Brie Loskota published a personal OpEd on her first pregnancy with USA Today. The views expressed in the OpEd are her own:
My first pregnancy happened easily as my husband was finishing his first year of law school. It didn’t take long for the complications to begin.
Bleeding in my first trimester was treated with hormones, and the pregnancy was stabilized. I got a deep tooth infection and that was difficult to treat. I was afraid to take pain medicine even though the pain was excruciating. Eventually, I had a root canal and a cap on my molar. I was worried about what the stress, infection and treatment had done to my fragile pregnancy. A friend tried to console me, saying she had no doubt I would become a mother, even if this time I was off to a troubled start.
But another problem had been discovered — a grapefruit-sized fibroid in my uterus that could threaten both my health and my pregnancy. It was something we would have to watch, the doctor told me. Because of the fibroid, a C-section would be my only safe option for delivery, should I be fortunate enough to carry the pregnancy to term.
My own pregnancy story came to mind when I read that the Senate would vote on a bill to ban almost all abortions after 20 weeks. Not only would the bill have had little impact on abortions in the U.S., it failed Monday to win the 60-vote supermajority necessary to proceed. Women’s lives were put up for a vote as a political maneuver, to get senators on the record in an election year for their support of a medical procedure that makes many Americans deeply uncomfortable.
Late-term abortion is an ongoing political football used to rouse the anger and ire of a deeply divided nation. But for me, it is not a moral abstraction. It is a reality I grappled with a decade ago with my first pregnancy. Our mostly male Congress will never put their lives at risk with complications from a pregnancy, yet they view themselves as protecting life by interfering in and potentially risking the lives of women like me.
Brie Loskota is the executive director of the USC Center for Religion and Civil Culture.