by Kellen Squire
As many of us predicted and feared would happen, the end of Roe v Wade was only the beginning of the right’s attempts to rollback civil liberties and reproductive freedom. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joesph Stern discuss the next step in that process: getting a single judge to make abortion pills illegal nationally on no pretext whatsoever:
In the coming weeks, there is a very real possibility that Kacsmaryk will single-handedly outlaw medication abortion in all 50 states, massively disrupting access to reproductive health care across the entire country. Worse, there is a substantial likelihood that higher courts—including the Supreme Court—will let him get away with it.
I suggest you read the article, but the implications are staggering: not only would a single judge unilaterally outlaw an incredibly safe (literally 18 times safer than childbirth!) medication, but in doing so, would fundamentally make other options incredibly less safe.
Which, of course, is a feature; not a bug.
So I just wanted to shed some light on this from my personal experience as an ER Nurse, so you can avoid being gaslit by whatever gish-gallop comes out of the mouths of Republicans to try and rationalize this in the name of “keeping women safe”.
In the twelve years I’ve worked as an ER Nurse, some back of the napkin math tells me that I’ve (conservatively) seen and helped treat about, oh… fifteen thousand people in my community. I did this math before I decided to run for office last February, but it’s still surreal to knock on people’s doors and their eyes to brighten as they remember me from when they needed stitches or had appendicitis or their family member had a stroke.
And I’ve seen lots of different things. I saw someone who almost bled to death from opening a childproof package on Christmas day. I saw a farmer with an implement impaled through their body who waited to be seen until their chores were done (this sort of thing happens distressingly more than you probably realize in rural America). An elderly lady who waited at home having a heart attack and didn’t call 911 because she “didn’t want to be a bother”. Someone who was convinced they were bleeding to death until we discovered they’d just had an overgenerous amount of red velvet cake. I’ve been part of national news stories on more occasions than anyone knows. I’ve seen titans of our community be waylaid by cancer or strokes or Alzheimer’s and seen the dichotomy between how they were and how they are.
I’ve seen violence- what emptying an entire magazine into someone does to their body, the results of multiple stabbings, attempts to sexually assault my colleagues, to harm me personally. I’ve seen trauma victims I struggle to describe and remember here. I’ve seen horrific child and domestic abuse- a fifteen-month-old with an STD, a two-year old with full body burns, a woman who listened to her abuser’s threats he’d come back and kill all the nurses in the ER if she didn’t go with him. I’ve saved lives and been unable to save lives. I’ve held people’s hands so they didn’t have to die alone. I’ve delivered babies. I have done an incredible amount as an emergency department nurse.
But I’ve never. Never. Not even one time. Seen a patient with life-threatening complications from a medical abortion. The only life-threatening complication I’ve ever seen patients have from an abortion is because they could not access the abortion care they needed in time. in a timely manner.
Abortions are a safe medical procedure. There are no two ways about it, there’s no “but what about”, there’s no hedging on that. They are safe, and anyone who tells you otherwise has an agenda to try and control women’s bodies- end of story.
That’s why I’m running for office in the first place- to make sure that perspective, that those truths, are able to be told in the General Assembly building in Richmond. I’ll be the only nurse, the only clinician who has ever performed any kind of abortion care, in our House of Delegates.
Can I make the Republicans care about this? No. But I can make them hear what they’re doing to the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. And, much more importantly, I can make sure the people of Virginia hear what is being proposed to do to them in the name of “safety”.
Kellen Squire is an emergency department nurse from Barboursville, Virginia, running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 55th District. Join us today- click here to volunteer with our grassroots campaign to flip the bluest district the Virginia GOP still holds!