Content warning: Pregnancy complications, suicidal ideation.
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January 22 marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade – an anniversary that we’ll never see. For 49 years, Roe protected our reproductive freedom, but on June 24th, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it. Since then, an extreme abortion ban from 1849 went into effect in Wisconsin.
We asked Wisconsinites to anonymously share their stories from when abortion was widely accessible in Wisconsin. Several said they were able to protect their life and health because they could access abortion.
Story #1: One Day
"In March 2019, we found out we were expecting. We were so excited. All appointments went well until the 20-week anatomy scan.
An ultrasound confirmed that the baby had severe, unsurvivable fetal anomalies. We were absolutely devastated.
Our options included terminating the pregnancy or continuing the pregnancy knowing that he had 0% chance of survival.
Because abortion is political – and, essentially, our decision was regulated – we had one day to make the hardest decision of our lives. One day. Like in many states, in Wisconsin I couldn’t receive an abortion after 22 weeks.
On top of the incredible stress of making a life-altering decision in one day, we were also informed about the cost. The procedure could be done at the hospital for around $15,000 or at Planned Parenthood at a more affordable cost. The closest Planned Parenthood was about 3.5 hours away. Their next available appointment was not until weeks later, too late to legally terminate the pregnancy.
We had to make a life-altering decision, scrounge up an immense amount of money, and grieve our baby all in one day."
Story #2: Mental Health Care
"I got pregnant back in the 1990s, before the days of Google. I was desperate. I tried to find ways to terminate the pregnancy on my own, but I didn't have anyone to go to about this, and didn't have a clue how to do it. I thought about suicide, but I had too much I wanted to do with my life.
It took all the strength I had to go to Planned Parenthood and get the abortion. Luckily there was one about 30 minutes from me. I was verbally assaulted by protesters on my way in the building.
To the Supreme Court: You don't understand the ramifications of your actions. The suffering, suicide, and death you are causing are unforgivable."
Story #3: No Regrets
"I have no regrets about my decision. It was the right decision. I just felt relieved that I was able to get a safe and legal abortion."
Abortion is healthcare
The fight for reproductive freedom is not only a fight for choice, but also a fight for our lives. In the months following the Dobbs decision, confusion surrounding the legality of reproductive health care has put Wisconsinites at risk.
Pregnant people in Wisconsin have been denied medical care – like one woman who could not access a necessary procedure unless she went out of state or started dying. The consequences of the abortion ban will likely be racially disproportionate, especially since there is already a maternal mortality crisis for Black women in Wisconsin.
By criminalizing life-saving health care, circumstances like ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and other complications become life-threatening.
State supreme courts can help
With Roe v. Wade overturned, the Wisconsin Supreme Court can be a powerful way of protecting reproductive rights at the state level.
The justice that wins the upcoming spring election will serve for the next ten years. Go to MyVote.WI.gov and make a plan to be a voter in the primary election on February 21, and then in the general election on April 4, 2023.