My uterus, my choice

As I scrolled aimlessly through Facebook last Thursday night, something caught my eye.

“An open message to my Republican colleagues.”

It was a Facebook post from Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth urging her Republican colleagues not to approve Supreme Court Justice Nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

It wasn’t the fact that she was encouraging them not to approve the judge that surprised me. Judge Barrett is a controversial pick and many Democrats have spoken out on how the nomination and approval should occur after the next president is sworn in.

What did surprise me is her reason for why she believes Judge Barrett should not be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

Sen. Duckworth’s reason?

Judge Barrett has supported pro-birth groups that support the criminalization of not only abortion, but of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The nomination of Judge Barrett would jeopardize reproductive rights all around the country.

IVF is a technique used to help those with uteruses get pregnant. IVF is when a human egg is fertilized with sperm in a laboratory and then the fertilized egg is transferred to the uterus. IVF does not guarantee pregnancy, but it gives hope to those attempting to have biological children.

A New York Times article reported that in 2006, Judge Barrett and her husband both signed a newspaper ad that was placed by an anti-abortion group in Indiana called St. Joseph County Right to Life, which is now part of the organization Right to Life Michiana, according to NPR.

This same group has also made numerous comments in opposition to IVF because it results in the discarding of fertilized embryos and, according to some pro-birth activists, life begins at fertilization and IVF is seen as manslaughter.

Although this ad did not speak directly in opposition to IVF, the group’s Executive Director, Jackie Appleman, stated in an interview with The Guardian that the group supports criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions and doctors who discard embryos as part of IVF treatments.

Sen. Duckworth wrote an emotional plea to her colleagues as she expressed fear that appointing Judge Barrett to the SCOTUS could potentially result in the criminalization of the infertility treatment that provided her two daughters and as well as families around the world with their own children.

By criminally charging doctors who perform IVF, our government will be putting further limits on what an individual with a uterus can do with their body, and it establishes the belief that the government has control over who can and does get pregnant.

Since when did an embryo have more rights about my body than I do?

Since when do nine individuals get to decide whether I decide to get pregnant?

The appointment of Judge Barrett to the SCOTUS is a threat to reproductive rights to every individual with a uterus and to every family in the United States.

As the weeks pass, it seems we uncover more and more of Judge Barrett’s horrific beliefs even before her approval process begins, and I am beginning to lose faith that my rights as an American citizen will be protected. 

As a woman, I should not fear that I could wake up one day without any control over my body.

Although The Handmaid’s Tale jokes can be funny, they seem less like jokes and more like a possible future reality for women. 

When reading the senator’s post, I felt an emotional connection to it.

Like Sen. Duckworth, my mom struggled for years with infertility as she tried to have her first child.

It took over four years and multiple rounds of IVF for my mom to finally receive a positive pregnancy test.

IVF gave my mom the biological children she had spent years dreaming of, but the appointment of Judge Barrett could take this dream away from future parents.

Sen. Duckworth and my mom are not alone in this struggle as the CDC reports that 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 struggle with becoming or staying pregnant.

For women, criminalization of IVF would not only result in the loss of control over their bodies, but would also limit their ability to start a family.

Although my parents had me in an “atypical” way, my mom still deserved the right to choose the way she conceived her children.

My life is just as valuable as that of someone who was born through the “typical” process.