Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) shared her personal story about reproductive rights in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on abortion care access in America. This hearing was part of the ongoing response to the circulation of a draft Supreme Court opinion which would overturn Roe v. Wade. A video of McBath and her remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
It is hard to describe the agony of a miscarriage. It is heartbreak, helplessness, pain, and profound sadness.— Rep. Lucy McBath (@RepLucyMcBath) May 18, 2022
Millions of women suffer from them, and I have heard from many who felt guilty, as I did. Felt as though they aren’t worthy of having a child. pic.twitter.com/iHp8cZuXZB
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Like so many women in America, for years, I struggled to get pregnant. We tried everything we could to start a family of our own.
Finally, we succeeded.
I had never been so happy. I had prayed for this moment for years; I wanted to tell everyone, to shout it from the mountain tops.
For weeks, I began to dream about our life and our future together. And then, one day, I woke up covered in blood.
It is hard to describe the agony of a miscarriage. It is heartbreak, helplessness, pain and profound sadness.
Millions of women suffer from them, and I have heard from many who felt guilty, as I did. Who felt as though they aren’t worthy of having a child.
Those same feelings crept through my mind, and every time I have these difficult discussions with other women, I remind them that they are strong and powerful beyond measure. That their worth is more than their ability to procreate.
However, it seems those in support of this ruling disagree.
After my second miscarriage, I wondered, in my grief, 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 God had a plan for me.
But, at four months, feeling terror and trauma in my heart, I was rushed to the emergency room. There, with my doctor, I learned I had suffered a fetal demise.
I was filled with anguish and sorrow and guilt. I had tried so hard, and still, I felt I had failed.
My doctors thought it would be safer to end the pregnancy naturally, without the medicines so commonly used.
So, for two weeks, I carried my dead fetus and waited for labor.
For two weeks, people passed me on the street, telling me how beautiful I looked, asking how far along I was, and saying they were so excited for my future.
For two weeks, I carried a lost pregnancy and the torment that comes with it.
I never went into labor on my own.
When the doctors finally induced, I faced the pain of labor without hope for a living child.
This is my story. It is uniquely mine—and yet it is not unique.
Millions of women in America—women in this room, women at your homes, and women 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?
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 so many women feel, after losing a pregnancy.
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 raise a child.
And I ask because the same medicine used to treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine 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 a miscarriage at 3 months will be forced to carry her dead fetus to term.
So, for the women in your life whose stories you do not know. For the women across the country whose lives you may not understand. And for the women in America who have gone through things you cannot comprehend, I say this:
Women’s rights are human rights, reproductive health care is health care, and medical decisions should be made by women and those 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 liberty.
Or, we can be the nation of choice. The nation where every woman has theirs.
Freedom is our right to choose.”