Halsey on the End of Roe v. Wade

When, on June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—swiftly stripping pregnant people across the country of the constitutional right to an abortion—Vogue put out a call for responses, reflecting all the rage (and determination) that that harrowing decision generated. This is one.

I gave birth to my son on July 14, 2021. It was a beautiful labor. I sat back, knees apart, with my partner by my side and laughed my way through delivering him. I was puzzled by the absence of tears; the hysterical euphoria was not what I had anticipated. 

I had been flanked by nurses and doctors in a bed like this before, heaving through sobs and feeling blood trickle down my thighs like tiny spiders under my skin. I miscarried three times before my 24th birthday. It seemed a cruel irony that I could get pregnant with ease but struggled to maintain a pregnancy. One of my miscarriages required “aftercare,” a gentle way of saying that I would need an abortion, because my body could not terminate the pregnancy completely on its own and I would risk going into sepsis without medical intervention. During this procedure, I cried. I was afraid for myself and I was helpless. I was desperate to end the pregnancy that was threatening my life. 

I thought back to this moment for a fleeting second as my son entered the world. There was the same sterile smell. The same white sheets and unnerving noises of beeping and commotion. But when Ender was born, the world went silent. My body, which I had loathed for years for routinely “failing,” had done everything right. I shed a single tear in the exhaustion of post-labor. A tear of happiness that my body knew exactly what to do. My life’s long chapter of miscarriages and abortions was reduced to a page in that moment. It was simply divided into “before” this moment and all things that would come after it. Years of blood and pain and misery from near-perilous and unwanted pregnancies, then the euphoria of chosen motherhood. 

I rewrote my will during the third trimester of my pregnancy. After my past experiences, I was prepared for the worst. I gave detailed instructions regarding the donation of my organs should I die or be declared brain-dead, meaning if my heart beat on but my brain wasn’t functioning, the state would have permission to cut into my warm and still flush flesh and take my organs to save other lives. How funny that while my own heart would amount to nothing more than a series of involuntary movements on an operating table, a beating heart in my womb could mean I couldn’t consent to saving my own life. 

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https://www.vogue.com/article/my-abortion-saved-my-life-roe-v-wade-halsey, Vogue

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