05.04.22

ICYMI: Peters in Elle Magazine on Family Abortion Story: “It’s Such An Intensely Personal Issue…to Have Politics Get in the Middle of It is Simply Unacceptable”

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) is featured in a new ELLE Magazine story today, chronicling his conversation about his family’s personal abortion story. Peters was the first and only Senator to share his personal family story with abortion – which he discussed previously on MSNBC in October 2020 during the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation process.

 ELLE Magazine Excerpt:

“With abortion rights under attack, ELLE brought together five members of Congress perhaps most qualified to discuss the issue—because they’ve been there themselves.

“It’s been nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade established the constitutional right to have an abortion in the United States. Today, millions of Americans are facing a potential future without that protection. It was reported on Monday that the Supreme Court has already privately voted to strike down Roe, per a leak of the initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico. If the decision gets published as-is, most likely this summer, around half the states in the country are poised to ban abortion. Over the last few years, states have been passing ‘trigger laws,’ which make abortion illegal as soon as the Court allows it. Some states have also been voting in favor of a record number of other restrictions, including imposing patient waiting periods, burdening clinics with costly and medically unnecessary requirements aimed at shutting them down, and the policy du jour among Republicans: banning abortions at various points pre-viability—as early as six weeks, before most people even know they are pregnant.

 “Abortion remains legal, for now. But as we prepare for a nation without Roe, ELLE brought together five members of Congress who have been open about their personal experiences with abortion:

 “Representatives Cori Bush, Pramila Jayapal, Barbara Lee, and Jackie Speier, and Senator Gary Peters. The members gathered at the U.S. Capitol in February to discuss how to protect abortion access. Of the 536 members of the current Congress, these five are the only ones to have gone on the record with their abortion stories; there are likely many more, given that recent estimates have found that nearly one in four women in the U.S. will have an abortion in their lifetime.

 “These members chose to participate in ELLE’s historic roundtable discussion because they know the power that comes from making the political personal. In sharing their own stories, they are giving a voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who, each year, for hundreds of thousands of reasons, choose to have an abortion. Abortion patients are your neighbors, your friends, your colleagues, and, yes, even your elected officials. Below, in their own words, they discuss why abortion rights are so essential.

ELLEMag

 Link to ELLE Magazine video here.

 Sen. Peters: [My then-wife and I] were expecting a second child, a child that we wanted and were looking forward to bringing into the world. But toward the end of the second trimester, her water broke. We knew something was really wrong. The physician said, “There’s no way this fetus can survive.” But because there was a faint fetal heartbeat, he had to get approval from the hospital board. And I’ll never forget listening to the message on the answering machine as he said, “I’m very sorry to say the hospital refused my request.” He said he was fearful that my wife had an infection, and that if she waited any longer to have an abortion she could lose her uterus. He said, “If you wait even longer, you’ll lose your life.” We were fortunate a friend of ours is an administrator at a different hospital, and he was able to get us in immediately.

 Peters: I was surprised at how many men came to me as well that said, “I went through this as well with my wife.” We don’t talk about it, but because we don’t talk about it, and we keep it in ourselves, it just eats away at us as well. It’s such a complex issue. It’s such an intensely personal issue, and to have politics get in the middle of it—to get hard-and-fast rules make decisions for people in one of the most vulnerable times that they will probably ever have in their life—is simply unacceptable.

 For full story click here.

This conversation has been abridged and edited for clarity. A version of this article appears in the May 2022 issue of ELLE.