In 2019, I was pregnant with my second child, Cameron. My husband and I had recently closed on our new home in Maine, and our daughter was thrilled she’d soon be a big sister.

A supporter of abortion rights holds a sign that reads “Trust Women!” during a rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington in 2018, as the court heard arguments in a free speech fight over California’s attempt to regulate anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press, File

But then I went in for a routine ultrasound. In the 32nd week of a normal pregnancy, the scan revealed that Cameron had a deadly form of skeletal dysplasia, a problem with bone growth that results from a random, rare gene mutation. Since his normal 20-week anatomy scan, he had broken several bones, and his rib cage was too small for his lungs to fill with air. Cameron was suffering, and if he survived birth, he would not be able to breathe.

I remember crying and apologizing to our doctor, who did her best to comfort me and inform us of the reality we faced. We were allowed to decide whether or not Cameron would continue to suffer.

However, because of how far along I was, I couldn’t access the care I needed in Maine. As strong as Maine’s abortion law is, it still leaves people like me without options. We had to travel away from our home, our daughter and our support systems to end my pregnancy.

Days later, my husband and I walked through bulletproof glass doors into an abortion clinic in Colorado. That day, my son’s suffering ended. Over the next three days, the providers carefully induced labor, and I was able to deliver my son’s body. My husband and I thanked the young doctor for taking this job, despite the death threats his mentor has received, and the fact that others have been murdered for providing this vital medical care.

We were able to hold Cameron, and tell him we loved him. We said goodbye, and we grieved. Since then, I’ve given birth to a third child, and that is because I had the right to make the decision to have an abortion.


Over the past three years, I have come forward to share my story to help people understand the complexity of abortion. Abortions are medical procedures that happen for a variety of reasons. It is impossible for politicians to regulate every medical aspect and complication of pregnancy. When they do, women and their families suffer.

Without Roe v. Wade guaranteeing federal protections for abortion, the news is filled with stories of women forced into sepsis because their hospital didn’t think they were dying enough to get an abortion; of people experiencing miscarriage being denied care because they live in a state that bans abortion, of victims of incest and their medical providers being threatened by elected officials.

Laws are written by those we elect. State legislators across the country are passing laws that criminalize health care providers and force pregnant people and their families to endure physical, emotional and financial burdens simply to access essential health care.

We are not immune to these attacks in Maine. Lawmakers in Augusta introduced a slew of bills during last year’s legislative session that would have severely restricted our reproductive health care and freedoms. Thankfully, Mainers had elected a majority of leaders who refused to let those bills become law. And as my situation demonstrates, no matter who is in office, there is still progress to be made.

When I think about voting in the coming election, I think about Cameron. I think about my family’s experience. I think about the other women who have shared their stories with me, and I think about how the outcome of this election will determine the fate of every Mainer’s right to make private medical decisions without interference from politicians.

On Nov. 8, I ask that you remember my family as well as yours. Our rights and freedoms are on the ballot. It is up to us to stand up and vote like our rights and our lives depend on it, because this election, they do.

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