Letter to the Editor: This is not about abortion, but controlling women

In my medical records, it says I had an abortion: spontaneous. Most know that to be a miscarriage, but for a long time, every time I saw the word, I got upset — but not for reasons you may think.

What I actually had was an ectopic pregnancy, a burst fallopian tube, an emergency surgery, two transfusions, and a brush close enough to Death that I felt his robes swirl as he found other prey. This was a baby that was planned, a pregnancy that was wanted, and I felt the loss very keenly.

This baby, briefly, had a heartbeat.

Now, according to the states of Ohio and Alabama, and even my home state of Alaska, where they too are trying to push anti-abortion bill, my circumstances would be fuzzy — sure, I had been bleeding, but there was a heartbeat. Sure, two days later, my 2-year-old daughter found me passed out from loss of blood on the bathroom floor… but there was a heartbeat. Sure, I was told another 30-minute wait and I would be dead as well… but was there still a heartbeat? As one senator — male, of course — suggested, couldn’t we move the fetus to the uterus and save them both? Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about women knows that it simply does not work that way.

These bills actually defy science and biology. Yes — there is a heartbeat to pump blood to a growing fetus, but at four weeks, at six weeks, there is no brain activity — for there is no brain. We have romanticized the heart to such an extent that common sense no longer matters. We have laws that allow us to pull the plug on the brain-dead — why wouldn’t these apply for those who have yet to develop one?

Make no mistake — these bills are not about babies, life or even abortion. These laws are about privileged men who believe women cannot be trusted to make decisions on their health with their doctor. It’s not even about an accidental pregnancy — it’s about forcing women to their will as they exalt in their virility and shirk responsibility. It’s about taking away fundamental human — women’s — rights. But if you cannot trust a woman to make her own decisions, why on earth would you entrust her to raise a child that you forced her to have?

I refuse to allow a few men to dictate what I can or cannot do with my body, or those of my daughters, their daughters, and so on. When the punishment for an abortion is vastly more than for that of a rapist who “shouldn’t suffer for a mistake” it becomes abundantly clear. This is not about abortion. This is about control. And I refuse.

This is MY life. MY body, and I will not be reduced to less than you — not while my brain still functions, and my heart still beats.

— Elizabeth Ulricksen, Kenai

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