The latest smear campaign that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs supporting lifesaving scientific research is not only an attack on Planned Parenthood, it is also an attack on women who, like me, have voluntarily decided to try to save lives through tissue donation after an abortion.
I was 10 years into a very successful career, my marriage was six years strong, and I was pregnant for the first time. I was at the top of my game — until, at one of my routine checkups, my ob-gyn couldn’t hear our son’s heartbeat. She explained my baby had died and that she was going to schedule a D&C because my body had not naturally eliminated the pregnancy.
In that moment of total crisis for my husband and me, my doctor also asked us a question that helped transform this devastating loss into one with meaning: She asked if we wanted to donate the tissue to an important research project on trisomy 21, a genetic disorder they discovered he had.
All these years later, the loss of our son still brings me more pain than I could have ever imagined. But knowing that we had an option that could lead to scientific discoveries to prevent other couples’ suffering down the line was a gift back to us. Some people may say that my experience was different because my procedure was done to complete a miscarriage. But medically speaking, it was an abortion — in fact, “abortion” is the procedure listed on my discharge form from the hospital.
In many areas of medicine, patients can decide to have tissue donated to help lead to medical breakthroughs. Why should women who have abortions at Planned Parenthood be treated differently?– Linda N., Milwaukee, WI