January 10, 2017
Stuart, FL 34997
January 10, 2017
Mr. Joe Gruters
381 Interstate Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34240-8686
Mr. Greg Steube
722 Apex Road
Sarasota, FL 34240
Dear Mr. Gruters and Mr. Steube:
I am writing regarding the proposed bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. I oppose such a bill as an infringement of the basic and reproductive rights of all women, and because it especially targets women in devastating, dangerous medical situations.
I have been informed by your office that the bill pertains to “elective” abortions only, “not situations where there are complications.” I would first like to inform and assure you, that there is rarely such thing as an “elective” abortion after 20 weeks; in reality there is the excruciating medical decision that an already shattered woman must face when she finds out her desperately wanted and loved baby has no chance of survival: Do I carry my baby to term, where he will know only suffering in the short moments until his inevitable death, or do I take that pain for him now by letting him go under the emotionally devastating, but skilled and humane medical expertise of my doctor? I dare you to look into the eyes of any one of these women and tell them they “elected” this, and that you are proposing this bill because your concern for her baby’s life outweighs hers.
The decision to terminate was the reality of two personal friends, and many women in secret support groups, where, in fact, the more accurate term, Termination For Medical Reasons (TFMR), replaces the hurtful, inflammatory word abortion. Why so secret? To avoid the abusive ridicule and trolling of people who shamelessly call themselves pro-life and don’t for one second understand the medical situations and trauma these women experience.
One of my friends was having a baby boy named Aidan, and she will mourn him for the rest of her life. But she had access to good local care here in Florida, and it was one small grace in her suffering. The other friend was having a baby girl, but she hadn’t yet chosen a name. Maybe it would be Sophia? Maybe Claire or Kaitlyn or Emma? She lives in a state where she had to wrestle with that, an ordinarily fun and exciting part of pregnancy, at the same time she had to fly out of state, away from her family and support system, to obtain the medical care she and her baby required. No grace whatsoever in her time of greatest pain and need.
Mr. Gruters and Mr. Steube, please withdraw your proposal to make Florida that cruel place.
Do you know or have you spoken with any women like my friends? Or is it not really them you’re thinking of, but rather, the larger percentage of women who have abortions before 20 weeks? Women like me, who are carriers for complex genetic factors that are often incompatible with life? Women who aren’t genetic disorder carriers at all, but draw the unlucky one in four chance of a random chromosomal abnormality? Women who have myriad, complicated other reasons for seeking to end a pregnancy within her own body?
These are scenarios for another day, for what will no doubt be another bill. Today, I urge you to consider the currently proposed 20 week bill. I urge you to consider that 99% of abortions occur before 20 weeks, and to understand that the other 1% are not elective, but medically necessary. I urge you to consider the overwhelming opposition of physicians to banning these medically necessary procedures, and become forced to weigh their desire and oath to offer the best care to their patients and the potential legal ramifications of doing so. I urge you to consider that insurance companies will vigorously use the term “elective” to attempt denial of coverage of medically necessary terminations (which was, in fact, the case with my Florida friend until she appealed and won).
I urge you to consider the polls that show when voters understand the actual circumstances surrounding 20 week abortions, they overwhelmingly oppose banning them, including 61% of Republican voters (78% of Democrats and 71% of Independents). I urge you to consider that I will stand with the 321 million Americans who support reproductive rights, to fight this bill by making sure that voters do hear the actual circumstances, and the actual stories of women and families who have been faced with this medical and life crisis.
I urge you to realize that being pro-choice does not make one anti-life, that no one is more pro-their-baby’s-life than a mother, and that your proposed bill does NOT, as you claim, protect life at all levels, but on the contrary, subjects babies, mothers, and fathers, who are already suffering an unbearable loss, to increased risk, pain, and indignity.
Mr. Gruters and Mr. Steube, please honorably represent the majority of your constituents by withdrawing your proposal of this abortion bill.