Ignaczak: I’m actively trying to get pregnant. Overturning Roe v. Wade terrifies me | Other Opinions

After 12 years together, my husband and I recently made the decision to try to have a baby. We are finally in a place where we feel emotionally and financially ready to take this next step. We have worked through our childhood traumas, agreed on our family vision, and we have done an intense amount of work on the health of our relationship.

While I am a graduate student who also works full time, we have discussed what it would look like for me to reduce my course load to adjust to pregnancy and parenting. My incredible husband has made it clear that he is willing to take on more (most) of the household duties in order to support my professional and academic goals. We are in a place where we not only feel ready, we want to take this step together.

Each month that my period arrives, I’m devastated. I feel like a failure, as if my body is neglecting the one thing it was designed to do. But this devastation is nothing like the despair I experienced when I saw the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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Our decision to have a child is just that: our decision. We are choosing to take this step, together, as a couple, despite the abysmal support for working parents in the United States. It is a choice, and should not be forced on anyone.

Even before this leaked draft, I regularly considered what a ban would mean for me. If I do become pregnant and that pregnancy is not viable, or the child is not expected to live long outside the womb, what then? Isn’t it more humane, and more aligned to my Christian values, to end that pregnancy? To make the gut-wrenching decision to abort rather than deliver the child only to experience pain and death?

I’m aware that the infertility my mom dealt with puts me at a higher likelihood of struggling to conceive. I know it took four years for my parents to have me, and another four years to have my sister. My husband and I have discussed what this might mean for us, and adoption is something we have seriously considered.

In 2021, Justice Amy Coney Barrett suggested that a mother’s option to give a baby up for adoption at birth meant that abortion was not necessary. Theoretically, banning abortion would increase the number of adopted children, as women wouldn’t have the right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy. Given the fact that we have considered adoption, this may increase my likelihood of becoming a mother if I’m unable to conceive a biological child.

This is not a reality I’m OK with. The thought of becoming a mother at the expense of another woman’s rights disgusts me.

The decision to give up a child is traumatic. Why would I want the mother of my child to experience the added trauma of being forced to deliver this child in the first place? I was raised Christian and I cannot accept this harm upon others.

My mother and I don’t always agree on politics, and discussions about abortion rights never end in complete consensus. My mom considers herself anti-abortion. As a mother who tried for years to have children, she can’t imagine choosing an abortion. At the same time, she believes that being “pro-life” extends beyond the womb and she supports the politicians and policies that support children and families, even if it means they also support abortion access.

Though she was raised in a Republican household, she voted straight blue for the first time in her life in 2020 because her values go beyond a single issue. I’ve never been prouder to be her daughter than in that moment because I saw her truly embody her values and her religion. My dad votes the same. I wish others would follow their lead.

Unfortunately, all I see from anti-abortion advocates is hypocrisy. I do not understand how people that I know care deeply about others can simultaneously espouse a “pro-life” stance that doesn’t support the lives of women, low-income communities, minority communities. While I believe that a woman has a fundamental right to choose, I could empathize with an anti-abortion platform that simultaneously supported programs that nurture life beyond the womb to adulthood. The fact that the Republican platform does not take this stance, and that abortion opponents refuse to vote on anything but a single issue, reinforces that this is posturing, a desire to maintain control rather than wholeheartedly embodying supposed values.

I’m not here for a religious debate about saving children, or a debate about whether the Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose. I’m here for human decency and rationality. While opponents of choice maintain their extreme hypocrisy, expect to see me in my “Abortion is healthcare” sweatshirt for many years to come. I do not care if my rights make those people uncomfortable.

Alyssa Picek Ignaczak is a St. Louis University graduate student.