If ever there was a more urgent reason to get registered and get ready to vote — your access to a legal abortion is on the line as the President gets ready to appoint a new Supreme Court justice.
Thirty-one year old Savita Halappanavar was thrilled to be 17 weeks pregnant with her first baby, when she developed a pain in her back so severe that she ended up in the hospital emergency room with her husband, Praveen, 32. After an examination, the young dentist was sent home, only to return in agony a few hours later, with symptoms of a potential miscarriage. Over the next seven days as Savita grew sicker and sicker with a sepsis infection, she and her gravely concerned husband begged for her to be given a lifesaving abortion. But despite their pleas, she was denied the procedure and by the time she did miscarry, her sepsis was raging, so out of control, that she died.
That’s right — a 31-year-old formerly healthy young woman with everything to look forward to in life, died because she was forbidden an abortion when her doctors mistakenly believed there was no risk to her life and “there was still a fetal heartbeat.” Savita’s death illustrates the extreme risk that women, including you, could be placed at, if Donald Trump‘s Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision which made abortion legal across America. It demonstrates that when doctors, nurses and hospitals fear prosecution for breaking the law, they will sometimes choose to allow an endangered woman to die. Is that what you and the rest of America are ready for?
In 2018, it seems that the country has forgotten the toll that illegal abortions took on the women of this country before the procedure became legal. In 1965, illegal abortion deaths accounted for 17 percent of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth and in 1962, 1,600 women at just one New York City hospital were admitted, suffering from incomplete abortions or infections or injuries related to illegal abortions. Is that what we want to bring back?
Savita tragically died in 2012, in Ireland, where abortion was illegal under almost every circumstance, except if a woman’s life was in danger. But as Savita and her husband discovered too late, doctors can’t always tell for absolute certainty when that is. And if her medical providers had gone ahead and given her an abortion, they could have faced life imprisonment! But listen to what happened in the aftermath of Savita losing her battle to live. The horror over this young woman’s needless death propelled Ireland to vote in a landslide election on May 26, 2018 to make abortion legal in the country.
Now, here in America, we could very well be on the cusp of doing the opposite -of reversing our legal access to abortion, thanks to the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, giving Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint a second judge to the Supreme Court. When he campaigned for president Trump, promised to appoint Supreme Court judges who would reverse legal abortion. “It will happen, automatically,” he said. “I am pro life” ( for unborn fetuses that is, not the lives of the mothers).He even at one point threatened, “There has to be some form of punishment,” for women who get abortions.
Are you ready to be punished? Are you ready to give up your right to make your own decision about whether or not you should have an abortion?
Nearly one in four (23.7 percent) American women will have an abortion by the age of 45, according to recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute. That means it’s a very common medical procedure today. No doubt, you may have had one or will in your lifetime (if abortion remains legal) or you know someone who has needed one — a friend, a relative or a work acquaintance. Are you willing to give up your choice or the choice that thousands of other American women have made? Are you ready to have Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and several Supreme Court justices tell you that you must bear a baby?
There are already four deeply conservative judges on the Supreme Court bench. Trump’s new pick would make that five — enough to overturn Roe v. Wade. There are several Republican states itching to bring a case making abortion illegal to the highest court in the land. And even if an exception is still allowed to save the life of the mother; as Savita’s dire situation revealed, that’s not always easy to ascertain.
Loss of access to legal abortion will rob you of your choice,and it could also take your life. Are you ready to be a Savita?If you aren’t, then make sure you register to vote and then vote in this year’s midterm elections on Nov. 6. Only if you have elected officials at your local and state level and in Congress who support maintaining “choice,” can you fight against legislation that severely restricts abortion or makes it illegal. You can register to vote right here to make that happen, in our Rock the Vote module.
Go ahead, do it- register and get ready to have your vote count!