally posted by RH Reality Check I Am Tired of Politicians Using My Grief for Their Gain