My Abortion Seemed Routine. Two Years After Dobbs, It No Longer Does.

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I Can’t Stop Reliving My AbortionSAUL LOEB - Getty Images

On the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, EMILYs List president Jessica Mackler opens up for the first time about her own abortion story in an exclusive essay for ELLE.


Like so many others, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I watched in horror as devastation immediately began hitting people across the country: a 10-year-old who traveled out of her home state for an abortion, a woman sent home to bleed for over 10 days after miscarrying, and patients nationwide being forced to wait until their lives were on the line before doctors could treat them.

My abortion was nothing like theirs.

At eight weeks pregnant, I began bleeding. I rushed to see my doctor, who could no longer find the heartbeat we heard at my last appointment. After learning about the loss and the best path forward medically, I was offered the choice between a surgical or medication abortion—both of which would help prevent severe bleeding and infection. Three days later, I was in the hospital for my procedure. I returned home to begin healing, both physically and emotionally.

It was an experience full of anguish and heartbreak over our pregnancy loss, but it was also an experience full of empathetic and standard medical care.

Over the last two years, I’ve relived my abortion more times than I had in the eight years preceding them. In the wake of this post-Roe devastation, the experience has become even more raw. Because the fact is, my needs then were not all that different from so many other Americans’ needs now. Out of approximately five million pregnancies in the United States each year, one million end in miscarriage. Half of those patients will require an abortion to preserve their health and well-being.

Only now, thanks to a conservative Supreme Court stacked by Donald Trump, people going through the same tragic loss no longer have the options that I did. They are forced to fight for routine medical care during their most vulnerable moments, at risk of hemorrhage or deadly infections, while doctors withhold essential and readily available health care—all at the directive of extremist Republicans who sit thousands of miles away on Capitol Hill.

And soon, things could get even worse.

supreme court hears idaho abortion law challenge
Abortion access supporters rally outside the Supreme Court in D.C. on April 24. Andrew Harnik - Getty Images

The Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could allow hospitals to deny life-saving abortion care to patients who are at risk of disability or severe bodily harm. Just like the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade did two years ago, this Supreme Court decision could also immediately jeopardize the health of millions.

The reality is jarring, yet simple: The people we elect this November will mean the difference between life and death.

Our country’s current state of chaos and cruelty is the direct result of Republicans like Donald Trump, who have decimated abortion access and will only add fuel to the fire if given the power to do so. They have signaled their extreme plans to pass a national abortion ban, restrict access to birth control, and erect other brutal barriers that push fundamental health care further and further out of reach for millions, if elected.

We are in the midst of a dire crisis—and there’s only one way out. In the face of growing attacks on all aspects of our reproductive health care, we need the representation of Democratic, pro-choice women who know what’s at stake and will fight tooth and nail to protect our rights. For 40 years, EMILYs List has worked to secure that representation, helping to elect women at all levels who staunchly defend abortion, birth control, and IVF.

Women like Arizona state Sen. Eva Burch, who was turned away from the hospital while miscarrying; Florida congressional candidate Lucia Báez-Geller, who has had an abortion; and Nevada U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, who used IVF to conceive her children. These are the kinds of candidates who can lead our fight for true reproductive freedom, because they know what we have to lose when the government interferes in our personal health care decisions.

Even as a majority of Americans continue to support access to abortion care, some political leaders lie and try to hide their clear agendas against abortion, birth control, and IVF. But voters won’t be fooled. If we want to see real change, to regain the rights we’ve lost, and to protect the millions of women whose lives are currently at the whim of extremists, then we need to win this November.

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