Welcome to our new website!
July 2, 2022

Abortion in a Post Roe v Wade America

Abortion in a Post Roe v Wade America

Being pro-choice doesn't mean ignoring the emotional impact of abortion. In the wake of our nation losing the protections provided by Roe versus Wade, Coup Save America features special guest Kelsey Walker, who shares tragic stories and valuable insights about abortion laws, social stigmas, and the true impact on the lives of women who, for many different reasons, make the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. Kelsey talks to Sean about her work fighting for reproductive rights in Washington DC and about publishing a heartbreaking memoir describing the pain of losing her much-wanted daughter when abortion was the only reasonable choice for both mother and child. At the end of the program, Kelsey is joined by Carolanne Miller, a special guest who has suffered the emotional backlash of an abortion she had as a teenager over fifty years ago. As Carolanne shares her story, Kelsey demonstrates the counseling services offered by the non-profit organization that she founded to assist women in recovering from the various traumas brought on by the experience of abortion.

Being pro-choice doesn't mean ignoring the emotional impact of abortion. In the wake of our nation losing the protections provided by Roe versus Wade, Coup Save America features special guest Kelsey Walker, who shares tragic stories and valuable insights about abortion laws, social stigmas, and the true impact on the lives of women who, for many different reasons, make the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. Kelsey talks to Sean about her work fighting for reproductive rights in Washington DC and about publishing a heartbreaking memoir describing the pain of losing her much-wanted daughter when abortion was the only reasonable choice for both mother and child. At the end of the program, Kelsey is joined by Carolanne Miller, a special guest who has suffered the emotional backlash of an abortion she had as a teenager over fifty years ago. As Carolanne shares her story, Kelsey demonstrates the counseling services offered by the non-profit organization that she founded to assist women in recovering from the various traumas brought on by the experience of abortion.



My friends, allow me to begin this special Friday edition of Coup Save America with a hearty message of solidarity as we collectively mourn the passing of our nation's last remaining vestiges of democracy. Last week's abortion of our rights and liberties at the hands of the almighty SCOTUS Six bore a bevy of  rapaciously grotesque decisions that have ushered in the dawning of our new Theocratic States of America. One can only imagine the gruesome sight of those black-robed Justices standing over the crime scene as the waterboarded the stain of secular governance and freedom from the blood-soaked parchments of  our Constitution. These rulings were a fatal blow to both the future of our Republic and planet. The most upsetting of the court's decision, of course, is the five to four ruling overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling protecting a woman's right to choose an abortion, upending nearly fifty years of federal protections for women's rights. Immediately following the official release of the court's decision, abortion became illegal in at least thirteen states where trigger laws had gone into effect.  It is anticipated that a total of twenty-three states will soon ban or severely restrict access to abortion, with many proposing the imposition of Draconian criminal sentences against both patients and me dical professionals. Oddly, these justices have opened themselves to criminal prosecution by gutting the Environmental Protection Agencies ability to curb the release of carbon emissions by the nation's power plants, which has been scientifically linked to increased risk of miscarriage on the first trimester. So, with all these new laws criminalizing abortion, perhaps these justices will trade their lifetime appointments to the high court for a life sentence in a prison cell where they belong. At least they would have plenty of time to read their Bibles, pray, and repent. 

This outright assault on women's rights has, not surprisingly, ignited both a wave of celebratory jest among the fragmented minority on the far right, and a contemptuous fury among the majority of Americans who stand in support of a women's right to choose. Now, as is our natural human impulse, Americans have been quick to assign the finger of blame for this nightmarish transition to a real-life Handmaid's Tale toward their presumed political rivals, with Republicans taking most of the heat. Some have even taken to blaming Bernie Sanders' supporters, and the iconic scapegoats such as Susan Sarandon, Briahna Joy Gray, Katie Halper, and Krystal Ball, to name a few. Few, however, are targeting their fury at the Democratic Party itself, which has long played fast and loose with abortion rights, using the emotionally charged issue as a cudgel to fill their campaign coffers and motivate their frightened base to the voting booths.  Many forget that that former President Barack Obama had failed to deliver upon his promise to make codifying Roe v Wade his top priority once elected, which, as it turns out, didn't make his list of priorities at all. It would have been an easy promise to fulfill, given he enjoyed a super majority in Congress during his first term. Likewise, President Obama could have fought harder to appoint his nominee Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court rather than using the court's vacancy as yet another scheme to help Hillary Clinton win votes. And, in case you're thinking that there was nothing more President Obama could have done, just ask yourself what Donald Trump would have done if he had been put in such a position. Then, there is the fact that 

Democrats have also actively been recruiting, endorsing, and supporting pro-life Democratic nominees in their desire to appease Republican voters.

Back in 2017, Nancy Pelosi suggested that the Democrats’ focus on abortion access was hurting the party. In fact, even now, in the aftermath of the leaked opinion foreshadowing the overturning of Roe v Wade, Nancy Pelosi, James Clyburn, and other party leaders have thrown their full support behind an anti-choice and anti-gun control Democrat, Henry Cuellar over his progressive challenger. Let us also not forget that Hillary Clinton selected an anti-choice running mate in her presidential bid, and suggested that she would be amenable to compromising her position on abortion rights if proposed laws included exceptions for rape and incest.

So, it seems quite evident that neither the Republican nor Democratic Party is unduly concerned with protecting a woman's right to bodily autonomy, other than using the issue for their political gains. So, just what can we expect for women's health in our post Roe v Wade America? To answer this question, we can look back fifty years to a previous time in American history when abortion was illegal...or we can simply visit our recent past to catch a glimpse of our future. Picture this:

A panic-stricken woman is being transported in the back of an ambulance. She's in the throes of a physically and emotionally painful miscarriage, and the paramedics know that without immediate medical intervention, the mother's hands in the balance. Medically speaking, there should be a specialist waiting for her arrival in the emergency room, ready to induce labor and safely extract the already self-aborting fetus, prioritizing the mother's life and safety with the least amount of stress on her already fragile condition. Sadly, there would be no swift and medically necessary intervention for this mother upon her arrival at Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Michigan. Already devastated by the loss of her baby, this woman's nightmare would endure for another eight long and agonizing hours. So, why was this patient denied the care and compassion she so desperately needed and deserved? Well, you see, because Mercy Health Partners is a Catholic hospital, a religious institution that has never been required to ab ide the rights granted under Roe v Wade, religious doctrine was more important than medical science. A set of directives established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops forbid terminating any pregnancy, at any stage, unless the mother’s life is in GRAVE danger - not merely ‘at risk’ - which is a diagnosis open to too much interpretation.

In this sad case, because the fetus’ heart was still faintly beating, the doctors were forced by hospital policy to stand aside and watch as their patient’s temperature steadily climbed, unable to act on her behalf until she showed signs of sepsis, an advanced infection that would unquestionably kill the woman if left untreated. The doctors were finally allowed to induce labor and ease their patient’s suffering. As was expected, the premature infant lived for only an hour - a mere fraction of the time that its mother had suffered while being forced to naturally deliver a fetus that was known to be non-viable.

The woman in this story was one of five women between 2009 and 2010 who had to endure lengthy miscarriages of non-viable fetuses thanks to Mercy Medical Partner’s strict ban on abortions. And this is just one of many hospitals that must abide by the Bishop’s rules for healthcare. It may sound like I’m going off on a tangent here, but it’s an important tangent to emphasize that the religiously influenced healthcare doctrines that we now fear in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling have already, unbeknownst to many, taken root in medical facilities across our nation.

As I mentioned earlier, all Catholic health care facilities, including hospitals and clinics, and many affiliated providers are governed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives, a numbered set of rules that apply Catholic doctrine to health care. The rules include forbidding services such as abortion, contraception, tubal ligation and physician assisted suicide. Catholic control of hospitals has been steadily increasing in the United States, until now one in six hospital beds are in Catholic facilities, a number which doesn’t include secular hospitals that similarly bound to the Churches’ doctrines through joint-operating agreements. In Washington State, where I live, nearly 41% of all hospitals are either owned by or affiliated with the Catholic church, in many cases leaving entire regions without a secular hospital option. Mergers and takeovers of secular hospitals are increasing across the country, triggering new alarms about the intrusive religious restrictions o n patients’ access to health care. 

Oddly, however, in a stunning contradiction of their own doctrines stating that human life begins at conception, this devotion to the life of the fetus doesn’t seem to apply when Catholic-affiliated hospitals are guilty of malpractice. In response to a recent lawsuit, a Catholic hospital in Colorado has argued that it is not liable for the death of two seven-month-old fetuses because, figure this, fetuses are not people. The lawsuit, filed by Jeremy Stodghill, whose 31-year-old wife Lori died in 2006 at St. Thomas More Hospital, accuses the facility of the wrongful death of the couples’ seven-month-old twins after the staff refused to perform an emergency cesarean to save the fetuses. The hospital argued that, ”under Colorado law, a fetus is not a person and the plaintiff’s claims for wrongful death must therefore be dismissed.” It seems, for Catholics, the sacred personhood of the unborn ends at financial liability. 

But, the Catholic overtaking of medical facilities and their hypocrisy aside, our new worry is that the over-turning of Roe v Wade will take even non-affiliated hospitals in the same direction as their religious counterparts. We are faced with a new era of fear for both medical staff and patients as legal matters clash with quality of care. While there will likely be exceptions made for emergency situations, in states where abortion is banned, the burden of proof will be on the doctors and the hospitals to make a case that an emergency abortion is absolutely necessary. This legal hurdle might cause even the most sympathetic and concerned doctors to think twice and not act quickly enough when it comes to treating women in distress.    

Another issue is the fear of prosecution that patients will now experience even more when seeking care. The National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) report that one-thousand six-hundred and sixty-seven women have been “arrested or deprived of liberty” for harming their fetuses between 1973 and 2020, with well over half of said incidences occurring in the last fifteen years as abortion rights became more and more politicized. Women who rush to Emergency Rooms while miscarrying are already, in many cases, subjected to scrutiny about the possible cause of their condition if there is any suspicion that they might have done something intentional to bring on the miscarriage. In 2020, a 21-year-old Oklahoma woman was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison for drug use during her pregnancy, which prosecutors argued had, albeit unintentionally, led to her miscarriage. With new, stricter abortion laws on the horizon in many states, our country will be looking at more and more situations where medical personnel will feel obligated to report patient misconduct that could result in a miscarriage-slash-abortion or risk being legally liable themselves. This atmosphere of prosecution will, in turn, cause patients to be more fearful about seeking medical care when they know they could be subjected to uncomfortable interrogations before they receive help. Women, particularly those of color and members of marginalized communities who are statistically more likely to be arrested, might be increasingly inclined to without important information from medical professions, delay seeking care for pregnancy-related illnesses, or even refuse to visit the ER at all when a problem arises. The upcoming rise in anti-abortion laws is almost guaranteed to damage trust between doctors and their patients. This will not save lives, benefit women, or improve our already burdened health care system. It will not serve the public good in any meaningful way, and make no mistake, this will hurt even those who are now celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to deny women their bodily autonomy. As we know from the past, abortions will not end, they will become more dangerous, and incur unintended and now unimaginable consequences that will endanger lives and so many of the rights and liberties we have come to take for granted. 

America is descending into the dark ages, reverting back to an era where science, facts, and basic human liberties are dictated by a cloud of ignorance. We must fight against these intrusions with empathy, compassion, and brute honesty. This will mean listening to others passively, confronting our own biases, and embracing a willingness to compromise for the common good. Today, on this episode of Coup Save America, we’re going to begin that journey by listening to the stories of two courageous women, both of whom are going to share their personal stories that highlight their struggles with abortion. Please share this episode, and tune in to the end to learn what you can do to help advance this mission.  

Show Transcript

Okay. Normally this would be where we did news that didn't make the news but frankly I've had enough of the news so we're gonna get right to our guest calcium walker. Um Kelsey hi thank you so much for joining us today. I understand that you're or you were in Washington D. C. I was for about three days. A fellow angel mama sponsored my trip up there. Um because while she isn't quite in her space to earn her strength to be able to share her story.

Um she believed that I could share both of our stories up in front of the Supreme Court Which I did three times. Um So it was quite a a powerful moment um to be able to share um my personal story with the masses and be able to helpfully encourage and inspire others to keep fighting. What was the atmosphere like? Was there I imagine that there was a lot of protesters. Was there a lot of anti choice protesters there as well? Um There was very few anti choice protesters when I got there.

So I got there saturday morning. Um and there are few anti choice um there were thousands of pro choice um protesters there. And while it was overall peaceful you could tell that there was a intense static to the atmosphere. People were angry, people were upset. Um People were screaming and chanting and crying and all of the things that go with the onslaught of emotion when your rights are are stripped from you. Yeah. And mm first of all I want to thank you for for for doing what you do and going to Washington D. C. And especially speaking for those that can't speak for themselves.

Um And it's really hard. It's very angry. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm there's just I don't want to be a downer here but there is a sense of doom. Um and it's very frustrating for me to see that the democrats just don't seem to be fighting. There's things they could do right now. They could be opening up federal lands, two abortion clinics to bypass some of these state laws. They're not doing that. Their solution just seems to be, oh, just vote harder. Yeah, it's infuriating. They're doing nothing. Exactly.

And this idea that they're doing everything they can, but no, they're not and I just unless they're willing to reform the court, right? I don't really see what else is going to work here. Because even if they were to codify roe V wade as they claim that they will if they get a majority, I don't trust that this court is going to allow that to stand either. No, honestly. Um yeah, if their intention was for us to be safe and to not be playing with people's lives like they are right now, they would be rushing to push things to help take care of us in the States.

Uh, the state that I'm in in Missouri, I think it was all of six minutes before they let their trigger band go into effect, explain the trigger man and what that that means. So the trigger ban was voted into effect in 2019 in Missouri um when most people weren't paying attention because Roe V wade was still around. So the thought was that the it would be a far off thing that we could worry about later. Um Flash forward three years and it's not so far away, we're here and minutes after Roe V wade fell.

Um the ban went into effect that if you help a Missouri, a woman or a person with a uterus have an abortion. The doctor is liable if you try to transport a woman out of state, you are liable for criminal prosecution. Um They also have banned all abortion across the state of Missouri. Um even in cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother. And here's what we've heard some people say, well, you know, when these trigger laws were enacted, you know, I mean there was no intent to prosecute anybody and so we hear a lot of republicans now saying, well that's not really going to happen, We're going to roll those back.

We'll reassess really, what is the likelihood of that happening? I think this was intentional and I don't think they're gonna rethink this. I mean it's happening in texas right now where you have a woman who went to the emergency room with the cover story of having a miscarriage, she had taken an abortion pill that she had gotten by mail or procured somehow and was having complications from it. And when she told her nurse, the nurse reported her to the police and she was arrested and a lot of these states, I hear have laws that require hospital staff to actually report their patients to law enforcement.

It is there are several states that have that, but at the same time they can be sued for breaking hipaa. Um that protects patient doctor patient privilege. Um and that's how the woman was able to leave custody was because it was violating her right to privacy under the HipAA laws. And see this is where people, I think even that are anti abortion don't seem to understand that there are consequences that go far beyond just abortion itself. That's going to put people's lives at risk. This is not going to save lives whatsoever.

And as I said in the morning, like there's a lot of times where a patient will present in the emergency room with a condition and not even know that they're pregnant and yet that despite not knowing they can still be held from reliable. And same with the hospitals. And we've already seen doctors speak out saying that they're concerned is you know what what qualifies as an emergency because it's open to interpretation. So you're literally having doctors that are going to be putting themselves at liability with legally or criminally in cases.

And so this is going to cause them to really focus less on on the medical necessity in front of them. Yeah. And when you look at, you know right now, Kansas which is the neighboring states in Missouri um is looking to amend their constitution to make to ban all abortions in Kansas um unless the mothers life is at an emergency risk like you were describing before. Um But if it's just at a minimal risk, then it is illegal. So in cases like mine that we'll get to in a little while under the band that they are putting in place.

I my the abortion that I would have had would have been illegal and it would have risked my life. It would have wrist having my son grow up without his mom and my husband without his wife. It almost seems that there's a bit of indifference on these lawmakers in these cases, especially like when it comes to, I mean, we've already seen in catholic hospitals. This exact scenario play out where, I mean, I read one story where a woman's fetus was literally decomposing inside of her before that they would act.

And let's not even forget about the emerging, you know, the immediate physical harm. This is a an emotional trauma that's going to last an entire lifetime and it's just utterly cruel and inhumane. Yeah. And that's that's the piece that I feel is missing in a lot of lawmakers discussions is the humanity of what they're inflicting on people across the country. And a lot of these last two defining helping somebody access an abortion. Um, just today, a report came out that facebook is now censoring post about abortion pills, how to get mail abortion pills to people.

They're censoring that. So, you know, a simple conversation between just two people could be construed as me helping you to get in, there seems to be no limit to to the absurdity that we're seeing in this country with this. There's talk about, you know, states like Missouri going after some if you go to another state, not only can they go after you, but they can also sue the provider and that other state where abortion is legal. So where are they going to set up? Uterus checkpoints at the borders of these states?

There's some states that are talking about um having like mandating check checkpoints at borders Where a pregnant person has to take a pregnancy test before they leave and they have to take one when they come back. And if they come back and they're not pregnant, then they're not allowed to come back. There are seriously some legislatures, I can't recall the stand off the top of my head, but that are considering it now. The good news is that we have seen in some of these states where abortion is legal.

We've we've seen some prosecutors come out and say we're not prosecuting this. Um, we've seen some attorneys general kind of indicate that they're going to ignore the law as well. Um, but of course this is not a solution. I mean, you can't just roll the dice. Well, maybe I'll get a prosecutor that's not going to um act on this. So I think a lot of people, I'm gonna say, well, you know, for them it's very personal for you with your story and it's not, you know, I had a debate on another podcast with somebody who, ironically was mentioning, oh, women are just popping out babies, and that's what this is all about.

They just wanted to pop out, which I thought was odd because his whole argument was, well, they're popping out babies and taxpayers, tax funds are going to abortion, and like, well, no, your argument would actually seem to contradict that because the taxpayers will be paying for the babies being popped out, not being aborted. Um but this is this attitude that people have, that, oh, you know, it's just, you know, women should just stop having sex, you know, as if men have no responsibility in this whatsoever. And to me it's really about punishing a woman.

Yeah, Men can have 365 kids that they father in a single year and a woman can can mother exactly one in a single year. Yeah, it's just pure hypocrisy and pure insanity, but again, it's very personal for you. And I'd like if you would mind sharing your story, because I think it's very important to hear these stories from people across the spectrum. Absolutely. Um so my story occurred in 2017, um at 17 weeks pregnant, we found out that the baby that I was carrying had osteogenesis imperfecta type two, which is the lethal version of brittle bone disease.

This method, every single bone in her body was broken, her ribs were breaking in on her heart and her lungs and her skull flexed underneath the pressure of an ultrasound wand. And she was suffering. There was no way around it. She was suffering and the scary part on in addition to carrying a a baby that was struggling like that was that it was also a threat to my life if one of her bones would have broken and perforated one of my organs, I was blood out and died.

And the doctor, well we were at a catholic technically hospital um you know, for our specialist appointment, because we went through, we were at our initial doctor, they said there's something really terrible wrong. You need to be prepared for the worst. You're going to the specialist to see what's going on. We went to a 2. 5 hour ultrasound appointment before we got into the maternal fetal specialist and she came in the room crying with the diagnosis because usually she can help. Usually there's a way that she can prolong the life of the baby or the fetus, prolong the life of the mother.

Um if you know, they carry the baby. But there was there was no discussion of that, like she said, you risk your life carrying it to term if you if it does make it to term and you don't die in the process if the baby is born, that none of them Live past 28 weeks of life because the breaking of the bones don't allow the lungs to develop. So it will slowly suffocate until it dies. And that's not fair two them or to the to the parents. Either I have to watch that suffering. Yeah.

Or to my son who was three at the time to watch his baby sister go through that or to watch us try to handle that. It's not fair. So we made the decision that the only other option that we had was to Have an abortion at 18 weeks. And law was not on our side. Um The law in Kansas which is where we lived at the time. The cut off is 20 weeks. Um So we had to hurry up and do this. There was no time to sit and and decompress about what was happening.

It was all of 10 days between the initial ultrasound and going to the appointment. And we we had had a procedure called A D. And E. You know a lot of people hear about D. N. C. S. Or the abortion pill. Mine was a D. And E. Violation and evacuation. And what a lot of people don't understand is that it's an all day affair. You can't eat, you can't drink anything the day the day before because it's a surgical procedure. Um you going at seven a.m. The whole day At least six times.

They it is the law that they have to dissuade you from having an abortion. So six times they asked me do you want to do this? Do you want to keep going? And the deepness of my heart. Did I want to keep doing this? No, I wanted a healthy baby. But the fact is that was not going to be the case no matter what I did. So every time I met it with a yes, I need to keep going. In addition, even though we had a 2. 5 hour ultrasound days before they made us go through another ultrasound by law to re examine all of the broken bones in her body.

Which was very hard. Did they force you to also watch? There's a lot of times they do, they didn't make me listen to the heartbeat. Um thankfully, but they didn't make me fully watch. But they had the screen face like me. But that you know, they didn't like push my cheek over to watch it or anything. But they were just doing what the law told them they had to do. Which is subject to torture, emotional torture. Really? Yeah. God, I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

This is just infuriating. Yeah, it gets worse. It gets worse. Um So go through that part. Um They ask you again if you want to keep going and they do the initial part of the procedure which is breaking your water and inserting bamboo shoots into your cervix to dilate it. Then you have to wait for four hours for your body to go into labor and expand your cervix. We were lucky enough that we had a let's tell room uh nearby that we could stay at that we could go back to um and wait.

Um There's a lot of women out there but travel to have these appointments for us. That was three hours. Um There's a lot of people out there that don't have that luxury of somewhere to wait. So they have to wait in their car for this to happen because they don't they don't have enough space. The clinic is so tiny. They don't have enough space for someone to just sit around for four hours. So four hours goes, contractions happen, things move along. And when we came back unfortunately there was a medical or emergency.

And so I had to wait another hour um in labor. And the hardest, the hardest part was because it's in a clinic and not in a hospital. They don't anesta sized you all the way. They don't put you out. They give you something called midazolam which is supposed to help make you forget the procedure. Like give you amnesia. Um It's also supposed but I actually. Mhm. That is. Yeah. That um What? Right. Okay. And. Okay. Okay. That gave me. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. Thank you to take this water. Okay.

It's public. What? Yeah. Yes. Okay. What? From labor? Yeah. This is jeez I'm so sorry that you had to go through this. Like I said, it's torture. It's inhumane. Um it's treating you less than human. Yeah. To what end, Right? Uh so let's just imagine that. And you you mentioned this earlier. Let's just imagine that this was happening to you today in a post roe v wade. Um you would basically be forced to put your life at risk for a non viable child. And this is again, I want people to understand this is a child that you wanted. Yeah.

We tried for her for six months and we were so happy when we found out we were pregnant. We had told our son that we were pregnant because 13 weeks is supposed to be that magical time when you're past the miscarriage, danger window and and all of these things and you know, we had told him he was going to be a big brother and then we had to tell him that she had to go be in heaven and be in the clouds. And that broke my little kids heart.

And there is while going through these experiences myself as hard breaking having to break the heart of your own child is so much worse. Yeah. And yeah, just it's just so infuriating this whole and fortunately you're still here, right? But to subject you asking once if you want to continue right? One time that okay. But this constant. Yeah. Do they think you forgot, do they think you don't know where you are. I mean the point of this to me is to be cruel and again it's punishing and okay, this is a child again that you wanted and they're just the injustice of this whole thing is just beyond the pale to me.

And it angers me that our politicians on either side have done nothing. This is we've known that this is coming. We've known the assault on abortion rights. We know that this is what I mean. This is the whole point of under trump right getting justices. We knew this was what it was about. And now here we are in a post roe v wade. And what you know, I posted on facebook Um I was very angry because I got a email from Nancy Pelosi saying, Oh, hey, abortion rights have been lost.

Please can you donate five or 20? And I went on facebook and like instead of donating to these politicians who do not need your money in the first place, please find a charity or a group that is helping women to access abortion services. Because as you said, there's travel cost, there's hotel costs, there's a lot of costs involved for us For us. The abortion cost $2400 and insurance wouldn't touch it. Um insurance actually withdraw withdrew touching um the the ultrasound and the amniocentesis we got because we had the abortion.

Um and we were incredibly lucky because I've worked for nonprofits my entire career and my husband worked for the school district at the time. So there was not money to go around Um to have $2400 laying around to have this done. Um, so the Kansas abortion fund and my family, my mother and father pull their money together to help me receive this abortion. And without them I would have been stuck because there was no, We had two weeks, you know, two weeks to the cut off time in Kansas, there was no way that I could save $2400 to have that done in time.

So Kansas abortion fund and my mother and father saved my life with financially you wrote a book and you're also the founder of a nonprofit um, share with us the experience of writing a book. I mean, I imagine that was somewhat therapeutic for you, but you or someone who desperately does not want other people to have to go through the same experience. What was the motivation to write the book? And what was that process like for you? Yeah, so I started writing my book last june when texas started coming out with all of their heartbeat bill stuff and Mississippi was struggling and and Kansas all of a sudden came up with this god awful amendment and I was infuriated because there's this slut shaming rhetoric that goes around that surrounds abortion.

There's these yo these women are going out and partying and getting pregnant having abortions and blah blah blah. And you know, just this this tale that these white males are telling and and our in our congress and I was infuriated. And the book started pouring out of me and 10 and 15 page Sports. Um, I'd have a flashback, I'd write it down, I would um, have a memory, I'd write it down and then um Labor day weekend, my husband gave me a little grace with the kids, took the kids let them hang out upstairs as well.

I took what was really just like random writings of um, you know, memories and things like that and put them in order and found the connective tissue between them. And I said, oh my goodness, there's There's 200 pages here. And it was handwritten because it was therapeutic to scrape my pencil across the paper. And I sent it to a couple of literary agents, um sent it to amazon and Amazon said, yes, we want to publish your book. And I said, okay, well, it's not done yet. I said, we don't care, we're gonna help you finish it.

And what helped me finish it. And what really healed me was in October of 2021. I went to the women's March in Kansas City and I took a sign for um hope, who is my daughter, that we lost. And I that said, you know, my baby was suffering and dying and I would have died, read the truth. I had my will website on there directing them to my blog that I had started maybe someone would read my story and fill feel connected. And what I found when I went was people reached out to me and physically embraced me, you know, pandemic be damned.

Um, and ask me about my story and let me tell it, you know, just and every time I told it it felt like weight came off of me and I tribute both E. M. D. R. Therapy as well as those people that have the strength to receive me and give me love that were just complete strangers and allow me to share my story with my healing. And what's more is so many of them said yes, this has happened to me as well in some fashion. You know, I've had to have an abortion, I've lost a child, I've miscarried and I've never been able to talk about it.

And so from the green desk went from being a blog to a non profit that I registered and we do coaching in group therapy and narrative meditation with people who have had abortions, lost Children miscarried or lost infants so that they no longer have to endure the silent scream that goes with these losses. You know, it's funny because one of the arguments that you hear from some of these lawmakers is that, well we're also helping a woman because just having an abortion is such a traumatic ordeal.

And and they attributed to this long term, you know, psychological trauma. The interesting part of that is scientific studies show that that in a regular situation that's you know, you're able to recover much more quickly from that trauma than what you have to go through. Like your experience. It's like all of these talking points fall apart and this is why we need more more people telling their stories and you're right when it comes to abortion. It's a it's a touchy subject for people and there's a lot of shaming it's automatically assumed.

And again, so what it takes a male and a female for a pregnancy to occur, you don't see slut shaming for men. Um and there's a republican who actually just went into hot hits pro life staunchly anti abortion, turns out he got his mistress pregnant and ordered her to have an abortion. And it just just came out and of course now he's gone into hiding. It's like and the powerful and the rich don't seem to care because they're always going to have access to abortion. It's the people who are impoverished people of color, the average citizen who's stuck, that's losing their rights and that's what's most infuriating to me is just the utter hypocrisy, the false talking points, the shaming and the refusal of people to listen right, we're not having a dialogue.

It's a shouting match. Um and that's why it's so important for you to go to Washington D. C. And to speak in front of the Supreme Court and share these stories. Unfortunately the people you're sharing their stories with are already rational and understanding of this issue. It's how do you think we can break through this divide and and reach across the island? Like look again, it's not just about abortion, there's a lot of other issues at play here. I think telling the story like being vulnerable enough to tell the story full out and outright helps.

However, there are those, you know right now, I'm in a political ad for Kansas for constitutional freedom to protect the right to choice in Kansas and it encapsulates wanting to save my life to stay alive for my son of my husband. What it doesn't talk about in the ad is the condition that hope was in. And so I've had comments surrounding, you know, you're very you seem very smart and very intelligent but you're too stupid to not get pregnant. And I was like I didn't comment back.

I just reported reported the harassment on social media. Um but it's like no you're right. I wasn't smart enough. I in fact wanted to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. I also have had people say well if you were going to die, that was God telling you that it was your time to die. And I'm like there's so much, you know, it's easy for easy for me to just report the harassment and walk away from it. But there is someone in that hateful person's life that is needing abortion is healthcare, that is suffering in silence because they have so much hate in their heart.

And that is sad for the people that they love. And a lot of people that are subjecting you to this hate that are having these positions are very likely, especially with these abortion laws to be impacted themselves in ways that they can't even imagine. And that's the sad part of this is that this is about woman's health, it's about women's rights, it's about a woman's right to choose what happens to her body. And yeah, I believe me. I've tried to have some debates on social media about this.

And you you just get the standard talking points. Nobody wants to listen. Nobody wants to. And I get, you know, there's when does like, we can have these conversations? When does life begin? When, you know? Um, yeah, but my position is kind of if it until it can survive outside their womb, that should be at least the starting point of that discussion. Um, and no one seems to understand that this is a relation to nobody. But the people that I argue with don't seem to understand that this is a woman's right issue.

I mean, we're in a country that still has not ratified the equal rights amendment that are essentially granting women equal rights under the law. And this is just yet another assault. And it's again, this is not about saving lives. And the other interesting point is the claim. It's about pro life. Yeah. They don't want to provide any social safety net for mothers who have kids. They don't want to provide education. They don't want to fund health care. It's like, how about the formula shortage that's happening right now?

So it's like, obviously this is again more about, and I don't want to say it's always the case about punishing women, but for the most part, that's what this does. And I think people need to understand that abortion never used to be the issue that it was today, politically. This was a politically um motivated strategy. It's you basically get more republicans basically to get more of the evangelicals onto the republicans. The person that devised the strategy has actually come out and apologize for making abortion this politicized issue.

So this is not even something that goes back as far as people think, and there's nothing in the bible that even suggests abortion is is forbidden. It's just these political talking points that have come about. Um, and that's what's most disturbing about this is that we're not basing any of this on on fact, it's just attack. Um, it's just it's so infuriating and to hear that you've been. And again, people just make assumptions. They see that clip in that ad and they just make assumptions about you.

Um, I probably wouldn't be so kind as to just report them, probably have to respond. But yeah, I'm sorry. And again, that's just more traumatizing. Yeah. And I mean, the reason why I don't engages, I don't want to lead them back to my personal feed that has my Children on it, right? You know that unfortunately I Yeah. What I love to engage them and and conversation. Yeah, but if they're hateful and dumb enough to make those comments, they're hateful and dumb enough to come after me and my family. Yeah.

And um the scary thing is too, I mean, and again, I don't want to say this about all the people in the pro life side. I know that this is just a minority, but I mean, we've seen attacks on protesters right now, pro choice protesters being run down by trucks, um the expectation of violence not to mention in the past, the bombing of abortion clinics, the assassinations of abortion providers. I mean, this is coming from a crowd that and again, I understand it's not everyone, but it just seems sort of contradictory that you're pro life, but we're gonna kill you or even some of these laws that are considering imposing the death penalty for women to get an abortion.

Well and a later half the later part of my story into my book, it talks about what it's like to try to find mental health help after having an abortion, especially in a conservative state. Um Mhm. When you leave a a clinic after having an abortion, they give you four phone numbers for support because again, everything's very regulated. Those four phone numbers are the suicide hotline, the abortion support hotline, a psychiatrist in Overland Park, which I lived three hours away from And tell health wasn't really a thing in 2017.

So might as well have just burned that one. And last one is the after hours phone number for the clinic because of the procedure that I had and how few people get that procedure. Um if you go to an emergency room, if I'm showing signs of infection or have abnormal bleeding or cramping or something going on, if I go to an emergency room, they won't know how to treat me. And those are the four phone numbers you get for support after care. There's there's no this is a safe psychologist to go to or this is a safe church to go to or this is a safe X. Y. Z to go to.

Which is another reason why I started from the green desk. Um because about a month or so or less, I can't remember after hope died, I was just searching for help from someone. Anyone again, working for nonprofits doesn't make a lot of money to be able to afford therapy. And I saw an ad in the newspaper for an abortion support help group. So I called it and they said, we'll meet you, let me tell my story. And then they leaned in and told me that they might pray for my baby, but I'm going to go to hell.

And that is how they left me. It was a pro life organization that ambushed me in between that and the seven churches that I called to have my daughter's ashes blast or to have some kind of a funeral that all seven said no, I was very bitter with God for a very long time and clergy in general. It drove a bit big wedge and it took me another two months to find any help. And that was my husband stepping in and saying, you can't sit here with flashbacks day after day, you you have to get back on your feet, you have to keep going.

And he found that a psychologists that was safe to talk to and would work with us financially and at all because painful scarring and it all made my healing process that much longer. Have you been able to find a place of worship to go to that's supportive. I haven't, It wasn't until 2021 that I stepped in a church and that was for the first time. I went to a trip for a concert after the um women's March. Um, and it was a very liberal church. They're not christian, they're not really any specific religion there like a blend and they were very welcoming.

I still didn't trust her just and didn't go back and it wasn't until the mother's day protest this last year, a pastor from a Universalist University of Unitarian or utility, I can't remember like it's like a U. U. Um she reached, I guess one of her followers heard my story and reached out to me and said that they would bless hopes ashes for me And pray for her. So for hopes 5th birthday um, this year we will finally have her ashes blessed and prayed for five years, yep.

That it, you know, doesn't seem like a very christian thing. We might pray for your baby, but you're going to hell. So basically it would there their choice would have been for you and for the baby to both die. That seems like the, that seems like the resounding roar from the other side. Is that because I had to make that decision that um my soul wasn't receiving and they weren't going to be involved with my baby either. Huh? Yeah. There's, there's something really wrong with people when they allow their extremist beliefs to impose this kind of abuse and trauma on people. Yeah.

It's some the woman that I talked to the pastor that's going to bless her ashes um called it, I think she called it spiritual abuse. Yeah, that's a good term for it and that's what we went through. Yeah and it's, it's also just sort of detrimental to the, I mean, again it seems very unchristian like to me, but it also seems just detrimental to their own belief system. I mean, do they are they expecting to bring people into their faith with this kind of, you know, demeanor?

It's just just, I mean, I was in a foxhole and they always talk about foxhole christians, I was in that foxhole. If they wanted to pull someone into there faith, that was the time to do it. Instead they shoveled dirt into my face and I wish I could give you a hug. I mean, I'm just this is just, I can't imagine treating other human beings. I just um would you mind I'd like to bring my producer in um because her mother has had had an abortion and I'd like to kind of, if that's if you don't mind, I'd love you guys to talk.

Yeah, well that doesn't work so well yeah. What I'm here with my oh, hello. Hello, I'm I'm Producer Mackenzie. I'm here with my mother carol ann. And first off, I just want to say that just thank you. Thank you for yes. Being there. Being someone for women who are struggling and can't find any support. Um Yeah, and we're going to go to a break for just a second so we can relocate the dog. We weren't quite so soon and we will do that certainly. Hello, we are bad.

Sorry about that. Um All right, sorry. So just to start off, I'm going to um tell my mother's story in brief of the background of of what happened or what caused her to make the choice to have an abortion. And then I'll turn, I'll get out of the, get out of the frame here because I don't actually really fit and I will um, let you let you ask her a few questions and demonstrate that what what your nonprofit would do to help women like her. You have questions and have had a lifelong of emotional um effect from what they went through. Yeah.

So yeah, My mother met my father when she was 15 years old at a very conservative Christian boarding school and They dated and they began began to be sexually active in the appropriate year of 1969 hand. Um, they did not, their, their religion did not teach any kind of sexual education. Families, parents did not talk about these things. There are all kinds of crazy rumors flying around like you can't get pregnant the first time you have sex and um, yes, no, no access to birth control. There's just this idea that, you know, certain times a month and just a lot of misinformation and just a lack of general lack of knowledge.

And so, um, My mother was 17 years old, when when she began being sexually active and a few months into that she did discover she was pregnant. Um, and she uh, suspected to, oh, just basically morning sickness was, was the clue and, and, and lack administration. Um, when she had the suspicion she was, parents were away on vacation and she was staying at a friend's house. So she made a doctor's appointment and went by herself to a doctor And this was the year was 1970. There Still three years shy row versus wade.

Um, so abortion was illegal, but the doctor that she spoke to, although it was inconclusive whether or not she was pregnant. Um, he recommended that she get an abortion because of her age. She was a senior in high school. Um, and she was, she was shocked that, you know, in her mind, abortions were something that happened in a back alley. This doctor was, he said, you know, there's somebody I can, I can tell you about. There's somebody who I know who can do this in a sterile environment in a doctor's office.

So, but really my mother was just, well, no, no, I would never do something like that. Um, I'll marry the father and, and we'll raise this chat. Um, after I talked with with the father, my father. Um, okay. He was like, um, I'm not ready to get married. He was 19. He had already graduated from high school. I'm not married to get ready to get married. You know, an abortion is out of the question of course and this was an atmosphere of, as you said, spiritual, what was the term used?

Spiritual abuse? Spiritual abuse. Yes, definitely an atmosphere of spiritual abuse and like, so you'll just have to have the baby and I'll marry you later, maybe when I'm ready we'll figure this out has ever mentioned about oh carrying the baby. And so that was either habit. That's surprising though because was it. So um my my mother's biggest concern at the time was was really just the social stigma. Her parents were had status in the church. She is, she knew that they would be appalled. Now it wasn't a new situation in their family because her older brother had gotten a girl pregnant mm a year before.

Um mhm fortunately for the family, I guess she belonged to another church and you know, as you know it all her family, her family suffered all the the stigma that comes with a pregnant teenager, but it didn't only affect the father's family and he remained in school, she had to leave her, she went to a different christian boarding school, she had to leave her school. And so um and the procedure at my parents school was that if a girl were to be with child, she could not attend school, but if she did give the child up for adoption, she could return afterwards, I don't I don't know as long as you didn't tell anything, right?

As long as you have some excuse for a while, you've been gone for a while. Mhm. And so when my mother, my grandmother returned and my mother was able to talk to her mother, wow her her mother, Oh I failed to mention that my my mother was the good one in the family. That that put a lot more pressure. I mean not she never she never revealed or experimented and like her big brother who was in constant her religion, part of her religion was not eating meat.

So her rebellious big brother would sneak off and eat meat whenever he could, and she had never even tasted meat, you know, that kind of thing. So she she really did not want to let down her family by, you know, she's been trying to make up for her brother all her life and then here she went, the same thing that he had done. Um Now when she wasn't able to tell her mother, her mother was surprisingly supportive and we do have a supportive family and my father.

Yeah, right. And and very much to my mother's surprise when she just alternatively mentioned that the doctor she had seen had had suggested an abortion. Um Her mother was actually, you know, instead of like, oh no, no, you could never just said, you know, the doctor has a point, they went on to explain on July having a baby at age 17 was not a wise decision. Um And what happened to school, my mother was already accepted into college and had a plan for her future. Um and then there were, there were some, possibly intentionally, maybe unintentionally shaming type things like, well you wanted a big white wedding, you know, if you keep the baby and you marry your boyfriend, it's gonna be a small private affair, things like that.

Um and really, um my mother was still in compliance, although also she was relieved, you know, after she found out that that the father was not going to marry her and help her raise a child, she was terrified at the idea of of having to be a single mother. And um so but at the same time when my mother made the decision to have the abortion, um she was still doing it mostly because that seemed to be what her mother wanted. Even though later conversations my grandmother has said that she was not worried about the subject as much as my mother feared that she would be, it would both of they both would have suffered and my mother didn't want her mother to have to suffer the disdain of the church that and with abortion, it could all be kept quiet.

Her father wouldn't need to know and oh, it was just the best decision for she felt for a girl, her age and in the environment that that she was in, but it was also a very difficult decision to make in that environment because it would have to be a secret. Mhm. There's the only thing worse than having a baby out of wedlock would be you're avoiding the baby. Yeah. So with the support of her mother, um my mom was able to go to a real doctor and and get a medically safe abortion.

However, the the doctor was very abusive towards her and very shaming and I'll turn this over to my mom and let her finish her own story. Yeah. Um as she said, it was um it was a very shaming position I was in, like I said, I had been a good girl, I hadn't done anything outwardly bad sex. My mom couldn't get me to accept the fact that sex is awful. I found it very pleasant, very enjoyable and I only had it with the one person and yeah, you know, and it was just, yeah, it was natural.

I do know that once I learned he wasn't accepted to marriage at that point in time. I I mean it was it was a little bit difficult. He's not willing to, he said, well you can have the baby and I'll marry you later. And then the idea is okay, would you marry me later, would he still be with me later? Would he marry me later because he wanted to or would he marry me later because there was a baby involved? And would it be me, he was marrying or would he be wanting the baby?

Mhm. It seemed the optimal choice also in my 17 year old mind who had always been controlled by my parents and told what to do and what not to do to be this perfect child. Unlike my un perfect brother, I didn't even think of it as a baby, really. It was just something that was growing in me that it's gonna cause a problem and I didn't believe in that. So with my mom's acceptance of the idea, I mean, she basically brought it up and I to me, if my christian mother said, yeah, getting an abortion is a good idea, then maybe he it was okay.

It wasn't so awful. So I went ahead and went through with it, my um now and then boyfriend And by the way, I have to admit we've been together 50 years. So indoor relationship. But he went, he um took me to the doctor, he paid for the abortion. I went into the clinic, why young girl who had only had I hadn't even had pap smears or anything. You know, just the one time the doctor could not determine pregnancy. So he had to try to feel because all the p tests came out negative.

And even when I went to the abortion, they couldn't prove it that I was actually pregnant. Although after the abortion the doctor said, well you're definitely pregnant, you know, but they set you in there in that room and leave you trying to dilate you in this comfortable awful room and it hurt so bad. The pain that the cramps was so bad. I was crying and the doctor came in and to my room and he took his arm which his hands were sterile. So he took his arm and he smashed against my face and said, shut up, you're scaring everybody out in the other room.

You were you were I thought you were old enough to get pregnant, you could be old enough to take this pain. So it was not a pleasant experience. Yeah. You know, unfortunately it was over with fast, but then you have to walk out to the waiting room of all these girls who have been listening to crying and upset and you know, whatever. Um I bounced back pretty easy. I went home, walked in the house and my mom was waiting and I said, well there's no more baby.

And I guess later she told me that kind of broker, because it was the first time I'd ever mentioned it was a baby and I was a big baby lover as a teenager. So it was, you know, difficult, but from then on though, it was this secret. My brother didn't know my father didn't know. Um family didn't know his family didn't know, I did have one close best friend who knew and she was very accepting of the fact, very supportive in my whole life and was there in the in the hospital with me when I had my daughter two years later.

No, wait a minute. 3, 4 years later anyway, just breathe. So um but it still was this big secret thing. And the biggest thing it did to me emotionally is that it's still fitted my emotional growth. So I have spent my whole life feeling 17. I can't I couldn't get over that that trauma in my life that made me That I experienced as a 17 year old. Mhm. Um I don't know what trauma I would add having had the baby hour and but there was a stigma, a whole stigma to this.

You can't tell anybody, you can't you know, nobody can know about this, this is a secret. Um I went away, went to college and had a lot of friends, a lot of people, but I couldn't tell anybody what had happened. Ah I eventually, like I said At age 19, a couple years later I married my husband and a couple of years after that we had our daughter and she's been the most wonderful and perfect thing in my life. Every once in a while I would have a flashback, I always considered this aborted child to be a boy.

I don't know why I just did, maybe that's because I wanted a girl. So in my mind I had to have gotten rid of the boy, but I remember Working at one time with a young man who would have been because of his birthday when he was born and all, he would have been the exact same ages that aborted baby. And I remember feeling very close to him as far as I kind of in the back of my mind thought of him as that son I never had um we worked together on teams and we were good friends, nothing out of the ordinary.

But I remember telling him at one time about this that I've had an abortion and if I had a child that would have been his age, which seemed to please him, that I felt that little bit of closeness. Yeah, it wasn't like I said, it was just one of those, we don't talk about this, we don't say anything about this. I went through later in life, my husband's, there were a lot of unwed pregnancies in my husband's family in years, all the babies were kept and raised.

I had cousins that got pregnant and kept the babies and raised them in all this. And um At one point in life, a very close friend had also had An abortion as a 21 year old and she had to tell her Children about it. And she said she when she told their Children, she said she told him I wasn't mama wasn't a christian when this happened that she had come into the church later. And then she said to me, I don't know how you're going to explain it to your daughter since you were a christian.

And my immediate thought was if I tell my daughter which at the time she was maybe six or so. My idea was if I tell my daughter, it's not going to be the, it was because I wasn't a christian, it would be because I was a kid. You know, I was only 17. I wasn't an adult living on my own yet. Like she had been so but she made me feel very guilty even at that point that I had done this because I was a christian and I shouldn't have done something as a christian.

But I have to had to remind myself that I wasn't really in control of my life At 17, my mom is still in control. My parents still have control over my life. So when they're accepting it or my mother was accepting, my father never ever talked to me about it, but he did learn that I've had one when the way this world came out and they had all those advertising on Tv you know about the baby in the bottom of the garbage can, all those posters that were up in all this about anti abortion posters and stuff.

There was a commercial on tv that my, my parents were watching tv and saw the commercial and my mom started crying and my dad turned to her and said our daughter had an abortion, didn't she? And my mom admitted I had and so, but he never said anything to me about it later. I was able to talk to my brother about it. Um I have been able to talk to family later. But yeah, the next big thing that hit me, we did some counseling and I admitted it to my counselor in a counseling group, he was very anti abortion and I said well you know you guys are all upset about this and I just wasted the baby and then wait a minute they had New discussion.

But I realized then that the secrecy of it was really hurting me and this was at age 40. Yeah. Um but I like I said at that time I kind of let my close cousins and stuff some. No, but it really hit me when one of my cousins who had and out of wedlock child, I think she married the father like in her eighth month or something. But it was what she talk to me about how I was the little princess and that our whole lives when all of us cousins were growing up, I was always the good one, always did everything right.

I was a good one that they were always pointed to this example and she says you were always the princess. And I started thinking about that and I started thinking about how the fact that other people in my family had gotten pregnant and kept their babies and here I had not and maybe I was this little princess who didn't have to go through this. of course I was the only one that was doing this at 17, the others were all All 18 1920. You know they were all older ages.

So yeah that I know of you know, I mean there may have been somebody in there. I had one but I didn't know actually, I think one of my little cousins was Younger, probably 17 years of herself. But I just anyway, so I started having this the latest feelings that came out was this complex of being this little princess that didn't have to have anything bad happen in their lives. And I thought but I have had to have bad because I've had to live with this secret. This guilty secret my whole life.

So it's not like I was everything is perfect. Mm But it's um anyway I just within the last few years I've actually admitted it to other family members of my husband's family. All these girls got pregnant and had their babies and I finally came out and he says you know this has been a big secret and it's still it's not I'm not telling you this saying this is a secret you have to keep. I'm just saying this is my story and I would prefer you not to tell it to other people.

You know not to discuss it with family members. Let me discuss it. But at the same time I want you to know that even though you had a different experience by going through raising a child on your own. I had an experience too. Yeah, a different kind of experience. So yeah. Can I help? Yeah. Sorry, go ahead. Keep your eye on to the end. I'm just going to repeat myself. I can help you unpack some of that. True. Um, so and I'm a coach. I'm not a licensed therapist, but what I what I felt and what I've seen, um you know, we do group therapy with a licensed therapist, which isn't me.

Um, but I do individual coaching with folks that have had abortions and have had miscarriages and things like that. The first thing that I want to tell you is that, you know, I didn't feel set free until I had something called the truth tour. and in November of 2021, we knew that my book was going to come out. And up until that point only my parents, my husband and maybe two or three friends knew that I had an abortion. Everyone else knew that we had had a baby and that we had lost a baby.

But that fear of that stigma and that shame kept us in secret for four years. Mhm. And which isn't nearly as long as how long you've had to wait and and shut the shoulder this burden on your chest. But what I found was, you know, when the book was coming out and people were going to know how things really went down with hope. Um going through and sitting down and telling our story to each of the family members and then receiving it however they were going to receive.

It was so important in setting you free. And for you, a lot of those family members may or may not be around still. Um, you know, because you've been holding onto it for so long, what may help set you free is, you know, if you're not, if you're ready to to tell your story to other folks and feel like you're in a safe place, a safe space to tell that story, then tell it to them in person. If you can, if you can't write it out in a letter to each person that you want to tell and then you can either hold onto them, you can burn them and set them free.

You can um, you know, do a number of things with a letter that you write, it doesn't have to go out. But physically scratching the pen or the pencil to the paper and getting the pain and the burden that you're holding in your heart from this secret that you've had to hold on to will feel cathartic, it'll help get some of that wait off of your chest. It did feel much better when I was able to tell my sister in law. I had a whole group them together and was able to tell my story.

Um it was very freeing to me. I had then personally tell my closest one was not at that meeting at that gathering, I had to tell her she is she raised her own child all on her own. Yeah, that was a great baby. He kept it. It was she wanted the child anyway, she was happy to have the child and and he's the same age as my daughter. So, you know, it was we were pregnant together with those two, but she's very, very anti abortion. And every time something comes up about abortion, she is so strong and firm about the fact that there's no reason anyone should ever ever have an abortion.

That telling her was one of the hardest things I ever did. And I was really, really pleased with how she took it. She didn't shame me or didn't can give me all the bad things. I thought she would because it had been So, you know, because every time we would get in little arguments when abortion would come up and I would give reasons for why, oh, there's no good reason for if you can't keep the baby, you have it, you give it away. Of course I would never have given away mine.

Nobody in my family would give away. There's, you know, we all raised ourselves. And so, but she seemed to be accepting of it. It has not been mentioned since april the same thing when I said I said you know I've told some of your sisters, there is still one family member, one of my husband's siblings that I haven't come out and told and she is a very vengeful person. And so it was hard for me to and she doesn't live near or close or anything and that we don't have a close relationship.

So it's like if somebody in the family tells her it's not going to bother me. But if they do it's going to be one of those knives and on the back kind of thing that but I did not want to put them under the onus of secrecy. When I told him I said I am not saying this is a secret that nothing can ever be said about this. I'm just saying it's my story to tell. I would prefer if you didn't tell anybody else in the family. Don't.

I mean I didn't care if they related to their kids, my nephews and nieces and stuff. But the whole thing was why would I want to put another person under the burden of a secret like that. So I didn't want it to be a secret. But I said it is my story. Not it's you know people want to discuss it. That's fine. It's just don't don't make a big deal about it. Somebody doesn't know yet. Right well. And my other piece to help unpack it or or help maybe kind of keep it in a safe space for you is I don't know if you know of the author, Glennon Doyle, but she went through a big life change and she talks about her and her kids and her little family is on an island. Mhm.

And there's a drawbridge that goes up and there's a drawbridge that can come down. Mhm. You know, you and your daughter and your husband and whoever you feel especially close to you're on your island together of of love and of acceptance and of this knowing of your story. This level, you know, this other kind of level of of inclusivity in your life. You know, you can tell other people and let that drawbridge down and let them see your your secret and your pain and your shame and let them respond how they're gonna respond.

Whether that's with love and understanding whether that's their own bubbling shame and and guilt and feelings and and all of these things. But be prepared that if you need to bring your drawbridge up to let them feel their feelings. So that way you are on your island with your people and your psychologically safe. Mhm. Be okay with doing that for a little bit for myself. Even though my my mother and father were the ones that knew first and she was and we have some similarities in that my mother um when we spent the day with the maternal fetal specialist, my son was with my mother and father for the day.

And when my mother saw me, she said you have to go get that abortion because it's not we can't save your baby's life, but we can save your life. You have to do this to save your life. And my mom was a die hard catholic for her whole life. She still has catholic but struggles in a lot of ways because heard me, her daughter bent what a lifetime of believing was for her. And so it took her time to work through her own shame and her own guilt.

And it was okay for us to put that drawbridge up for a little bit while she worked through her own her own pieces of that puzzle. But when she was ready to be okay with what? Okay as you can be when you have these kind of things happen right? When she was ready to be part of the love and the acceptance piece, we let the drawbridge back down and let her be part of the story and be part of that pain. So don't be afraid to bring your drawbridge up if you need to to protect yourself a little, especially if you've got someone who, you know, is is a vengeful type person.

That is a strong feeling that is a strong um where to put it um if you know them to be that way, don't be afraid to put your drawbridge up after you share because you need to protect yourself and your your people on your island. Thank you for your advice. Yeah, absolutely. When they come back in and say thank you so much for being on the show. Yeah. Wonderful. Um I was glad earlier that you you touched on um that was something that I've heard a lot from people who are against abortion that women use abortion as a form of and that, you know, as long as abortion is legal, no one's gonna take any responsibility and they're just going to get pregnant and go off and have an abortion.

And that's such a ridiculous thought. And abortion is like you said, it is a surgical procedure. It's, you know, it's not a choice without consequence. Yes, exactly. Inconvenient is a mild way of putting it, but it's it's not something that someone just says, oh, disrupted. Well, I'm just going to have sex with this guy. I don't want to have a child with him, but I'll get an abortion afterwards. It's expensive. Like one thing, it's not covered by insurance, it requires multiple appointments and it's just not, I don't know.

That's just the funniest argument that I hear, but I hear so much, it's going to go back and not requiring a lot of appointments. It's going to go back to not being legal. So it's gonna go back. Yeah. And I just wanted to thank you for you guys sharing your story that was I can only imagine um you know what that was like and it's not, it's not fair and it's incredibly hard and for someone to live with that for so long is is profound. I wanted to mention too that Mommy left me out of your story.

She didn't tell her, she told me when I'm 80 years old, right after I graduated from high school. She she was able to I was able to tell her this story because I knew she was starting to become, well, I didn't necessarily know she was sexual, whether she was sexually active or not, but she was to that age where she had guys and stuff around them. So I went in a way it was determined to, you know, you be careful. You you know, I want you to take care that you don't have to go through something like this, but I want you to know I'm supportive.

If something happens, if you end up pregnant, if you end up meeting this, then you're gonna get supported. So you have always been and I'm glad I had the wonderful Oh. Mhm. Mhm. I am very staunchly for choice. Um I've never been in a position in my life where I needed to make a choice and I don't, but I think that if I were ever in that position, looking back on my particular life, there's never a time when I would have gotten an abortion there. Times when I would have kept her as a child.

There are times when I would have adopted other child, I don't think I would have ever gotten an abortion. But that's my personal choice had my life taken a different course. Like for example, if I had gotten pregnant, you know, in school or any time when I it just wasn't the right time for a pregnancy or a baby or that, then I would have felt comfortable in in my family and my environment. There might have been a lot of people that I would have had to keep it secret from though, but I don't know, I would like to I would just like that choice to be there for me and for everyone else.

And um yeah, absolutely, so I'm gonna bring sean back on now to thank you. Yeah, Thank you guys. Thank you so much. Um can you guys hear me? I can hear you. I just can't see you. Oh, Oh, hopefully the there we go. I didn't get a chance to read all of your book because it was kind of last minute notice. But there was a line that I think if you don't mind, can I just read this one line? Yeah, and I think this really sums up what you said to this is my eulogy for my sweet baby.

Hope it's my cry as a mother to tell the world that my baby mattered and that what happened to us was unjust that right there, I think says so much. Yeah, this from what I've been able to read the book, it's very well written by the way, thank you. It's inspirational, it's relatable. And one of the things that I want My audience to do is visit your website, can you tell us about the 50 state challenge? Because this is something that I think is incredibly important that people can do. Absolutely.

So The 50 States Challenge is a small free funder to help get my book in the hands of every senator, governor, Supreme Court, justice and president. Um and I'm getting the books printed at cost, so I'm not making money off of it. I'm actually spending money on it. Um and then also, and I'm mailing those books directly to them. Um I'm having um a mailing book stuffing into envelope party with some like minded fellows on july 20th, um and getting those books out um into the hands of those people.

And I think that it's important because not to sell books, but to sell, I mean, it's not selling but to get the impact out there to rewrite the narrative surrounding abortion and rewrite the narrative surrounding those that need it as health care and how the laws are doing harm and how they're going to continue to get worse in this post row era. Yeah. And again, please. I think it's $30, Yep, sponsors estate. Um And people $30 that could change so much. If we can reach out even just one right one person, one senator, one member of the house or whatever or even a Supreme Court justice, although it's a little late for them now.

But hopefully this will come back because it is important to change people's perspectives. And I'm telling you this book again, this tells the story that needs to be told and if we're going to shift the political landscape, we have to reach out with emotion, compassion, knowledge and listening. And even if this book getting most likely it will first be read by an aide. Don't underestimate the influence of these congressional aides. Um and you believe me, your phone calls and your letters matter too. So please just call up, it doesn't matter.

Just call up and give a voice, it does matter, it does make an impact and please enjoying this 50 state challenge because it is. So It's instead of donating to your politician that who doesn't need your money, this is something that you can do that can make a real difference for $30, please tell us where we can find the website and where we can get the book please. Yeah, absolutely. So my website is from the green desk dot com and make sure you put from in there. If you go to the green desk you're going to go to a work share in new york and that's just not it.

So it's from the green desk dot com. Um there you can find a link to the book, you can find a link to the 50 States Challenge. You can also get um links directly to my talent li to get services for free um for coaching and group therapy and um narrative meditation as well. Yeah, and I find you to be a very inspirational person. Thank you. Thank you so much for the work that you do and for sharing your story and you know, hopefully you'll come back and let us know how this challenge is going and keep us kind of abreast as to how this is all working out with, you know, in in these States, especially as these laws take attacks Back.

Um again, thank you so much. This has been a wonderful conversation and I hope people have learned it again. Please go to the website, join the 50 state challenge. It is incredibly important. We'll be back next Tuesday. That's crusade America. Thanks again everyone


Kelsey WalkerProfile Photo

Kelsey Walker

Author/ CEO/ Mom

Kelsey Walker started out her life in Kansas City before moving to Chicago with her family. The city and her grandmother formed her passion for reproductive rights and nonprofit missions. She has since worked for nonprofits for the last 12 years, making her start doing search and rescue in New Mexico and climbing her way to becoming a Founder and CEO.
Kelsey is married to her husband, Christopher, who rescued her literally and figuratively. They have two living children, Cayden and Ember, and their baby in the clouds, Hope.
They lost Hope in 2017, and after several years of healing, and seeing the injustice surging in Texas, Kansas, and Mississippi, Kelsey finally wrote her memoir. Face Everything And Rise is a memoir on abortion, child loss, PTSD, and finding the strength to rise and become a reproductive rights advocate. From the book, she formed From The Green Desk, an up-and-coming nonprofit that focuses on coaching, group therapy, and narrative meditation for people who have had abortions, lost pregnancies, or children.