On Wednesday evening, Chrissy Teigen and husband John Legend shared some heartbreaking news: they had lost their baby, a son they had decided to name Jack, to pregnancy complications.
Almost immediately, Teigen was inundated with words of support and solidarity from fans and women who had experienced miscarriage themselves. But like any woman brave enough to be vulnerable on social media, Teigen was also attacked: by conspiracy theorists, would-be haters, and GOP politicians hellbent on politicizing one woman’s excruciating loss.
“Hoping that Chrissy Teigen and John Legend will reevaluate their thoughts on abortion after their heartbreaking experience,” Eroll Webber, a GOP candidate for congress out of California, tweeted mere hours after the couple announced their loss. “It’s not a clump of cells. It’s either a baby or it’s not.”
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The vile decision to politicize one woman’s loss in order to curtail abortion rights aside — and what a gigantic aside that is, because that insensitivity alone is worthy of public shaming — this tweet by a Republican vying for public office highlights the overwhelming misunderstanding of those who oppose the constitutional right to legal abortion. They have a foundational misunderstanding of pregnancy itself.
A reported one in four women will have an abortion during their lifetime, to say nothing of the trans men and nonbinary people who will also make the decision to terminate their pregnancies. One in four of those same people will also experience miscarriage — their hopes of carrying a pregnancy to term dashed by biology and chance and circumstance. To pretend these two groups are at odds with one another is to be fundamentally and willfully ignorant about reproduction and the common outcomes of conception.
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The woman who endures a miscarriage or a pregnancy and infancy loss, and the woman who has an abortion, is the same woman. I would know. I am both of these women.
In my 20s, I had an abortion at seven weeks gestation after learning I was pregnant. At the time I was a year out of college, woefully broke, living paycheck to paycheck, and in what can only be described as a toxic, borderline abusive relationship. The decision to seek out abortion care was almost immediate: my partner and I both knew we were not ready or capable of being parents. I had my abortion on a Saturday, watched rerun episodes of The Office afterward, and returned to work the following Monday.
Years later, after meeting the most wonderful man who is now the father of my two children, ages six and one, I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with twins. In a far better position — financially, mentally, emotionally, and romantically — I knew I was ready. I could be the mom my future sons deserved. But like Teigen tweeted in August when she announced her unplanned, and very welcomed, pregnancy,