Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) on Wednesday gave an emotional speech about her struggles to get pregnant and the miscarriages she suffered during a four-year effort.
Speaking in the congressional hearing on women's rights, McBath explained that she and her husband tried to start a family on their own and were successful. They were overjoyed until one morning she woke up covered in blood.
"It's hard to describe the agony of a miscarriage," she said. "It's heartbreak, it's helplessness, it's pain, and it's profound sadness. Millions of women suffer from them and I've heard from many who felt guilty like I did and who felt as though they weren't wealthy enough to have a child."
She said that she tells women that they are strong and powerful beyond measure and that they are worth more than simply serving as a vessel of procreation.
"However, it seems those in support of this ruling disagree," McBath continued. "After my second miscarriage, I wondered in my grief, again, if God had decided I was never meant to be a mother. So, when I finally got pregnant again, I was overjoyed. It was as if — I believed— that God was giving me and my husband, finally he had a plan for us to be parents. But after four months, with a feeling of terror and trauma in my heart, I was rushed to the emergency room. There was my doctor and my husband. I learned that I had suffered a fetal demise, or a stillbirth. There, again, I was filled with anguish and guilt, and I tried so hard, and still, I felt like I failed trying to be a mother."
She said that her doctor believed it would be safer for her to end the pregnancy naturally without the medicines that are typically used. She carried the dead fetus for two weeks, waiting to go into labor.
"For two weeks, people passed me on the street, telling me how beautiful I looked, asking how far along I was, and saying that they were so excited for me and my future with my child," she remembered. "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."
Yet, she noted, it isn't unique, it happens to millions of women.
"So, I ask, on behalf of these women, after which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned? Would it just 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 on the guilt I felt, the guilt that so many women feel after losing their pregnancies. Or would you have put me behind bars after my stillbirth?"
She noted that in Texas she would be in jail for her failed pregnancies. In Alabama, if they make abortion "murder" it could make her miscarriage manslaughter. After Texas passed its anti-abortion law a woman who didn't know she was pregnant had a miscarriage and was arrested and taken to jail. Those who turned her in called it a self-induced abortion. It was only after a huge public outcry that the district attorney said she wouldn't be charged.
"I asked because I want to know if the next woman who has a miscarriage at three months, if she will be forced to carry her dead fetus to term," McBath asked. "So, for the women in your life, whose stories you do not know, for the women across the countries whose lives you may not understand, and for the women in America who have gone through things you simply cannot comprehend, I say to you this: women's rights are human rights. Reproductive health care's health care. And medical decisions should be made by women and those that they trust, not politicians and officials. We have a choice. We can be the nation that rolls back the clock, that rolls back the rights of women and that strips them of their very liberty, or we can be the nation of choice, the nation where every woman can make her own choice. Freedom is our right to choose."
See the video below or at this link.
Lucy McBath gets emotional talking about her past experiences with failed pregnancy. www.youtube.com