We live in a world where men, who have never and will never experience pregnancy or childbirth, make laws about women's reproduction, which in and of itself is a headscratcher. When we're talking about anti-abortion legislation, which effectively forces women to go through pregnancy and childbirth whether it's healthy for them or not, it seems like the people who actually experience those things should have a more heavily weighted say in such legislation.
Of course, women have varied opinions on the matter. (The most recent Gallup poll found that 53% of women in the U.S. identify as "pro-choice" and 43% identify as "pro-life.") But interestingly, a Twitter thread is showing how actual experience can either shift or concretes a person's views.
Writer Jennifer Wright wrote, "Raise your hand if pregnancy and childbirth only made you *more* pro-choice," and the responses came flooding in.
Raise your hand if pregnancy and childbirth only made you *more* pro-choice.— Jennifer Wright (@Jennifer Wright)1630511326.0
Scores of women responded in the affirmative, saying that going through pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing has either made them change their stance from anti-choice to pro-choice or solidified their pro-choice beliefs.
For some, it was getting a first-hand taste of the potential dangers pregnancy poses.
@S_Lynne_13 @JenAshleyWright Pre-eclampsia here too. Needed emergency csection to save me and my baby. I was 34 wee… https://t.co/61DPCdUw49— Rose (@Rose)1630518513.0
For others, their experiences with adoption solidified their pro-choice stance.
@KareBearScare @JenAshleyWright I am also adopted. Like your mother, I also could have aborted. I wholeheartedly su… https://t.co/yuNI8g8nCx— Lorelee Campbell (@Lorelee Campbell)1630526233.0
@shmessica @JenAshleyWright Absolutely, as did my experience as a foster mom.— Gorilla Librarian (@Gorilla Librarian)1630521500.0
Some shared that losing a baby or nearly losing a baby helped them realize the complexities of choices surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.
Many women shared that going through pregnancy and childbirth made them realize that forcing someone who doesn't want to be pregnant or birth a child to do so is cruel.
@JenAshleyWright After my two pregnancies there is no way I would force a person to go through the same thing who w… https://t.co/8hY0OTVOFC— Kyra Ison (@Kyra Ison)1630520568.0
@kimtfiu @JenAshleyWright Yep. My mom had a real hard time with me and was a nurse in the babies ward for a bit - t… https://t.co/dAoIQUUPlZ— House of Moderna ⚖️♿️💛🐝 (@House of Moderna ⚖️♿️💛🐝)1630525941.0
@JenAshleyWright Yep. 45 hour labor with first, 2 weeks overdue with second. These children were planned, wanted, s… https://t.co/s6WqB6UQMH— Nora Katzenberger (@Nora Katzenberger)1630524945.0
Even those who enjoyed being pregnant or who had loads of support shared that the experience pushed them toward choice.
@JenAshleyWright Single mom over here - pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing - all of it is expensive, stressful, a… https://t.co/SKHKuS4jf9— Shawn Tylka (@Shawn Tylka)1630527911.0
@JenAshleyWright I have a husband, health insurance, a home and access to solid medical care and it was still the m… https://t.co/EHrOPNIuOJ— jdubs (@jdubs)1630513457.0
Experience can be eye-opening.
@JenAshleyWright Had an abortion at 16 then had to fight with my doctor to let me keep my third child when I was 36… https://t.co/Zuu841VmUY— Lisen Stromberg (@Lisen Stromberg)1630531464.0
Even experiences that someone might guess would lead to different views.
@JenAshleyWright My miscarriages made me more pro choice . I know that sounds backwards and please don’t come at me… https://t.co/ZGHTltYfqy— jpm2375 (@jpm2375)1630526951.0
@JenAshleyWright Hell, my first baby dying made me more pro-choice.— Megan the Klutz (@Megan the Klutz)1630521295.0
A few men even weighed in, saying that their experience just witnessing their wives' pregnancy and childbirth difficulties made them see that no one should be forced through it against their will.
@JenAshleyWright Watching my wife spend 7 days in the hospital giving birth to our daughter made me hate 2 things m… https://t.co/nZz355IjID— Inhumanoid (@Inhumanoid)1630517563.0
@JenAshleyWright Absolutely. I watched my wife give birth (I about passed out multiple times) and could never again… https://t.co/5vKrPEcaaV— Eric VanEpps (@Eric VanEpps)1630515016.0
So many stories, so many reasons to believe in giving women autonomy over their own medical decisions.
@JenAshleyWright *losing a pregnancy at 36 weeks* made me more pro-choice than ever before.— Kim Wexler’s power pony (@Kim Wexler’s power pony)1630512437.0
@JenAshleyWright Yes. Had a still born at 27 weeks. Only specialists who could do the procedure were abortionists.… https://t.co/Q6o7Fnofwe— blackademthick (@blackademthick)1630517511.0
@JenAshleyWright Never assumed I'd have to have a medically necessary abortion at 35, but if I weren't pro-choice t… https://t.co/8CHbNdcU0o— Kaitlin S (@Kaitlin S)1630519515.0
@JenAshleyWright I had an easy birth. Less than 6 hours unmedicated birth with no complications for a first time mo… https://t.co/cc2tVebT7h— Tonya (@Tonya)1630529686.0
Both pregnancies very much wanted, officially normal and no serious complications... but neither was ‘easy’ and the… https://t.co/rszYByLYya— Jenni Adam (@Jenni Adam)1630531479.0
Scrolling through the hundreds of comments in the thread, the consensus was clear.
Pregnancy and childbirth are difficult and dangerous, with lifelong consequences, even when you want a child. Adoption is not the panacea people make it out to be. Struggling through infertility and multiple miscarriages can make women more understanding of how complicated reproductive choices are. And the idea of the government forcing a woman to stay pregnant and deliver a baby no matter the circumstances feels wrong when you know exactly what that can mean for her.
Let's leave personal medical choices that don't affect others to patients and their providers, period.
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