Dear Speaker Bolger, Committee Chair Gail Haines, Representative Irwin, and Other Michigan House of Representatives Members,
This letter is an open plea to our state legislature to cease consideration of MI House Bill 5711 and any additional attempts to restrict my rights to make decisions about my health and the welfare of my children – and the rights of my doctors to practice their profession according the oath they have sworn. This configuration of “codes” reads as a death sentence for my child Huxley, now six months old – and perhaps myself, leaving my older son Isaac without his mother.
On October 19, 2010, my husband and I were – we believed – 24 weeks along in our pregnancy. I started to spot blood, and we rushed to the hospital. There was some question as to my dates, because we were “measuring small”. The dating ultrasound put us at only 22 weeks. Our baby was not yet “viable”, and if we were to deliver at that point the doctors would not encourage us to try and save him. It was unlikely he would remain in my womb long enough to develop into a healthy individual, even with the most advanced interventions available in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). We were not encouraged to continue the pregnancy because of the risk to me and the unlikeliness of a healthy outcome for our child, but we chose to wait and see if we could save our baby. I remained on bedrest at the University of Michigan’s Mott Hospital.
On November 3, we couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat. He was pronounced dead. My doctors gave me a choice – to go home and wait for labor to set in naturally, or to trigger labor there in the hospital. Though they did not pressure me either way, it was clear they preferred I induce labor and deliver there, in the hospital, under medical supervision – as any “natural” labor I developed at that point would be from an additional round of infections which would likely render me infertile, potentially killing me (a result of toxic shock, the medical condition that your tampon package cautions you about that often triggers infertility and sometimes death).
We chose to deliver our darling baby Oscar that evening, under medical supervision. The labor was smooth and quick. We were able to hold him and name him and take pictures with him. Though he is not with us, loving him was such a miracle.
Under this set of proposed laws, that miracle I was able to participate in with my beautiful family would be illegal. I would have had to wait for infection to set in before any “intervention” would be taken to birth my baby. My womb would have been under the supervision of bacteria, not my doctor. This would likely have rendered me infertile – killing any hope of ever having my darling Huxley here with me today – and perhaps leaving my oldest son Isaac without a mother.
I don’t understand why this bill is even being proposed. Every part this package serves to infringe upon my civil rights, and the rights of my doctor to help me make the most appropriate medical choice for me and my family. Only one of four pregnancies ends in a healthy, live birth, which means that everyone in the House has likely been touched by infant loss or mortality. How can you possibly consider these arbitrary, expensive, and unwieldy regulations??? I’ll bet that if each of you were to tell that personal story of yours, right now, even to yourself, in the context of this discussion, that you would dismiss the very precept of this bill package. I urge you to dismiss every aspect of it, with prejudice against ever considering anything like it again. Don’t let the terroristic word “abortion” cloud your ability to think, analyze, and execute your own duties to govern responsibly and according to your own moral conscience.