Pregnant, Parenting and Running for Office: The Ms. Q&A With Erin Maye Quade

As a Black queer woman in politics, Erin Maye Quade has faced her share of obstacles, but one of the most demoralizing was when members of her own party refused to suspend balloting between she and her opponent when she went into labor.

Maye Quade spoke to Ms. about her experience at the convention, what it means for women in politics and why she’s not giving up.

The Overturn of Roe Could Mean the End of Fertility Medicine

Without the protections of Roe, we stand to see gross inequalities in fertility care and reproductive decision-making.

State laws defining ‘life’ as the moment an egg is fertilized will limit or prohibit the freezing or discarding of embryos—a process fundamental to successful fertility treatments. These practices could all but vanish in some places. These restrictions emerge at a moment where fertility technology is becoming ever more precise. Combined with existing anti-poor fertility policies, the reality is that poor women of color will have even less opportunity to determine the time and circumstance in which they decide to have a family.

Making ‘Impregnators’ Pay Their Fair Share

Long before a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealed that by summer Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned, only pregnant people bore the burden of pregnancy—not just physically, but also financially. “Impregnators” have always had the choice to walk away. Sure, they could be on the hook for child support after birth—but what if they could be held responsible for their actions before, from the moment of conception, just as the pregnant person is?

That question led two Pennsylvania state representatives to begin drafting a law to hold impregnators accountable.

Unborn Who? Pregnancy Discrimination at COVID Vaccine Sites Signals How Expanded Conscience Rights Prioritize Control, Not Life

Women throughout the country reported showing up to their vaccine appointments only to be subjected to off-cuff, discriminatory treatment by professionals providing the vaccine, even as evidence mounted that the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and recommended for pregnant women, while COVID-19 was proving particularly dangerous in pregnancy, increasing the rate of severe complications including stillbirth. Some providers singled pregnant women out, requiring doctor’s notes; others refused to vaccinate them altogether.

As individual rights to deny medical care on religious or moral grounds expand, no one is safe from discrimination in medical care—not even the “unborn.” We should all understand our right to be free from gender-based discrimination in medical settings.

Overturning Roe Creates More Barriers for Asylum-Seekers and Immigrants

Hostile state or federal laws that ban or restrict abortion and criminalize pregnancy outcomes could have yet another devastating impact: threatening eligibility for legal immigration status and undermining efforts to create more equitable and humane immigration laws.

The politics of immigration and the politics of choice will continue to collide as extreme lawmakers cynically trade the reproductive health of immigrant and non-citizen women for political gain.

The Feminist Legislator Behind Title IX

One of the visionaries behind Title IX—the federal legislation passed in 1972 that mandates gender equality in education—was a fierce and fearless congresswoman from Hawaii, Patsy Takemoto Mink. As Congress’s first woman of color and a 1972 presidential aspirant, Mink served 24 years in Congress, from 1965–1977 and then again from 1990–2002. Mink broke traditional gender boundaries, championed peace, the environment, equality and social justice, and never wavered as an advocate and ally for social change.