More Wounded than Eloquent, I’m Afraid.

Last night, when John McCain dismissively couched his reference to a “health of the mother” exception to the late-term abortion ban in AIR QUOTES, I had an unexpected reaction. I had expected to be angry, and I was, angry at his cavalier treatment of the subject, at the inane and misleadingly benign phrase “culture of life” (whereas the rest of us, if not actually invested in a culture of DEATH, are merely “meh” on the concept of life. Life? Oh I can take it or leave it!). I was angry at his use of the term “pro-abortion,” a term that could only be coined by someone who has never had to contemplate such a procedure, or watched a loved one do the same. But what I wasn’t expecting last night was to feel my eyes suddenly hot and teary, to feel so profoundly hurt.

Ames died at 22 weeks. I was lucky—if anyone can be said to be lucky in these circumstances—that his water did not break for another two weeks, and lucky that IV antibiotics and hospital bedrest kept the infection in his amniotic fluid more-or-less contained for twelve days after that. But his water could just as easily have broken two days rather than two weeks after his death, and the infection could have been more virulent, spread faster, and reached critical mass much sooner—say when Simone was pre-viability, or on the very cusp of viability. Say 23 weeks instead of 25.

It is my understanding that McCain believes late-term abortion should be outlawed except when it is necessary to save the life of the mother. But when do you make that determination? When does “health of the mother” turn into “life of the mother,” anyway? What organs would the infection have to spread to and shut down before I would be permitted to terminate my pregnancy? Would they wait until I was on a ventilator, or merely until my lungs were beginning to fill with fluid?
At this juncture, many want to get down to the nitty gritty, and talk procedure. Some would ban various methods of dilation and extraction, but would graciously allow for the induction of labor or a C-section. Well, allow me to remind you that a C-section for a severely infected patient—as I would be if they had waited until the distinction between health and life became clear enough—is extremely risky. As for inducing labor, I had been IN labor for 16 hours when Simone—who was breech—was delivered by C-section. Again, how long would they have me labor while the infection spread? After all, it is not as if doctors could terminate my pregnancy once death was sufficiently imminent and then turn the infection off with some magical infection switch. Has McCain never seen an episode of House? Once infection has gotten a powerful foothold, once sespis has set in and organs are shutting down, the process is sometimes impossible to stop. I am talking primarily about infection here only because this was my particular situation, but these same arguments apply to other conditions, such as preeclampsia and HELLP.

I want to be clear: if McCain had his so-called “culture of life,” and if my condition had progressed just a bit earlier, I would at least have lost my uterus, and I might very well be dead. All this in the interest of a baby who could not possibly have lived, because while an extremely few 23-weekers do survive, a by-then-severely-infected 23-weeker would certainly not. “Culture of life,” indeed.

McCain states that he would deal with the issue of abortion with “courage and compassion.” I quote: “the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby.” As if terminating my pregnancy would be the easy way out, the way not requiring his precious “courage.” As if dictating my medical care based upon his religious beliefs is compassionate. And I find it interesting to note that his “compassion” for this newborn does not extend to guaranteeing it health insurance.

I have long suspected that McCain does not think much of women. First because of what I regarded as his rather uncouth treatment of the women in his personal life, and later when he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. But his words last night, and the tone in which he spoke them, show such a terrible and deep disregard for our personhood that they left me shocked and speechless. I have never felt so powerfully disenfranchised as when hearing McCain insinuate that women—us crafty minxes—are not above using trickery to get a (much-coveted, apparently) late-term abortion. How dare he. How dare he imply that women are either too stupid or immoral to be trusted to wrestle with ethical issues on their own. How dare he insult my intelligence, my character, and my commitment to my babies, to my much wanted and years-in-the-making pregnancy, by implying that he is better equipped than myself and my doctors to weigh my child’s life against my health. Women may have the vote, but we do not have the respect of a frighteningly vast segment of our government, and I am sickened and saddened to see it.


  1. tracey says:

    I said this exact thing to my husband after the debate last night. I had never felt so much disrespect about anything in my entire life. It saddened and sickened me as well.

  2. vague says:

    Well said! McCain’s and Palin’s stances on women’s issues are utterly dismal — I also find it insulting that Palin’s name on the ticket is supposed to induce women to vote for them. Argh.

  3. Val says:

    Thank you for posting my thoughts. While I have not lived what you have lived, I have been right here, reading along with you, crying with you, praying for you and yours, and waiting for updates and stories.

    This man is no man at all. He is rude, scornful, condescending and disrespectful.
    Thank you for posting what so many of us feel.

  4. jonniker says:

    Alexa, this was one of the best things I have ever read, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’m sending it to almost everyone I know.

    Incredible. Thank you.

  5. Amy says:


    I believed I screamed “F*ck You” to the TV screen in front of my Father-in-law when McCain said that. Classy. You’ve made the argument much better than I did!

  6. kristen says:

    I have been reading for a while, but tonight I have to comment. Well-done. And thank you, for a smart, articulate and thoughtful response to what was truly a disrespectful and condescending statement by someone who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

  7. Juli says:

    I think you need to send this to the McCain campaign. And to Obama’s. And to EVERYONE in the media. Right now. Along with your photos of Ames, and of Simone as she fought her way through the NICU to survival, to healthy & happy.

    People need to understand that abortion is not just some kind of a belated birth-control option for slackers. Your pregnancy, and the circumstances of the birth of your children, give a view that is NEVER recognized as part of the issue, by those on either side.

    Send it, Alexa. Seriously – the whole world would benefit from hearing your story, in your words.

  8. Laura says:

    Bravo. A beautifully outraged post. (Far more eloquent than my reaction, which was throwing a plastic dinosaur at the TV and screaming, “Fucker!”)

  9. abdpbt says:

    Bravo! Great post, and you’ve hit on it exactly–I could not figure out what it was exactly that was making me want to reach through the screen and strangle him last night. So patronizing, so dismissive, so smugly entitled and clueless. Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. LetterB says:

    And how. Pretty sure there will be a new “Bradley Effect” of conservative women who say they are voting for McCain who will be pulling the lever for Obama after that hideous moment.

  11. Muriel says:

    I have never been to your site or read anything else that you’ve written (yet), but I came here from a Tweet by finslippy that said I should read your entry.

    I’m very glad I did.

    I completely agree with what you’ve written and I’m glad someone said it eloquently enough to make the point known. And like Juli said, if you’re up for it, send this to the campaigns.

  12. Sharon says:

    Well said Alexa. It’s truly scary that people like McCain and Palin have even the smallest chance of running the USA. The country, in fact the whole world, surely doesn’t deserve them on top of the chaos we’re currently experiencing.

  13. Juli says:

    Alexa – I linked this in my LiveJournal, but you have to HAVE a LiveJournal and be on my friends’ list to see it. I put in a paragraph of backstory and my own view on choice, but otherwise it’s just a link here. If you want to read it, email me and I’ll send you the text of it.

  14. mom101 says:

    How I wish you could sit right across from him, look him in the face, and say these very words. Thank you for your bravery and honesty. I only wish McCain and his ilk were here to hear it.

  15. Clover says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for writing this. Seriously, there’s got to be a way to get the mainstream media to pay attention to you, Cecily, Julie, and the other bloggers who’ve spoken so eloquently (now and in the past) about this. Anyone got any bright ideas on how to get their attention?

  16. Christina says:

    What a beautifully written response. I only wish he would read this. I was also one of the people muttering obscenities to the TV when he said that last night.

    McCain does not have women’s interests at heart. Are we nothing more than a vessel for a new life, where that life has more rights than we do? (And for that matter, does he think that all women need more “education and training” to reach equal pay with men?)

    Thank you for having the courage to post this.

  17. Kara says:

    Most people in my family yell and throw things at the t.v. during football games. Yet my husband and I were doing this last night during the debates. Oh, yes, and let us not forget how he is sooooo interested in special needs children. So interested in fact he declined to meet with Jenny McCarthy. Yep winning us moms one insult at a time.

  18. Robin says:

    Eloquently stated. You have summed up for all of us what is so disturbing about turning our reproductive choice over to the government. Prop 8 is yet one more attempt to erode our right to chose. As a woman who suffered two miscarriages, I am convinced that nobody could lightly undertake the decision to terminate a pregnancy. When will women be given credit for the ability to make this choice with the help of their doctor, their family, and their god? Thank you for saying this so well.

  19. Rachel says:

    I’m so glad that you wrote about this. As I was watching the debate yesterday night with a crowd of 20-something women and expressed my outrage at McCain’s comment, one of them asked whether/why anyone would need a late-term abortion ‘for the health of the mother.’ And I was proud to say ‘I know these women.’ Of course, I only know them through the internets, but I am proud to know women who are willing to talk about the awful situations and choices they made/nearly faced.

  20. Grace Walker says:

    Please, it is dangerous to assume that all women, just becaue they *are* women, are as ethical or caring as you are. Terrible, ugly decisions are made by women who don’t care and don’t have any respect for the child they are carrying (and yes, I know these women in real life, not just dressed up in the veil of the internet). Be mad if you want for yourself, but you and the women here who agree with you don’t have any more right to generalize about other women than did McCain.

  21. Juli says:

    So Grace – do you think those terrible, unethical women who don’t respect their children… should have them and raise them? If they should not terminate, what options do you see for the children they bear? Would you like to meet some of those children? My friend Rebecca has fostered more than twenty, and adopted four.

    The problem is, the laws that pertain to abortion for those women will also apply to those like Alexa, who are fighting to keep their children alive.

    And I’ve just soapboxed in someone else’s blog – which I don’t like to do. So I shall refrain from doing so further.

  22. Grace Walker says:

    Wow, ignorance and intolerance is so attractive.

    So killing them is better? You have no idea what I do professionally, Juli. I teach special education, I work with children every day whose stories would make most sane people cry. For years I volunteered in juvenile court advocating for abused and neglected children. My sister has fostered and adopted medically fragile and horribly abused children. My other sister adopted as well. So don’t preach to me.

    Obviously not all women are on the same ethical scale, so taking one woman’s pain and applying it to all women is not a real accurate comparison to make. An emotional thing, an eloquent thing, but not a rational or factual thing. Sorry that upsets your ideals.

  23. emily says:

    Wow, Alexa. I am so, so thankful you wrote this. Last night, as I heard that man say that crap, I thought he has no idea what he’s talking about. And I’m a big fan of Obama and definitely more aligned with his positions than McCain’s, but my sense after the whole exchange is that neither of them really have any idea what it is to be a mother (first, long awaited after infertility, adoptive, or otherwise) or what it is to still be waiting and understand that even then, when your children are so very, very much wanted, you may be forced to make such a hard choice and want and need the dignity to make that without governmental intervention.

  24. Juli says:

    It’s not my ideals that are upset, and I apologize for jumping the gun. No – I certainly don’t think killing them is the answer. But Alexa isn’t writing about the children you’re teaching, which is where your comment about generalization is just as off the mark as my unwarranted generalization to you.

    The laws pertaining to abortion ARE general, though, aren’t they? They apply to ethical and caring women just as much as they do to terrible unethical ones.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    This is a terrible, beautiful entry.* Would you mind if I reposted some of it on a private blog network I belong to (properly credited of course)?

    *I mean “terrible” in the classic dictionary definition sense of “exciting extreme alarm or intense fear.” It’s the right word to describe my feelings about this entry, but I don’t want anyone to believe that I mean that this entry is “of very poor quality” when that is clearly not the case.

  26. James says:

    I may be a man, but the issue of abortion in late-term has arisen in my life. It was neither a way for me to weasel out of the lovely child I had waited for, not was it the deceptive aim of an unwed mother and her evil man.

    Powerful, thank you.

  27. jen says:

    I had shut the debate off early and hadn’t known about this until I checked a little pregnant yesterday and saw your tweet about it.

    You piece is very poignant and eloquent. I particularly think the points you made about health insurance and well, the entire last paragraph were right on the mark.

  28. Molly says:

    Alexa, this is powerful and incredibly well-put, and I admire your restraint. I’ve been trying to write something just like this for the last two days and am absolutely unable to say anything civil, logical, or remotely sane in the face of such total ignorant, loathesome misogyny.

  29. tash says:

    I’m so thankful that coherent literate people like you an Julie and Cecily are writing about the air quotes because really all I’ve been able to muster is a “fuckity fuck” and a few tears myself. As one of those late term hypotheticals where my own health would not be called into question but my child’s certainly would be, I also find myself tearing up when BOTH candidates speak of this like something we lust for but can’t have. Little do they know about me and my daughter, and little do they know that a Sophie’s Choice of this type hardly counts as one when it’s met with profound grief on the other side.

    I’m still in the middle of coffee number one so I’ll just leave it at that with a profound amount of thanks.

  30. Cecily says:

    It sounds like you and I have an awful lot in common–including our reaction to McCain’s statement. Bastard.

    I am so sorry you went through that. It sucks, doesn’t it?

  31. Sarah TX says:

    I am so… grateful that women like you and Julie are stepping up to tell your stories. Politicians stay away from medical decisions, period. When it comes to late-term abortions, it is such a strawman argument to claim that women are having them on a whim. I think it’s something like 0.08% of abortions occur after the 22nd week. I hope that if I’m ever in the situation you describe here, I live in a country where my options are open to me.

  32. Bean says:

    I have to disagree with you on one point. That was very eloquent! Thank you for posting this, I only hope that more people could read your and similar accounts to better understand what this is all really about. I experience such a mixture of rage and sadness over attitudes like McCain’s that I can feel my blood pressure creeping up just thinking about it.

  33. Erin says:

    I think that was extremely eloquent and very well stated. It’s too bad people like John McCain are so dismissive of things like “science” and “medicine” when coming up with these policies. They seem to rank right up there with the “health” of the mother. It sickens me that 43% of people still think he’s a more qualified candidate for president.

  34. MC says:

    Thank you. Sharing this was courageous. Reading it was eye opening. I was having this same debate in my head this morning, but I did not have the words. I’m so glad to see that someone does!

  35. courtney says:

    wonderfully put. I’ve never been pregnant (or wanted to be, yet) but when McCain tossed off that comment I was beside myself with rage. & I was so grateful that Obama took the time to explain why having laws that UNEQUIVOCALLY prevent a type of pregnancy termination are an insult to women & a disaster for the country.

    I’m so glad you wrote this, & I’m glad to see it’s being widely distributed. it deserves to be.

  36. Beth says:

    It is so important that you write this, that you put a face and a name on this very complex and painful issue. So many want to make this issue all black or all white, and what you say, what you say wisely and sadly, is that everything here is gray. Just like life is gray…thank you for being brave enough to put your story out here and brave enough to force others to think, really think, instead of speaking in generalizations and useless rhetoric. I am humbled by your experience.

  37. MyTurn says:

    I have three comments:

    – One, I wholeheartedly agree. I have always been in support of a woman’s right to choose, but even more so as I get older. I have had a different (but also painful) experience than you Alexa, I had to make the decision to terminate two pregnancies, both well into the second trimester. Both babies had no kidneys (confirmed by three specialists) and the prognosis for each was “incompatible with life.” Yet both babies could have survived — who knows for how long — in utero. If McCain’s stance that late term D&E’s were prohibited, I would have been forced to go to the doctor each day, possibly for weeks or months, to check if there was a hearbeat. While my physical health was arguably not in any immediate danger, my mental health certainly was. I am outraged to think that I would not have had an any options if McCain had his way. I certainly did not have the strength to fight any legal battles to have a procedure that no man (or Palin) should be able to deny me.

    – Two, like Sarah TX, I wonder how many second trimester terminations there really are. My guess is that the vast majority are for pregnancies that were very much wanted (like mine). And yet, I’ve never heard any one talk about the numbers. That makes it very easy for the right in this country to paint the issue with broad brush strokes.

    – Three, I have always found it highly hypocritical that the Republican party, who on the one hand espouses reduced government intervention into people’s lives (let the markets regulate themselves, etc), yet on the other hand believes they can and should intervene into something that is so personal to a woman’s mind and body. This is one issue where I think government should butt out, my pregnancy is between me and my doctor (okay, and my husband), government, you don’t get to have a say in it.

  38. Melanie says:

    The man wants to make it illegal EXCEPT for medical cases, as my ob/gyn explained to me (after I took a nasty fall at 5 months preggo right on my belly), that the first priority of the doctor is ALWAYS the mother, the health and well-being of the mother, the babies health is secondary.

    I had a cousin who lost a twin in utero and had to deliver the other one (who weighed 1 lb 2 oz) because they were in the same sac and infection was threatening. The DOCTOR made my cousin the first priority, by a miracle Christina made it (and is now a healthy happy 8 year old), another friend had severe preemplasia (or however that is spelled) she was induced and her baby did not make it, her doctor put her health first, I have another friend with a story too sad to tell, but let me assure you her doctor put HER health first and foremost.

    I guess my point in all this is that I cannot imagine ANYONE really believing that John McCain wants women to die or that he could even get legislation so stringent that it is so strictly defined that only XYZ could possibly allow for a termination of the pregnancy.

    I can totally understand why people do like him, can’t say that I like him much, I dont really like Obama either (but then i blame my belief that our system takes good men and women,and turns them corrupt before they even win a single election–because of the money required to get oneself elected, you know they have lots of people saying take care of me, i got you elected–but i digress). I have very fundamental differences with BOTH candidates, that said, I do not believe either one of them has some evil plan to make our lives hell.

  39. Very eloquent, actually. Thank you for posting. I came here from a shared item on Oh! How Lovely!’s blog reader. The problem with McCain (and other conservatives/”family values” politicians) is that they think they know what is best FOR US. Whatever happened to autonomic thought and knowledge? Don’t we get the benefit if making decisions for our own, yes, HEALTH after speaking to a doctor? I really couldn’t believe it when he said that…I felt like blowing him up. Right there on the stage in front of everyone. If I was Cindy McCain, I might have exploded all over him. I loved that Barack Obama made the point to say something like “abortion is never a decision ANY WOMAN WANTS to make.” At least he acknowledges that we’re not doing it simply to get out of it.

  40. Kristen says:

    Absolutely! Alexa, that was spot on. Thank you for saying what so many of us weren’t able to verablize. Simone is such a lucky girl to have such a wonderful and eloquent mother.

  41. babelbabe says:

    I have been lurking for some time now, and finally want to weigh in to say thank you for sharing. Your courage and compassion have impressed me before; this post even more so. I was an Obama supporter anyway, so nothing McCain said could have switched me, but I appreciate your clear and, yes, eloquent take and explanations.

    Give Simone a kiss from a stranger on the Internet; i love seeing her pics and hearing about her.

  42. dana says:

    I’m apparently in the minority, but I agree with #67 Melanie here. I work in the healthcare field and frankly, I think doctors will always put the mother’s health first. I don’t think the legislation will ever get too deeply into the areas of gray you describe.

    I’m in the 8% undecided voter category here, but it is a little tiring to hear how “afraid” everyone is of McCain.

  43. Casey says:

    Let us hope that with your poignant and powerful writing–and that of others who have been equally moved to do so–that women as a force will RISE UP and VOTE to keep John McCain out of the oval office. I really, truly hope that whoever reads your story will realize that we cannot let him lead our country, for this and many, many other reasons.

    Thanks for writing.

  44. marcoda says:

    You are beautiful. Thank you for putting into such perfect and fitting words what many women, and men, are feeling about this incredibly touchy subject. I too was angered by this, as many people were.

  45. Alex says:

    This is wonderfully eloquent.

    Honestly, every single time I come to your blog I am amazed and thankful that Simone is alive and thriving — even given the “good” luck that you did have (in terms of how long Ames’ sac lasted after his death, and how long it took for infection to set in), it is, truly, amazing that she made it. As you say, it’s astonishing you didn’t have to make even harder choices than you did, and I’m so thankful you didn’t — but also well aware that you, and every woman, needs them available in case she faces a situation like you so very nearly did.

    Thank you for writing about this.

  46. Elizabeth says:

    The reason John McCain put health of the mother in air quotes is that abortion providers have spread the definition to include depression, as in “I will be depressed if I have to have this baby, and depression can be a life threatening condition. I am perfectly healthy, and my baby is perfectly healthy, but I will say I’m depressed to get an abortion.” That’s all he meant. He doesn’t mean that when the mother and/or child is in imminent danger of death that medical professionals should not intervene.

  47. Jeanna says:

    You’ve said what I’ve been thinking, but couldn’t organize for myself.
    Thanks for stating this so well and unknowingly organizing my own scattered thoughts.

  48. Bad Hippie says:

    “Courage and compassion” to help the mother who doesn’t want to raise a baby (or who cannot raise a baby), huh?

    I was 19 when my son was born, and let me tell you…the government didn’t help me. My family did. I doubt very highly that McCain or Palin would have a good sense of what type of services are actually needed to help women facing these tough choices raise their children.

  49. Sarah says:

    Thank you. I simply fumed and said to my husband, “that is so offensive. It is so offensive to say women can not make choices for themselves. he has never been in that situation he doesn’t know even what the choice means. that is so offensive.” Followed by a half hour of “that is so offensive”. So thank you for putting it much more coherently and effectively.

  50. Michell says:

    Oh my. What a fantastic and amazing post. Thank you for showing me this perspective. I am very pro choice mostly because to even put small guidelines or rules on who can have an abortion leaves the decision of that in the hands of someone who is completely unaffected by the decision. I had however never thought of the late term abortion being connected to preterm labor and complications. Wow.

  51. Sara says:

    I read Dooce’s post, but reading this makes her posting it make so much more sense. I didn’t realize his disregard or his presentation of the issue of abortion. I just hope it really doesn’t come up as an issue for a President to address. Wonderfully put.

    Obama 08

  52. elizabeth says:

    This was a very well written post and while I am not nearly as eloquent, I have a few things to say. I read through all the comments and finally found some that showed some rational though, besides just being emotional. I understand that to face such a decision would be terrible and that the though of oneself dying let alone one’s unborn child is extremely terrible… but to use it as an “excuse” for abortion has never made sense to me. A commenter above said that her doctor told her that they would put the mother’s health first, such in the case of infection (I don’t know your situation, but I would assume, just from limited experience, that they were just trying to buy a little time, not kill you, just so the other baby had a little better chance), or preeclampsia. The doctor would induce labor and then once the baby was delivered, try and give it the best medical care available (like where I work, a cutting edge children’s hospital with a state of the art NICU)… but to say that you should just ABORT that baby because the mother might die, when there is always a chance of saving the baby is wrong (in my opinion).
    So while I pain for you and your loss a nd struggle while reading this post, I still cannot think of any reason anyone should kill a baby.

  53. toomuchstrong says:

    Amen! I wish I could have articulated this issue as well as you did. McCain’s discussion of abortion bothered be BEYOND WORDS, but up to this point, I hadn’t seen anyone else talk about it with such eloquence (and anger). You go girl!

  54. kate says:

    I could not agree with you more. I will never understand why anyone would think that people are pro abortion people are pro choice. I have never ever met a woman that wanted to have an abortion but felt that it was what had to be done for various reasons.

    I could not agree with you more. I feel John McCain feels women are second class citizens and that is evident in his most recent debate.

  55. Amanda says:

    Government has no place in this issue- unless it is to regulate the sanitary conditions of the facilities or the necessary qualifications of the doctors. McCain is confused, dilusional, and frankly needs to bow down……Men have no concept of the emotional and physical trauma of abortion- the issue needs to be mute when it comes to presidentail debates and governmental discussions.

  56. Laurie says:

    Dana #72: I work in the healthcare field and frankly, I think doctors will always put the mother’s health first. I don’t think the legislation will ever get too deeply into the areas of gray you describe.

    I don’t mean to be combative, but you are mistaken about this. Legislation (not to mentioned a bunch of attempted legislation in the works) has already gotten into the business of removing legal punishment from health professionals (doctors, nurses, EMTs, pharmacists, etc.) who decline to put the health of women first because of their so-called morals. I’m surprised you don’t know about any of this. Look up the term “conscience clause” sometime. You might change your mind about being undecided.

  57. sheila says:

    McCain and Palin are fucking assholes. Cannot be said any more simpler than that. No mincing words.

    There is something extremely destructive about Palin. Affairs, teen pregnancy, forcing your 17 yr old to marry, her nepotism, her abuse of office? And she’s this wonderfully religious person? WTF is she kidding?

    McCain is a shriveled up old bastard and a memory of his former self.

    God help us all if these two get in the WH.

  58. Grace says:

    elizabeth #88, please read Alexa’s and Scott’s and Simone’s and Ames’ story before you assume that anyone here wants to “kill babies”.

    Grace B.

  59. Lauren says:

    I put a link to this as my Facebook status, and I have no doubt that some of my closest friends (who happen to be conservative Catholics) will respond negatively to that. But I HAD to do it.

    Thank you so much, and I’m so sorry that you have the experience to back up what you’re saying. (That’s not sarcastic, I’m totally sincere.)

    Also, Simone is ADORABLE!

  60. ds says:

    I linked to you from Heather’s site. Permanent position on my short list of favorites. Thank you for your eloquence. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  61. Peigi says:

    I agree 100% (more, if that were possible). McCain exhibited a complete lack of understanding never mind compassion. Offensive.

  62. Alex says:

    Elizabeth #88, you say you work in a cutting edge children’s hospital with a state of the art NICU. I do hope that’s not in any role as a provider of medical care, as your comment seems to suggest a lack of understanding of some pretty basic facts about the tragic situations pregnant women can face. Of course we understand that many mothers take risks (as Alexa did) to buy time for their developing babies; sadly, there are cases — such as when pre-eclampsia (or infection) develops before 24 weeks — when all the risks in the world won’t improve the prospects of the not-yet-viable fetus. At the risk of stating what should be obvious, a fetus too young to survive outside its mother’s body cannot survive if its mother dies. Tragically it is not always possible to buy enough time to reach viability.

  63. Sarah says:

    Saddened too. And I agree. I wouldn’t want the feds deciding my fate. I’m not sure I would trust my next of kin either ;-)

  64. Michelle says:

    Crafty minxes against the GOP! I’m giving away money to Democratic Senate candidates as if I had nothing better to do with it… because I don’t. We have a chance to send ALL of these woman-hating bastards back to their caves. Ladies, please: Donate. Volunteer. And vote, vote, vote!

  65. Erin says:

    This was very well written and I’m glad I came over from Dooce to read it. Up until that moment in the debate, I had just been bitterly disappointed in McCain. That moment made me actively start to dislike him. I think for me, though, what got me more than the air quotes was the “we have to change the culture of America and the people who are proudly pro-life understand that.” Growl.

    I second whichever commenter it was that talked about how amazing it is that the side clamoring for less government seems to think that it’s perfectly okay to legislate my uterus.

  66. neeta says:

    Wonderful post. You articulated my feelings better than I could. That debate moment was such a slap in the face that, cynical as I am, I still gasped. What disdain he has for women!

  67. Anna says:

    The strongest and bravest thing I have read in a while. It is disgusting, and an outrage, that so many people (leaders and populace) seem perfectly willing to make this decision for women, all while insisting that they have utmost respect for women.

    I cannot be both ways.

  68. Scott says:

    I have asked my wife to make my presence on her blog as ghost-like as possible, and I have never felt the need (even during the childfree fiasco) to comment, as I have every confidence that if she so wishes she can easily address any absurd or insulting comments people might feel the need to post.


    @ 57 Knot “That was very insightful. Do you think the issue could be resolved if we defined life beginning at conception?”

    Thank you for trivializing the death of my son and the terror, fear, and sadness that Alexa and I went through by suggesting that if we just all agreed to define life as beginning at conception everything would be great. As if all the suffering we experienced was merely the result of some poorly chosen semantics.

    I will, in response, simply point out that the very form of the question necessitates that any response to it will be arbitrary and ultimately meaningless. That you would nonetheless persevere against logic and pose such an inanity speaks volumes about the severe limits of both your empathy and your intellect.

    As Alexa is infinitely less confrontational than I, I will stop embarrassing her any more than I no doubt already have, and resist the impulse to comment on any other posts (except maybe to write to #89 that the best way to undermine the claim that you are reacting rationally to something is to write a post that is not only both argument and evidence free, but also shallow to the point of flatness, and then top it off by scare-capitalizing all the letters of ‘abort’ (and at #79, is mental illness not a health concern?)) and return to my previous ghost-like state.

  69. Julie says:

    Gah! The comment from #79 solidifies my opinion that we get the government we deserve. She has decided what McCain meant by his statement and chooses to put faith in politicians rather than Science and Medicine. Never underestimate the stupidity of some American voters. These are folks who let a President start a war based on lies because God “spoke” to him.

  70. michelle says:

    Thank you, Alexa, for articulating what I couldn’t. Beautifully, personally, powerfully put.
    (and thanks Ghost/Scott for de-lurking to adress some of the comments. Well said!)

  71. IrishGumbo says:


    My hat is off to you. Your post is one of the most eloquent I have ever read on this subject. I amazed you kept it together, focused and point; I was getting angry just reading it!

    Being a fairly rational, male and agnostic (mostly), I am forever put off by those who use religion as the reason and enforcer of their anti-abortion rights stance. Faith by its very nature is not grounded in rationality; if it was it would not be called faith. People can believe what they want and if they believe that life starts at conception, that God forbids abortions, fine.

    But imposing that faith based world view on those who don’t share it is IMMORAL, UNETHICAL and UNACCEPTABLE. Isn’t that what the current administration been trying to tell us? That the Islamo-fascists are trying to take away our freedoms? If it is bad for Islamic fundamentalists to do it, it is bad for Christian zealots to do the same, albeit in a relatively less extreme way. Less extreme, but in the long run, perhaps more dangerous because it seeks to give that imposition the force of law.

    As a man, I never have/never will have to make the choices that involve abortion. I wish that it would never have to happen; I beleive most reasonable people agree. However, I cannot support irrational (and religious faith in its own way IS irrational) beliefs as the arbiter of public policy. I cannot support taking away, from the people most directly affected by such a drastic and important decision, their right to make that decision. Even if it was my wife or daughter. I would hope to have input but ultimately it is their prerogative to decide.

    Quite simply, as citizens and human beings, the women who OWN the body should be the final authority as to what happens to that body and everything in it.

    McCain/Palin are hypocrites and seem to be incapable of empathy or nuance.

    Go, girl!

  72. elizabeth says:

    #107… I take part in the care of many children at my place of employment… and I have 3 children myself. I know full well the risks involved in any pregnancy.

    I can’t say that death is any way acceptable, but we all will die. But to kill someone, anyone, before it is “their time” is wrong and is murder. I’m not suggesting that anyone would kill a baby, but, that is what abortion is, no matter the reason. And even if the baby isn’t yet “viable”, shouldn’t medical professionals do everything they can to try and save that life, not just kill it?

    I’m sorry for everyone’s losses, truly.

  73. gooddog says:

    Thank you for writing and posting this. All women should be outraged by McCain’s patriarchal attitudes.

    Thank you for your passion and your outrage.

  74. CTG says:

    If I am not mistaken there are already laws on the books, (South Dakota?) that do NOT have a health of the mother exception…(I know it was challenged as unconstitutional, but I do not know if it has been decided).

    I posted a link to this as well as to CecilyK on my facebook and all my blogs.

    “shouldn’t medical professionals do everything they can to try to save that life, not just kill it” … just out of curiosity, why does the life of the fetus trump the life of the mother? Shouldn’t that phrase be arguing to save the life of someone ALREADY ALIVE? Where life CLEARLY exists? Where there is no moral/philosophical question about the existence of life? Are we merely vessels to carry a fetus and have no value independent of our uterus? That’s the implication being made; we’re just expendable.

    I STRONGLY strongly believe that ALL medical decisions should be between the doctor and the patient…

    McCain, Palin y’all didn’t go to medical school, don’t play doctor on me…kthanxbai.

  75. Jackie says:

    Though your case is saddening as well as many others, people view abortion very differently from person to person. No one is either pro-life or pro-choice. That would be like saying to one extreme that it is ok have an abortion just before it is born because you changed your mind, or to say you are going to bring a baby into this world whether the baby was concieved through rap or incest or may have an excellent chance of killing the mother. I don’t think anyone would agree with anything I just said so get over it. It’s sad but it’s a choice.

  76. coastofcalifornia says:

    Dooce sent me.

    You have a new and grateful reader.

    Thank you for your eloquent post. I am humbled by your story. Had I been an “undecided” before I read your words, I believe that you would have helped me make up my mind.

    Obama/Biden ’08. The only rational choice.

  77. Canadian Mom says:

    I am crying for your loss, and I am also awed by your courage to go on.
    I have 2 sons, aged 2 and 6. My first pregnancy was TERRIBLE. I made it thru almost to term, 36 weeks, before the preeclampsia got too bad. My husband hauled my ass to hospital in the middle of the night and saved me and the baby. I was less than 12 hours from having a stroke, and killing us both. I was offered the *option* to wait, and they could induce me in the morning. Or, Caesarean, right now. As if it was a choice. 40 mins later, my boy was in my arms, a little small, but safe and healthy. The moment when I was told *we have to get that baby out before you both die* was the single worst moment of my life. I nearly didn’t have my second, for fear that I wouldn’t be so lucky this time. But miracles never cease, and baby #2 was easy as pie, I barely knew I was pregnant, came to term and was born healthy and strong.
    Baby #1 is the closest I have ever come to tragedy, and that alone STILL pinches my heart and makes my eyes mist over. I cannot imagine what your heart goes through, every day. You amaze me.

    Now, my point:
    I love all children, I would have 20 if I could afford them. I would never *choose* to abort, but I am DAMN SURE that it would be MY choice and MY choice alone, if it ever came up. The government will not tell me what I can and cannot do in regards to my own body, and in turn, my actual *life*. Now, being Canadian, this isn’t an issue for me, but the US is a country that cares an awful lot about *freedoms*. Why in X’s name is a Presidential candidate preaching to the masses about his plan to take away such a freedom as this? It’s been said before, but it makes so much sense.

    If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one.

    Thanks for your time, Canadian Mom

  78. Alex says:

    Elizabeth #88/#129

    Thanks for your reply.

    Alexa’s situation, though much about it was tragic and terrifying — even just reading it over the internet — didn’t (as things turned out) result in anyone needing to make a decision that led to anyone’s death — born or unborn. But another blogger writing about this issue (with a perspective similar to Alexa’s) today is Cecily (, and she did.

    Cecily was 22 weeks pregnant with much-wanted twin boys when she developed pre-eclampsia. By the time this was diagnosed, one of her sons was already dead (of natural causes, i.e., as a result of the pre-eclampsia) in utero. The choices available were as follows:
    1. Do nothing, in which case, Cecily dies from pre-eclampsia and her (still living) son dies because his mother’s dead body cannot sustain him.
    2. Perform a c-section, in which case, Cecily’s son dies (as he is too young to survive outside her body) and Cecily probably dies (as her pre-eclampsia was severe enough she probably wouldn’t have survived surgery).
    3. Perform a dilation and extraction of Cecily’s living and dead son. The living son, again, dies (tragically there is no option available that prevents this); Cecily probably lives (as this surgery places less stress on her body than the c-section).

    Now, you write, “I can’t say that death is any way acceptable, but we all will die. But to kill someone, anyone, before it is “their time” is wrong and is murder.”

    Certainly I would agree that the death of Cecily’s sons wasn’t “acceptable.” But I reject the idea that her doctor should have been restricted to doing nothing (option 1), the only option available to him that didn’t involve undertaking an action that, itself, would kill at least one person. If I found myself in Cecily’s shoes, given the choice between option (3) — having a doctor kill my son and then removing him from my body (performing an abortion) — and option (2) — removing my son from my body, and thereby causing him to die from the lack of a life support system (performing a c-section, at great risk to the mother’s life, on a fetus too young to survive outside the womb), I’d choose option (3). It happens that Cecily did too, though I’d certainly respect her right not to.

    I completely, truly, madly, deeply agree with you that it is tragic that there are times when it is simply not possible to stabilize a mother’s health long enough for her developing baby to achieve viability. But the fact of the matter is, this does happen. If it happened to me, I would abort the fetus to save my own life (after all, if I die, so does the fetus). I respect your right not to make the same choice as I would. Both outcomes — your death and your child’s, given your choice, and my child’s death, but my survival, given mine, would be tragic.

  79. JuliaKB says:


    I do not believe I have ever commented before. So first, I am so so sorry about the loss of Ames and about the difficult road Simone has had.

    Second, as many have said, this is very eloquent. I have to say that after the blind anger that had me yelling obscenities at the TV subsided, I too was left with indignation– how dare he think so little of us? How dare he imply that a baby lost to a health problem wouldn’t be loved, missed, and mourned? WTF is he to even go there?

    Nine weeks ago I gave birth to our third child after a scary, anxious, and somewhat medically complicated subsequent pregnancy– our second child, our first son was stillborn in Jan 07. Knowing this grief as I do, the kindest thing I have to say is that John McCain has never taken the time to consider the implications of what he is talking about. Because seriously? If he did, and he still thinks we can just never mind our lost babies, then he is a scarily heartless person.

    Interestingly, when the subject of abortion and our feelings on it as colored by our IF and/or child loss came up on my blog last month I stated that anyone who wants to ban abortions but doesn’t want us to have universal health care, as well as subsidized housing and childcare is in fact pro-birth and not pro-life. I was also wondering about that mythical woman who is looking to get knocked up just so she can finally get herself one of those fancy new abortions that as all the rage these days. Seriously? Seriously? Bleh.

    And finally, I am guessing that you might like to know that I sent a few of my very own dollars to Al Franken today. Now, granted I have meant to do it for a while, but this has absolutely pushed me over the line. Here’s hoping for a new Senator for you. I also finally made that call, and am now scheduled to make the drive to the battleground state near me this Sunday. Because there is no room for willful ignorance in the White House. Not anymore.

  80. Bravo, Alexa (and Scott). Bravo. You have summed up in much greater eloquence than I could muster everything that was wrong about what McCain said (and how he said it–his scoffing facial/body language made me want to hurl something at the TV) in the debate the other night.

  81. Crystal of Arizona says:

    Thank you for your courage to stand up to angry and ignorant men.

    I was disgusted too by McCain’s words. How anyone can take something so difficult and painful and make it sound like I was deciding on whether or not to have a cosmetic procedure truly makes me ill.

    I support you and all women who had to make choices in impossible medical situations.

    It was a painful choice for me as well.

    I keep coming back to something an mentor early in my college years said, “women’s health choices in a modern world shouldn’t even be debated in the politial arena. They ARE RIGHTS as fundamental as breathing.”

  82. dmc says:

    my wife and i have been trying to get pregenant V2.0 for 5+ years. while we hope it happens, the government limiting our choice in a worst case scenario would cause us to reevaluate our efforts. Well said, now we just need to ensure everyone actually gets out and votes for Obama, if for no other reason than to vote against mccain

  83. karla says:

    I’m sorry. It’s hard to say what I want to say. I just think it’s wrong to have an abortion. It’s not a choice, it’s killing an innocent life. My son died at 18.5 weeks gestation. And my doctor was able to deliver him through surgery (an abortion) because they didn’t want to induce me, and risk me losing my uterus. (I had a previous c-section and they feared uterine rupture.) I’m forever grateful that I was able to have that procedure to save my life. But my son’s life had already passed. This is different than terminating a healthy child. As in your case, Ames had died, and I cried that day for you. I felt your grief, as I have also lost a son. The ethical oath doctors take would always keep you safe – first, to do no harm. The patient is first. They have to do everything they can. I wish I could write and express my feelings as well as you.

  84. Carolyn Bahm says:

    I already disagreed with McCain’s views on reproductive rights, and your eloquent post underscored my opinion and added an exclamation point. I linked to this post from my Twitter account, cbahm.

    Thanks for writing about something so personal — you’re making a difference.

  85. Chris says:

    Wow. I had this forwarded to me today. The power of your writing is like a kick to the chest. This is the first time I’ve read your blog, but I’m going to subscribe now. Thank you so much for expressing this much more eloquently than I ever could.

  86. cindy w says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I was just arguing Roe v. Wade with someone yesterday, and your post just made my point a thousand times better than I ever could.

  87. Cat says:

    I wrote a post about McCain’s obvious disdain for women after the debate, but you said it so much better. I’m going to link to this on both my sites.

  88. Christy says:

    This topic scares the sh!t out of me, even though I won’t ever have to be the pregnant woman making difficult decisions again.

    Alexa, you write so beautifully, from the heart, and I appreciate all of what you’ve said! (and Scott, same to you.)

    I hope in (less than) 3 weeks we will feel relief because the Senator from Arizona and the Governor from Alaska keep their current jobs.

  89. Karen says:

    Boy your uterus HATES you. Stop breeding already you factory of death. Jesus Christ! If this happens to you and you continue to try then stop whining about it! Adopt. There are plenty of wonderful children waiting for their chance with a good family!

    Uggghhhh you white trash

  90. casey says:

    Thanks for your very personal experience. McCain is making many an enemy out of women just by the disrespectful way he is talking about the issue, never mind the issue itself.

  91. stellare says:

    I can’t believe they attack abortion again. Calling themselves pro-life and sends their own sons to kill or be killed totally reveals their hidden agendas that has nothing to do with the value of life at all.

    Having to deal with the issue of abortion is hard enough as it is if not phycophants on a powertrip want to terrorize your mind and body as well.

    Let women be the judges of what is right and wrong for them. Nobody else has the competence and certainly not the compassion to do so!

  92. Flicka says:

    Karen #155…Simone came from that “factory of death” and she is so gloriously, wondrously alive. Doesn’t she count as one of those wonderful children who belong in a great family? But you know, by your logic Alexa and Scott are just white trash anyway so they probably shouldn’t adopt. They aren’t such a great family after all. Better get those poor orphans to a better home. Speaking of, how many orphans have you adopted lately?

    Also, I’ll thank you not to bring Jesus into it. I don’t think he endorses your commentary. But he does love you sweetie and that’s a good thing because you won’t find anyone else here who even likes you.

  93. Teresa Peterson says:

    I think you overreacted to what he said. The politics of all this makes me ill. I will vote for McCain as I agree with his morals but God knows there are exceptions when other issues come into play like yours. Also, his choice of Palin makes you think he disrespects women ? How sad…Polotics as usual.

  94. Rachel says:

    Alexa – thank you for sharing your very personal story and your eloquent words. I found your site through a friend’s link and hope its alright with you that I intend to share it out with others. It speaks to something people don’t often think about, and I feel its important to change that.
    Best wishes

  95. Sue says:

    I was directed to your blog from Dooce. I was glad to find it because I am the mom to a 25 week 1 lb 1 oz preemie girl born 12/26 – we lost her sweet baby brother 45 minutes after birth because his sac had been ruptured thanks to the amniocentesis for 6 weeks and therefore his lungs didn’t develop properly. I look forward to reading old and new posts.

  96. Leslee Graves says:

    I think you have a lot of guilt behind your response. I also think you read into the debate a little too far. There was no disrepect for women in his answer but I do beleive most people are more concerned for animal rights than human rights including babies who do not have a voice.

  97. Kara says:

    On a lighter note…
    “I hate the colonel with his wee biddy eyes…”
    –So I Married an Ax Murderer
    Good enought reason for me to dislike him. McCain’s eyes give me the creeps.

  98. Jane says:

    Wow. Dooce posted a link to your blog, and she only took a little bit totally out of context. It actually really got on my nerves, and I came over here to comment (seemed like comments were closed there). But it was a completely different post once I read the whole thing. You have my sympathies for your situation. Too bad Dooce has such an agenda that she had to pull things out of context.

  99. Keith says:

    To #89 Elizabeth: (although already derided appropriately by Scott) I’m amazed at your lack of capacity for understanding triage, given where you work. Medical decisions often involve very difficult and painful choices regarding life and death. By your “logic”, resources should be expended on saving a life that has virtually zero chance of continuing, at the expense of one with a much greater chance (and, one that could once again attempt to produce another life). We’d lose a lot more wonderful lives in this world if we followed that line of thinking.

    It’s not “killing” a baby, as you anti-choice types contend so often. In Alexa’s case, and in far too many others, it’s a tough medical decision. To put it as you did at the end of your post is so insulting to these folks and what they’ve gone through, you should be ashamed of yourself – despite your alleged sympathy for their suffering.

  100. Syndee says:

    I got your link from Dooce’s website — I was one of those 60’s women who fought for our rights to choose. Your experience was devastating and I certainly hear the pain in your words. How can another not hear the depth that it goes to? I don’t believe you ever were actually in the situation where you even had a choice. You certainly would have died along with the baby. You chose to live! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  101. amanda says:

    Karen, #155 – I don’t like to be baited, but I cannot let this go… there are not words for how horrible you are and I hope the hate you have tried to express comes back to you tenfold, every single day.

    #164 – Just one of the many ways in which your comment is uninformed is that McCain’s record on women’s rights across the board indicates his disdain for women. He called his own wife a cunt… that pretty much says it all.

  102. Alison says:

    I also came to your blog from dooce’s website, and just wanted to say how moved I was by this. These are dreadful, complicated, horrendously difficult decisions all round. I admire you hugely for writing about it.

  103. Lorell says:

    Directed here from bitchphd.

    Truly moving post, Alexis

    To #161 Yes, choosing Palin indicates a lack of respect for women, as in any stupid bimbo will do, turn them upside down and they’re all the same.

    And, one last, off topic-language fascist thing: “bravo” is the masculine form, for women use “brava”.

    Brava, Alexis, bravo, scott!

  104. Lorell says:

    Also, #161. McPain was pretty dismissive of Lily Ledbetter’s equal pay demand, as was the Supreme Court.

    And, um, polotics?

  105. I’ve followed your story since you were at the 20 week mark and your experience and the amazing story of Simone’s survival. I’m an erratic commenter at best, but I had to put my hand up after reading this post. You have beautifully (and eloquently) built a case that explains better than I ever could that these decisions are never, ever easy or simple to make. They are fraught with complexity. Too often people muddle position with interests. Taking a position that abortion is wrong or right is far too limited to deal with all the factors at play. Tough decisions such as the ones you and Scott faced require you to look at everyone’s interests – the outcomes for all involved while taking into account all possible actions and making a choice for the best one for you. And it is not possible or practicable for the government to have an interest that overrides your freedom to choose in these circumstances.

    Keep up the good work!

  106. Thank you. You took the shock that I felt and turned it into a beautifully crafted post. It’s shocking that this is still an issue, and shocking that in THIS presidential race in particular, when a woman was very close to being the nominee and when another woman (although I intensely dislike her) is the VP nominee, is still such an issue.

  107. Erica Hennings says:

    I was directed here from Dooce. I appreciate you being able to be so open and honest about such a private matter. It takes women like you, who make a stand, for there to be CHANGE. Thanks.

  108. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your story. McCain’s words were horrifying and one can only hope this will come back to haunt him. And, that Obama will live up to his promise to protect women’s rights, and the rights of children to the best, healthiest lives we can give them. SplendidMarbles

  109. charlotte says:

    Came here from Dooce, too, and WOW! your story really touched me, since I had a pre-eclampsia scare at about week 25 (I’m now at 32 1/2, and everything’s sorta fine) and had nightmares about what happened to you running through my head as I was driving to the emergency room. You must have been beside yourself … sending you a big hug.

    And yeah, I’d never vote for McCain. I’d like my daughter to have the choice whether and when to get pregnant–the same choice I am exercising now.

  110. cindy says:

    wonderful post. i first came across it on dooce. i know people who have had to deal with abortion very early on in their pregnancies and it was not a picnic for them. having said that, i can’t even imagine the heartache that you must have endured.

  111. echoroc says:

    I, too, was led here by dooce, and thankful I am for that fact. Heather did a good thing by commenting on this, and you, Alexa, did an even better thing by sharing your story.
    The issue of abortion, and people’s reactions to it, take on a new and more meaningful hue when put into a narrative like yours. We all may not agree about when and where, but there’s no doubt that your story has a unifying effect.

    Obama ’08 (duh)

  112. Krismom says:

    Thank you for sharing your story through this moving and eloquent post!! As a mom who has lost 3 babies during pregnancy (at 6, 11, and 14wks), had 2 C-sections, and a pregnancy at age 17, I can absolutely understand how complex an issue this is.

    My last miscarriage almost cost me my life – if I hadn’t had my cell phone with me I would likely not be writing this today.

    One point I wanted to mention too, especially to those pro-lifers who claim to be all about the well-being of the children – What about the children who would be left behind if the mother were to die or be impaired because of pregnancy complications??? How would you explain to them that you feel that the life of an unborn baby was more valuable, was worth more, than the life of the one who tucks them in every night?

    Not even that, but some seem to go as far as to say that upholding the “moral value” of an anti-abortion stance and refusing to terminate a pregnancy *even if there’s a 0% chance of survival of the fetus* is worth more than the life of a person?

    It is obvious to me that the law *must* allow for the option of terminating a pregnancy to save the life of the mother. Otherwise the government is sentencing innocent women to death by imposing their (religious-based) views upon others.

    I am shocked that anyone (let alone someone vying for a seat running a country!!) could brush women’s health aside in this fashion!! and I hope this post (as well as the other well-spoken posts leading to and from it) help to inspire women to vote against McCain in the election!

    I wish I could cast my vote to help in the US, especially as my votes in Canada for the New Democratic Party don’t seem to have been helpful in bringing out our Conservative gov’t. :(

  113. Michelle says:

    I came this way via Dooce and I just had to say that your post spoke volumes to me.

    I am proudly voting for Obama-Biden, but after McCain’s remarks (and if I were Republican) I would definitely be changing sides.

  114. kelly says:

    Hey Alexa! I wrote a response to this on my blog if you’re interested – I’m so glad you wrote this – and hope that this really changes people’s thinking…

  115. Andrea Burnett says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing such a deeply heartfelt and genuine piece. My mother had preeclampsia while pregnant with me I was delivered almost 2 months early, weighing just over 2 pounds. I’m now a happy healthy 21 year-old. And thank god my mom was able to make her own medical decisions without any interference from the government. Thank you so much for sharing.

  116. Katie says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I call myself pro-choice, but take issues with the “late term abortion.” But this post makes me realize I just don’t understand all of the scenarios that can arise, and when I say I’m against late term abortion, I suppose what I’m imagining is a woman who had six months to decide whether or not she wanted the baby and now she’s waited too long. But obviously, I am ignorant to the myriad of circumstances that can arise. I need people like you to keep telling these stories so I can understand and learn. Thank you again.

  117. alyssa says:


    came over from cecily and am profoundly touched by your story. women like you (and julie) are the women we need speaking out for the rest of us.

    #57, knot, it’s nice that you have this view. did you know what other religions–judaism, for example–believe that life begins when the child is born. you can’t even religiously mourn a fetus. (emotionally, yes. with actions, no). i guess freedom of religion doesn’t apply to those who aren’t christian.

  118. Jennifer says:

    I finally found words that describe my deep discomfort with the Republican women’s health agenda in that last paragraph. Your story is very touching and very effectively illustrates the complexity of something so many have misguidedly reduced to For vs. Against.

  119. polly says:

    The “women’s health” comment by McCain was in poor taste. While I wouldn’t call this an “abortion” exactly, I wish people would understand the horror women go through when faced with a decision like this. The rhetoric on both sides isn’t helping to progress the issue. Thanks for your bravery with sharing this story!

  120. mike says:

    We can never understand all the scenarios that can arise with any given pregnancy. But we are creating a culture of disregard for others lives. Whether it be war or abortion or violence in school and movies and video games. Have you ever held a baby and seen the amazing life within that child and ever see a premature baby fight for what little life they have been given? Can we not find some common ground, if for noone else’s but the babies? Alas the selfishness is pervasive. I know many couples that yearn for children, if you cannot care for the baby. Someone else can!

  121. Jemima says:

    Until John McCain can have a baby and all the risks that a pregnancy incurs, he can keep his trollish legislation out of my uterus. What else will women not be able to do when he’s president? Raise our children without his intervention? Vote? Remember to breathe in and out? We don’t need his compassion or direction.

    If that man wins, I’m moving away.

  122. Jennifer says:

    Alexa: I almost never comment but thank you for writing this. Thank you.

    #155: a) shut the hell up. b) clearly you just drove by this particular post to rant because Alexa has blogged extensively about her post-Simone birth control choices you jerk c) shut the hell up

  123. Sue says:

    I’m not from your country but I do follow the politics, and yes, thanks for the point you’ve made. I think it’s equally valid in my own country.

  124. Anne says:

    This is so well written and well stated. Thank you for posting it. I will forward it to everyone I know.

    I posted a video on youtube titled: an honest question for McCain & Palin. It is about my experience with a baby who was dying.

    Everyone who likes it, please forward the URL to friends, family, other blogs, and TV news stations in your area. We need to raise awareness for everyone on this issue, and not just talk amoung ourselves.

  125. Judy says:

    Please, abortion is murder. Plain and simple. My condolences to you on the loss of a child. Does it make it the loss easier though if you are the one making the decison to end a life? I would think not. But hey, let’s just let the baby come half way out and then suck his/her brains out.

  126. Michelle says:

    Thank you for this post. I really hope it does open some minds that otherwise were completely sealed shut on this issue.

    To Judy #201-The only thing plain and simple is your reasoning ability. Clearly you didn’t read this post with any sort of open mind.

    To JuliaKB #137-Thank you for a new term in my vocabulary to combat the “pro-life” misnomer which is truly, as you said, more accurately called pro-birth. The same folks who are so adamant that all babies be born under all circumstances are then completely indignant when those children (now an inarguably viable life)need health care and other basic needs and their parents cannot provide them. At that point, those kids are on their own, and there better not be any tax dollars going to “programs” that will ensure those children grow up to be productive members of society. That’s just redistribution of wealth, right?. How exactly does one survive (without going mad) with so much cognitive dissonance?? I don’t know.

  127. Warren Dew says:

    Why does choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate indicate that McCain doesn’t think much of women?

    Okay, I admit I thought that at first, too. But after looking into it a bit – I was an undecided voter – I found that:

    – She’s a woman who refused to sacrifice her family to her career

    – She’s a woman who refused to sacrifice her career to her family

    – While the press has managed to present her as a bimbo, if one actually looks at her positions and record, they seem fairly well thought out, if conservative.

    Here are her positions on abortion from what seems to me a slightly liberal leaning site:

    Mostly she says she’s “pro-life”, which I can’t imagine would mean she would require both you and a fetus to die in preference to having only the fetus die, even if she thinks of it as an “unborn child”. Point 9 says “Palin said she would support abortion only if the mother’s life was in danger”, which it would certainly be in your hypothetical situation.

    I don’t think McCain is thinking about the situation you describe, though I do think it would be good for someone to explain it to him. I think McCain is talking about an irresponsible teenager that is in denial until month 7, then gets an ID&E of a perfectly healthy fetus because the ID&E has less risk to the mother than a normal delivery, which makes it “healthier”.

    As it happens, I’m personally sufficiently proabortion to want to let the irresponsible teenager abort, whether by ID&E or PD&E, because I don’t think unwanted children are a good idea. On the other hand, I can also understand how others might feel that the “safe haven” bill Palin signed would be a better solution.

    Have you read the descriptions of what late term abortions are like? The fetus still has to come out, dead or alive. For ID&E – the one that the Supreme Court upheld the ban on – the mother is dosed with pitocin, inducing labor, and the fetus is delivered breech up to the neck. At this point the fetus’ skull is punctured and the brain suctioned out to reduce the head size so it is easier to remove. Given the choice between that and trying to get Simone’s head out whole and alive, would you truly have decided to do the “intrauterine cranial decompression”, which is the other name for ID&E?

    Maybe you would have, and I certainly wouldn’t fault you for that. On the other hand, you still really love and treasure Simone, despite subsequent trials and tribulations, even if it means you might need to learn a new language to teach her. I think you might have taken the chance.

    Anyway, I hope Simone’s current issue turns out to be temporary, and in any case, she is still a beautiful and healthy baby, and best wishes to you both.

  128. Laura says:

    I admire your last entry on McCain. Well written, I agree and support your words. I want to know when did pro-choice turn into pro-abortion? I missed the boat somewhere…McCain/Palin scare and disgust me. Thank you for speaking up.

  129. ~summer~ says:

    Super powerful real life example, taking the situation from idealistic rhetoric to an actual circumstance. So many things in this life are not black and white. Very eloquent – I share your anger at the dismissiveness of McCain on this issue. Thanks for sharing.

  130. Lindsey says:

    I just wanted to say that it is awful what you went through, and I know from experience how tough and heartwrenching the pregnancy-in-the-making process is. I hoped to speak on behalf of pro-lifers in that I don’t believe it has or ever will be the hope for a struggling mother to lose her life over that of the child and I in NO WAY support that. I do believe that there is a way to outlaw “abortions of convenience,” protect mothers in danger, deliver an deceased fetus AND do it without chopping up a baby. Thank you for sharing your story.

  131. But we can’t outlaw abortions of “convenience” until we educate and equip the public on using birth control.

    Just had to comment on that last comment.

    Thank you for sharing this… it’s incredible to read because I too was INFURIATED when McCain so flippantly spoke of the mother’s heath during the debate.

  132. fourpetalledlily says:

    I was referred here by a friend.

    Let me say first that I have the greatest sympathy for the losses of the children that have been sustained here.

    I have given birth to three children. I have had three abortions. I have miscarried once, at about ten weeks along. Seven in six years.

    I was on birth control every. single. time. I got pregnant. At the outset of every pregnancy I was miserable, because after the first one I knew what was coming. I knew I was going to be sick. I knew that my joints would give way and put me into a wheelchair, and I would lose thirty to forty pounds being nauseated. More than that, though, I was going to be insane. Not insane enough to be locked up, but insane enough to be dangerous to my marriage and to the child I already had and to myself.

    I have never regretted any choice. I have regretted being in the position in which the choices are all bad.

    Some women who have second-trimester abortions are women who have had to travel a couple hundred miles and save up a thousand dollars on a minimum-wage salary to get to an abortion provider out of state, or across the state, thanks to the anti-abortion effort to make it very difficult for a clinic to practice, or have outlawed it in their city or state. I live in a state that has outlawed second-trimester abortions. I have had women come to me and ask me what herbs they can take, not caring that the herbal remedies can poison and kill you in the process. Women die because they can’t access care.

    I don’t want any woman to die because she can’t afford to have a safe abortion. I don’t want any woman to die because she can’t get the medical assistance to keep her alive and her fertility intact when a wanted pregnancy goes terribly wrong. I don’t want any woman to die because her labor goes wrong. I don’t want any child to come into this world unwanted and unloved.

    I hope someday we can manage to work, if not together, at least side by side, to make sure that all of us women are taken care of.

  133. Kathryn says:

    This was such a wonderfully thought out and passionate post. It goes so much deeper than the yes/no surface debate that most people would like to have. I have always felt that people should have a right to choose what they do with their lives; therefore women should be able to choose on this issue.

    I also loved how you point out that he would also not ensure that your child would have health insurance. There are so many wonderful points in your post. Thank you so much for writing it!

  134. Alisha says:

    My husband is a police officer and he has done guard duty at an abortion clinic that does late term abortions. Yes, some women come in because of medical reasons, but the majority of them come in because they had a fight with the father and have decided they no longer want a child. Some as late as 28 weeks, past the viability point, but still legal. You and other like you may not be like those people, but people do get late term abortions for selfish reasons. I do believe that there needs to be more regulation on abortions done after 12 weeks. I know of many responsible and loving families that are practically dying to have a baby, any baby. Be it black, white, hispanic, asian or mentally impaired. There would be a home for those aborted children who were perfectly healthy and no danger to their mothers, just to their mothers figures. (Another one my husband hears, “I just can’t take the weight I’m putting on”)

  135. jen b. says:

    Very well said and heart-wrenching to read. Every woman in this country should be outraged by the agenda a McCain/Palin administration would surely seek to further if they are elected.

  136. Marisa says:

    Very well said! I’m currently pregnant and thought perhaps my view would change once I was going through this situation… No, it has not. No one has the right to tell a woman what is best for her and her health.

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  139. rzn93 says:

    I just got home from an amazing run in the gorgeouvs sunshine outside on a chillaxious Friday and I was once again reminded of how beautiful and easy our lives are.

    We spend so much time complaining and bickering about basically non-existent problems and sometimes we forget how awesome it is to be here. Sure, tragedies do exist (check out the drunk driving thread for some sad examples), but generally life is easy. If those young adults who were killed by drunk drivers were able to speak from the grave, the first thing they’d say is that life is short, so enjoy it. They really are proof of how short it can be.

    Some personal examples of my life being beautifucl:

    -Just spend a week in Canmore helping paint my friend’s million dollar home, while mountain biking, drinking, and getting free room and board. And I even got paid for it!

    -Lost my wallet three times so far. Everytime it has been returned. One time I lost it in Edmonton with $70 cash inside, and when it was returned the cash was still in it! (minor miracle, especially in Edmonton!)

    -Lost my passport in NZ while on a crazy adventurhe. Got my new passport in the mail the day before my flight back to Canada!

    -The economy is finally starting to turn around. So far this week I’ve saved about $200 in travel expenses thanks to the rising Canadian dollar!

    -Going to Spain in September for $116 thanks to cmyden and his amazinhg travel deal!

    -And we can all agree that the Flames getting Bouwmeester for nothing is something we as a group can celebrate! hrfbvi

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