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We work to improve reproductive health policy in South Carolina.

Lawmakers -- re-read your job description!

Posted by Ryan Morgan on May 28, 2014 at 2:31 PM

I recently read a Rolling Stone article about the worst attacks on women’s reproductive health in 2014. Then my brain exploded.

Louisiana lawmakers are trying to override a family’s wishes to keep a pregnant woman on life support while Kansas lawmakers want to outlaw surrogacy.I hear the same lawmakers talk about a right to life, but heaven forbid science allow a wonderful yet infertile couple to pay someone to help the process.

What is happening?

I am usually the most optimistic and upbeat person you will ever meet. However I am writing this on the verge of tears. I apologize for the solemn tone, but I cannot keep from telling my story any longer. I would not be alive if it were not for an abortion.

It was the late 1940s, and my grandfather was an officer in the army. He and my grandmother already had 2 children, and she was pregnant with a third. My grandfather was being transferred to a base in Alaska, which was not yet a state. Back then, the army would not allow his pregnant wife to go with him. So, early in her first trimester, she had an abortion and moved her two children from Virginia to Alaska. Within a few months, she became pregnant with my mother. Had she not had the abortion, she would have still been pregnant and unable to conceive my mother.

This is the essence of family planning.

My grandmother looked at what was best for her whole family, made a decision, and choose to keep the family together. Ultimately, these decisions and choices led to a very happy family, full of children and grandchild that flourished. Family planning helped create a happy, healthy family, which is what we all aspire to. My mother and I refer to my feisty grandmother as “The Original Women’s Libber.”

However, if you think about it, she was more like the “Great American Every-Woman.” She did what she had to do to keep her family together. She did what she had to do to support my grandfather while he served his country (a decade earlier, he had been tortured by the Nazis and still had the scars from cigarette burns).

You can judge my grandmother, but I respect and admire her. Lawmakers need to re-read their job description. They are spending time and tax dollars trying to restrict families instead of empower them. This country was founded on the belief of each individual’s ability to do good when given the freedom to do so. My grandparents lived that credo better than anyone I know.

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