What about my 14-year-old severely intellectually disabled student who was impregnated by one of the night staff at her residential program? What about my college friend who was brutally raped and was left with a traumatic brain injury and found out she was pregnant from that rape? What about the sister of one of my students who was pregnant at 13 by an uncle following years of sexual abuse? What about the 15-year-old who was kicked out of the house when the mom’s boyfriend impregnated her? What about the mom, joyful about a second child, who finds out there are severe fetal anomalies that will result in a short, painful life that will be spent entirely in the hospital? What about the family who finds out the wanted child will be born without a brain? What about the mom who finds out one of the twins she is carrying won’t survive to birth, but will cause the demise of the other twin because they share a placenta, unless they terminate the first twin in utero to save the second? What about the mom who skips an early ultrasound because she can’t afford it and suddenly is in a medical crisis because it is an ectopic pregnancy which will kill her, but her doctors might be afraid they will be convicted if they provide an abortion? What about the mom who is having a miscarriage (10-15 percent of all pregnancies) and needs a D&C or mifepristone to prevent deadly septicemia, but doctors are afraid it may be considered an abortion? What about the parents who have a child with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes severe physical and medical disability and self mutilation such as biting off lips, fingers, toes and other severe self-injurious behavior, and find out the second pregnancy would suffer the same fate? What about the couple who have three frozen embryos but already have two children? What about my friend who was joyfully pregnant and then found out she had cancer that required chemotherapy that would be more successful without a pregnancy? These are not hypothetical; these are all people I have known.

Here’s the real question — why is resolution of these tragedies any of your business? It is a private matter. Would you accept the government imposing restrictions on your health care that impact you for the rest of your life and maybe kill you? You don’t want the government telling you that you must wear a mask or get a vaccine, but you are willing to let the government tell women they must have a child. Makes no sense.

Debra McManus

2549 Charlie Thomas Road, Cornersville, TN 37047

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