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Jul 5, 2022·edited Jul 5, 2022Liked by Nicholas Kristof

Here’s a little personal story. I tested positive for pregnancy after my second round of IVF, so needless to say, a WANTED pregnancy. However, I was very realistic about the odds of things going wrong or right at various points in the pregnancy. A few weeks after a vaginal ultrasound revealed two heartbeats, I was talking about the process with some coworkers and one of them said, “congratulations! You’re going to have twins!” Whoooah, Nelly, I said, or something to that effect. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! I started telling her the odds of various outcomes given my personal situation — she seemed so sad! She seemed to want to reassure me that SHE was sure “nothing would go wrong.” But that’s not what the numbers said. So I entered into my pregnancy very gingerly, trying not to get my hopes up, keeping track of how, with each passing week, the odds of carrying the pregnancy to term increased, until finally, when I was about the size of a State Fair Winning pumpkin, the odds got good enough to start thinking about names and decorating a nursery. But even then, things could have still gone wrong. Newborns are fragile. SMA ran in my family, and at the time, there was no treatment (there is now, thank goodness!)… when I had my two newborns in my arms, I remember a friend saying of her daughter, about six months older, “I can’t imagine life without her!” And I recognized that I didn’t feel that way: I could easily imagine my life without my twins, at that point. But the older they got, the more they developed their personalities, the more physically strong they became, the more they REALLY were the idealized fantasy of a fetus that anti-abortion folks like to imagine: they were becoming people. And the whole journey said to me that being a person isn’t an on / off switch, it’s a process, and it’s not a heartbeat or a kick or a cry, but it’s also a little bit of all these things, because the journey requires all the steps. This was just my experience. Maybe other people miss their period and immediately have a deep emotional bond with the fertilized egg they’re carrying. And they should be allowed to make choices based on that feeling. I needed to make my choices based on my feelings. And unfortunately, with the changes in the law, I know that I would not attempt IVF or pregnancy again, because now the risk to my own life would be greater, and I am very much a person whose life is very much in need of protection.

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Jul 5, 2022Liked by Nicholas Kristof

I jumped off a table in my classroom, preparing the classroom for Kindergarteners. I was 4 months pregnant, it was a low table, easy landing. I miscarried later that day, my water breaking in front of 24 little kids. Would I today be accused of aborting my baby? Probably not, but you have to wonder.

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Our Supreme Court just enacted laws that are barbaric and display gut-wrenching misogyny. Who the 'ell are these six unelected troglodytes who have upended laws that protect vulnerable women from suffering and death? They have completely left men off the hook--men who force unwanted sex on partners and spouses. Disgusting!

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And what of laws that allow, even encourage, private citizens to accuse a woman or doctor of participating in an abortion? Who am I to judge my sisters?

Nor is our inadequate social safety net much concerned with life, leaving children unhoused and under-nourished.

I deeply fear what we are becoming.

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Jul 5, 2022Liked by Nicholas Kristof

When my baby died inside me, I had to cross San Francisco by public transit every morning for a week to get blood tests which showed I was a bit less pregnant each day. Kaiser needed this. I was married and wanted a child. I thought this was reasonable. Only recently a sweet friend who moved back home to Texas had the same situation. She has a "partner" whom she will probably marry. But Texas law made everything so difficult, she wrote on Facebook that she's ready to be a Democrat!

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author

Thanks for sharing the story. I think these real examples are more persuasive than any data or elegant arguments.

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Jul 6, 2022Liked by Nicholas Kristof

Thanks for writing about this, Nick.

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This is tragic. Inhumane. Ghoulish to force women to carry ectopic pregnancies and/or fetuses that are 100% non-viable but a heart beat can be detected. There is more care given these petri dish abberations than there is respect or caring for women overall in the United States. Now that Roe has been overturned, the crimes against women will escalate. If these people believe this is God's will, just WTF kind of monster do they worship??

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It's going to get worse and worse for women in this country. The poliiticians who think they should have the final word on a woman's health and well-being have no business being involved in any way, shape or form. If a person doesn't believe in abortion and doesn't want one, don't have one. It's that effing simple! These vital, life-threatening/life-affirming decisions belong solely to the woman! VOTE like your life depends on it because it just might!

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It isn't pro-life which is the basis of what all this crap is about with men running the show. The other part of this that is rarely mentioned is that there is no natural occurring pregnancy that wasn't begun by a MAN. And years and years of experience shows me that men done care about anything in sex except satisfying their urge to have intercourse. Why aren't the men EVER mentioned? NO pregnancy occurs without a man, decent or not.

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I understand the frustration with male judges and legislators deciding policies on abortion, but I would avoid framing this as a battle of the sexes. After all, men and women have very similar views on abortion; it's one of the few issues on which there is not a major gender gap in public opinion. Education, geography, religious attendance are all much better predictors of abortion views than gender is. So I tend to think for both political and moral reasons, it's most effective to make arguments on the merits rather than through the frame of male oppression. But maybe that's just my Y chromosome defensiveness!

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Don't turn it into a battle of the sexes? She did no such thing! Check yourself, Nick. I'm a huge fan but you owe this person an apology. Men ARE 50% of the problem. Men ARE attacking us. Men ARE glaringly absent from every protest I attend, and we are the only ones dying and being prosecuted! We are being denied our medication, the right to grieve without worrying about dying and the right to make LIFE and DEATH medical decisions for ourselves! We have been stripped of person hood and privacy. Men were in bed with us but have lost NOTHING! Gloria's point is extremely valid. In fact if any of this was being done to men you would all be starting world war three. Instead, we are getting yelled at for saying the word woman and getting lectured by a man! THINK before replying with a comment like that. The cruelty and disrespect this country inflicts upon women while they are being tortured is astounding. I lived before Roe v Wade. You have no right there be defensive right now. None whatsoever.

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I understand your point. However, why does this conversation never mention any accountablility or mandatory support for a child from the coparent/father?

Which can also bring risk of abuse and violence if they turn on the mothers....

Mandatory sterization for any dead beat 'fathers'. That makes sense to me !

I'd love to hear men tell each other its time to 'man up' and be responsible for your own offspring. If you don't want any - do something about it !!!!!!!!!

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100% agree with you!

I work in an inner-city clinic and see dozens of children longing for their fathers. Single mothers need their help, even more so now. So many American children are unplanned, being raised by others (not the biological parents.)

Adoption is fine, but the population I work with rarely uses adoption.

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Nick, I was talking to my 90-year-old dad this morning about the victory in Kansas yesterday. He’s never been much for discussing women’s rights, but he said it struck him when he was looking at news footage of voters in line in Kansas that nearly all of the people holding up hateful signs were men, and that’s when it hit him like a ton of bricks that this whole issue is simply about men trying to control women.

I was so surprised to hear that coming out of his mouth that all I could say was, “Yup, you got it, Dad.”

Now he knows what we’re been trying to tell you guys for years! This is NOT about “babies,” no matter how sanctimoniously and solemnly people insist that it is. It is about controlling women and their sexual behavior. Period. They just don’t want to admit it, so they use “babies” as the excuse. Most mature women can see right through this and recognize it for what it is. It is an attack on women by men who both hate and fear us.

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Thank you for these examples. We need these true stories to add to the discussion- providing we can still have a discussion- to change archaic and unjust laws.

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See my three Newsletters on the need for the Solicitor General and counsel for the Respondent clinics in Dobbs have until Tuesday, July 19, 2022 to file with the Supreme Court a Petition for Rehearing, under Rule 44 of the SCt. Rules, arguing an issue not discussed by any

Justice nor any Party: does the State coercing a pregnant woman to not have an abortion but rather mandating that she complete the pregnancy, go into labor and deliver when that is against her intent and will create a condition of involuntary servitude violating the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

See: haroldrberk.substack.com for three Newsletters-legal briefs

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I have written a legal brief newsletter on how the MS abortion law violares the Thirteenth Amendment by forcing using state power to coerce a woman to go into labor and deliver a baby against her will which becomes a form of involuntary servitude that the the Thirteenth Amendment prohibits.

See: haroldrberk.substack.com

No ‘Justice nor the Solicitor General nor the attorneys for Respondents raised or discussed the 13th Amendment. I have asked the Solicitor General and the attorneys for the Respondent clinics tonfile a Petition for Rehearing under Rule 44 of the Supreme Court rules within 25 days of the June 24, 2022 decision in Dobbs.

A recent1988 case is cited in my newsletter where JusticeSandra Day O’Connor wrote an opinion interpreting the 13th Amendment as applied to among other things state coerced labor. Opinions concurring in the Judgment were written by Justices Brennan, Marshall, Blackmun and Stevens

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As a Catholic theologian who for years taught a college course on Biomedical Moral Issues, I often cringe at statements about abortion. As I used to observe to my students as we started the unit on Reproductive Issues, just because you know about sex, you don't necessarily know about reproduction. For example, the first stage in human reproduction is not conception, but fertilization. There is no "moment of conception;" conception is a process that lasts up to about two weeks. During this time, the fertilized egg or zygote adds cells and is called a blastocyte. Once the blastocyte is embedded in the wall of the uterus, it becomes an embryo. (Biologists tell us that women may lose a zygote without even being aware of it.) By the way, "frozen embryos" are actually frozen zygotes. The late Jesuit ethics scholar, Richard McCormick, also pointed out that the period of conception is "amoral," that is, it is morally neutral. At eight weeks, the embryo becomes a fetus. The rest of the pregnancy is the development of the fetus. Both the development of the fetus and the health of the mother must be monitored; difficulties of various intensity can arise at any time during the pregnancy until the fetus is safely delivered and the birth takes place. (Although we typically refer to the "9 months" of pregnancy, doctors tell us that a textbook pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks.) Those who speak about abortion as if it is a one-size-fits-all procedure are either ignorant of, or don't care about, the complicated voyage of fertilized egg to embryo to fetus to baby. To speak of "abortion" in the abstract is to ignore the many varied, and often tragic, circumstances that lead to a decision to terminate a pregnancy.

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But if women aren't people...it makes perfect sense. The potential of a male fetus outweighs any value its incubator might have?

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Another reason we have such a high maternal death rate is that MedicAid coverage for the mom ends at birth, not after the six-week postpartum period. If any placenta is left behind, it bleeds. Bleeding for weeks after birth is normal--but placenta tissue will increase doing so over time, not decrease, and by the time the new mother figures out this isn't normal it may be too late. We learned about this when a member of our family had a close call.

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An ectopic pregnancy can NEVER result in a baby.

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