Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Lucy McBath

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on June 10, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images)

'After Which Failed Pregnancy Should I Have Been Imprisoned?' Asks Rep. Lucy McBath

The congresswoman highlighted how right-wing attacks on abortion rights could also impact the healthcare available to patients who experience miscarriages and stillbirths.

Jessica Corbett

Congresswoman Lucy McBath on Wednesday shared her own difficult experiences to point out how attacks on abortion rights by right-wing judges and legislators could impact what treatment doctors can provide to patients who, like her, endure miscarriage and stillbirth.

The Georgia Democrat's comments came during a U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing entitled "Revoking Your Rights: The Ongoing Crisis in Abortion Care Access," an event held as the country prepares for the Supreme Court to issue a final ruling expected to reverse Roe v. Wade.

"For two weeks, I carried a lost pregnancy and the torment that comes with it," McBath said. "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—and yet it's not so unique," McBath continued, noting how common pregnancy loss is. "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?" she asked. "Would you have put me in jail after the second miscarriage?"

"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 be able to raise a child?" she continued, explaining that her questions were relevant because "the same medicine used to treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine states like Texas would make illegal."

In the United States, miscarriage is usually defined as pregnancy loss before the 20th week while stillbirth is one that occurs after, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New Hampshire Public Radio reported last week that a "recent experience in Texas illustrates that medical care for miscarriages and dangerous ectopic pregnancies would also be threatened if restrictions become more widespread."

As the outlet detailed:

One Texas law passed last year lists several medications as abortion-inducing drugs and largely bars their use for abortion after the seventh week of pregnancy. But two of those drugs, misoprostol and mifepristone, are the only drugs recommended in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines for treating a patient after an early pregnancy loss.

The other miscarriage treatment is a procedure described as surgical uterine evacuation to remove the pregnancy tissue—the same approach as for an abortion.

"The challenge is that the treatment for an abortion and the treatment for a miscarriage are exactly the same," said Dr. Sarah Prager, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington in Seattle and an expert in early pregnancy loss.

Republican state lawmakers have ramped up their assault on reproductive freedom in recent years with laws designed to not only limit or ban abortion but also give the U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority an opportunity to overturn Roe, which affirmed the constitutional right in 1973.

Amid a wave of anti-choice laws like one in Texas that empowers vigilantes to sue anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion after six weeks—before many people know they are pregnant—a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked earlier this month signaling the looming end of Roe and a related 1992 ruling.

In response to that draft majority opinion, U.S. Senate Democrats tried again to pass the Women's Health Protection Action, which would codify Roe—but due to the filibuster, Republican lawmakers, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the measure never made it to a final vote.

"We have a choice," McBath said Wednesday. "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 by the nation of choice—the nation where every woman can make her own choice. Freedom is our right to choose."

Planned Parenthood Action welcomed McBath's move, tweeting that hers was "an intense, heartbreaking story... and one she shouldn't have to tell."

"Thank you for your voice, congresswoman," the group added.

Other women in Congress have also responded to the anticipated reversal of Roe by sharing their experiences with reproductive healthcare.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) spoke with Elle about her choice—as a low-income 19-year-old mother—to end her second pregnancy in the days before Roe, emphasizing that she wanted "to share my story, not as a congresswoman, but as a poor person who had to go to great lengths to do what I did."

U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) wrote for CNN's opinion section about also getting an abortion at 19, explaining that "it wasn't just my finances that drove my decision to end my pregnancy. In my heart, I knew one thing to be true: As a teenager barely out of childhood myself, I simply was not ready to take on the monumental responsibility of becoming a parent."

"I never intended to share the story of my abortion publicly," Newman tweeted last week. "But with the Supreme Court set to upend a half-century guaranteed right to an abortion in the United States, I felt it was necessary."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Ilhan Omar Says Plan to Fix Supreme Court Must Include Impeachment Probes

"We need an impeachment investigation into Clarence Thomas' role in the January 6th coup, as well as into Gorsuch, Alito, Barrett, and Kavanaugh's testimony on Roe during their confirmation hearings," said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson ·


Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo