When Every Miscarriage Is a Murder Scene, Poor Women Pay the Highest Price

The Alabama Supreme Court recently shocked the nation when it held that the word “child” includes frozen embryos. Treating an embryo as the equivalent of a child upends the fertility industry, as it threatens to end in vitro fertilization (IVF) services and puts the status of embryos already in storage in serious question.

While these implications are important to untangle, the brunt of the effects of fetal personhood will fall not upon families with the resources to undergo IVF, but rather on poor and non-white women. Every decision made by a pregnant person could be second-guessed by the government. Every step outside of the most risk-averse approach to pregnancy puts the pregnant person under the microscope of the state.

My Family Was Made Possible by IVF. My Heart Aches for the Women of Alabama.

For over a decade, I have been faced with constant reminders of the long and winding road it took for me to become a mother.

In the wake of last week’s Alabama Supreme Court ruling, there are very obvious places along the way where the whims of a judge who would like a Christian theocracy would supersede the wishes of myself, my husband and the suggestions of my doctors—well-educated and well-known experts in their field. 

Our Abortion Stories: ‘I’m a Registered Nurse, a Wife and a Mother. This Story Is Personal and Painful.’

“Everything was progressing normally until I went for my anatomy scan at 12 weeks. … I was a victim of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws. Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell had signed these regulations into law on July 1, 2011. I got the worst news of my life on Sept. 7, 2011. When I needed compassionate healthcare the most, I was left out in the cold to fend for myself. … I am most grateful for the beautiful, healthy daughter I conceived one year later. She changed my life in all the best ways and healed my wounded and broken heart. She is here because I had a federally protected right to make my own reproductive decisions.”

“Women and healthcare providers need Congress to do what many states have failed to do: Protect their reproductive rights by voting in support of HB 12, The Women’s Health Protection Act.” (Share your abortion story by emailing myabortionstory@msmagazine.com.)

Our Abortion Stories: ‘I Knew Something Was Wrong, But My Doctor Wouldn’t Listen’

Abortions are sought by a wide range of people for many different reasons. There is no single story. Telling stories of then and now shows how critical abortion has been and continues to be for women and girls. (Share your abortion story by emailing myabortionstory@msmagazine.com.)

Two women detail their experiences with miscarriage and abortion healthcare in this edition of Our Abortion Stories: “It was one blow after another. It turned out the doctors there wanted me to have a hysterectomy. I laughed at them.”

Keeping Score: CEO of the NRA Resigns; Texas Lawyers Call on Texas Medical Board for Abortion Guidance; Two Pending Abortion Supreme Court Cases

In every issue of Ms.., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Supreme Court agrees to hear two abortion cases this spring; sexist jokes and major wins at the Golden Globes; Brittany Watts not indicted after a miscarriage; West Virginia introduces harsh new anti-trans bills; advocates from Florida to California are working to expand abortion access; new studies on mental health during and after pregnancy; and more.

My Thanks to Dobbs

The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs has done a much better job than I ever did to raise public consciousness about the connections between abortion, pregnancy and pregnancy loss. For more than 30 years, I have tried to communicate the fact that abortion and pregnancy are not separate issues and that all people with the capacity for pregnancy—not just those seeking to end a pregnancy—would be harmed by the loss of Roe.

Dobbs however is doing a wonderful job helping people see the connections—from the state of Texas denying Kate Cox the right to end a pregnancy with a fetus that had no chance of survival, to skilled medical professionals fleeing states where they face arrest and financial ruin for providing medical care to pregnant patients.

An Open Letter to Women’s Magazine Editors: It’s Time to Save Reproductive Rights

Right-wing politicians like Ron DeSantis are ranting about the “woke” media, yet most women’s sites today stick to “traditional” female topics: beauty, shopping, fashion, shopping, relationship issues and more shopping.

Perusing the happy headlines featured on women’s media sites, their readers would have no idea that abortion bans have demolished the rights of women in 21 states, nor that the maternal mortality rate has spiked in those states. Are women’s digital media site editors living in a Barbieland bubble?

Punish, Torture, Kill: The Reality of Pregnancy in ‘Pro-Life’ America

In Ohio, a grand jury is deciding whether to charge Brittany Watts—a woman who went to the hospital twice for care when she was miscarrying, was sent home twice, and miscarried in her bathroom. She could face jail time for “abuse of a corpse,” because fetal parts were found clogged in her toilet. Watts’ case is a chilling preview of what could come: Miscarriage criminalized in myriad ways. And now, the Fifth Circuit is holding that emergency rooms do not have to provide life-saving abortions—further ensuring that women with dangerous miscarriages will simply be sent home and left to manage on their own.

At the heart of the ‘pro-life’ movement is the idea that women are put on this earth for subservience. And so this is the plan: Force women to carry pregnancies against their will.

Weaponizing the Law to Punish People for Miscarriage

A legal system that recognizes fetal personhood punishes people for their pregnancy outcomes and strips them of their rights in the name of protecting the fetus. One striking recent example comes from Texas, where the state Supreme Court recently ruled that Kate Cox could not have an emergency, life-saving abortion. And in October, an Ohio woman was charged with a felony after her miscarriage.

Miscarriage is normal. Subjecting people who have miscarriages to criminal punishment is needlessly cruel, counterproductive, and relies on a legal understanding that pregnant people are a lesser class of person.