by: Michele Hendrickson, SFLA Capital Area Regional Coordinator
After a long day on Capitol Hill waddling from office to office at 22 weeks pregnant and arriving at my parking garage 45 minutes after it closed, I am finally able to reflect on my day.
The highlight of the day? Spending time with students who are as passionate as I am on supporting equal rights for all humans born and preborn. The biggest disappointment of the day? Meeting with Congressman Tim Ryan’s (D-OH) Chief of Staff.
The Congressman recently came out stating that he has “changed his mind” on the issue of abortion, but it wasn’t clear how extreme his views were until we heard it straight from his Chief of Staff, Ron Grimes.
Students from the Washington, DC area met with Mr. Grimes (because the Congressman was unavailable) and brought up their concerns about abortion, sharing personal stories of friends or family members heavily burned by this issue. One student mentioned a teacher who confided in her about how glad she was that a pro-life club had finally started at their school. This teacher hopes that with a loving pro-life message, young girls can receive the support they need so they do not have to undergo the same pressure and emotional distress she felt when she had her abortion.
Another student, Casey, bravely told of her own mother feeling pressured by doctors to undergo a late-term abortion due to possible complications just before her and her twin brother were born prematurely. Although her twin passed away a few months after birth, Casey is alive today to tell her story. Mr. Grimes flatly responded that “it was her mother’s choice in that moment” – translation: It’s OK that doctors could have taken your life, and that I might not be talking to you right now.
Despite the emotional pleas from the students, Grimes went on to explain that Rep. Ryan’s position supporting late-term abortion is one that “was not new” and that “had developed over his many years in office.”
While listening to this man dismiss everything the students had shared and avoid addressing the humanity of the preborn child in the same way the Congressman had failed to do in his op-ed, I had to speak up and asked him to consider my preborn daughter, Lucy. At twenty-two weeks and kicking, Lucy was there in person and represented in a 3D ultrasound I had taped to a letter. When we first began our talk, I handed Mr. Grimes the letter, telling him the photo was of my 22-week-old preborn daughter, and joked that “of course the Congressman would want to keep a picture of her because she’s so cute, right?” Mr. Grimes smiled and replied agreeing that she was cute. He held this letter during our entire conversation glancing down at her picture as he spoke.
“Would you agree that Congressman Ryan does not believe in legal protection for females like Lucy?”
“Yes, that is correct,” Grimes responded
I rarely have words prepared for a response like that because, in my experience on college and high school campuses, even students who consider themselves pro-choice understand how truly gruesome a late-term abortion procedure is for the child. In my daily conversations with students across the DC region, the majority of people agree with restrictions on abortions at this point of a child’s development due to the scientific research proving they feel pain. According to Gallup, 64% of Americans think abortion should be illegal in the second trimester and that number jumps to 80% for third trimester abortions.
It’s time we call this like it is. Congressman Tim Ryan can go on to say he believes the federal government should not make choices for us, and that sounds great. I love choosing things like what car to drive, what job to have, and what neon color hair I’ll have next week, but in no world should it ever be acceptable that our federal government chooses NOT to stand up for the legal protection of humans based on age.
Call or write to your congressperson TODAY – it matters! More information here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.