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“Family and Equality”

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By Rebecca Weaver Hamm

Here in Western New York, one could ask why we are concerned about the overturn of Roe v Wade.  Our state legalized abortion three years before Roe.  Access to any aspect of health care is limited by provider availability or travel time and cost, not by law.  My concern is that in a rush to pass legislation, state governments are making our families more vulnerable, not less.

My friends around the world and I are in that time in our lives when we are marrying and starting our families.  I feel so lucky to have had the children I wanted when I wanted to have them, free from almost all complications.  My friends and I celebrate each joyous and safe birth, ooh and aah over beautiful babies, and congratulate one another on a hard job well done.  Not everyone has an easy time, of course, and we’ve held our breaths for preemies and NICU care.  We’ve also mourned loss and consoled one another: multiple miscarriages, stillbirth, and difficult decisions to make when pregnancy doesn’t go smoothly.  For these and many situations, we need access to appropriate health care.  We need providers who can give us medication or a D&C to care for an incomplete miscarriage.  We need medical schools across the country to train our doctors to provide this care, and to get enough experience to do it well.  My first pregnancy went past term and labor was induced at 41 weeks.  The medication used is called Cytotec, or misoprostol. Legislation that restricts abortion access, hastily written, that restricts access to this important medication can endanger our health, from miscarriage complications, to stillbirth, to the risks of a pregnancy that continues too long.

Other court cases based on the 14th Amendment are now at risk.  Same-sex marriage, passed in New York 4 years before Obergefell v Hodges, is at risk in much of our country.  If overturned, our families will be more vulnerable: who can make medical decisions when we’re sick, or be with us in hospital?  Will parents face difficulty in giving basic permission for caring for their children, from medical appointments and treatments to signing a permission slip?  Members of my family went to great care and expense here in New York to make sure both moms are legally recognized.  What of my friends in a western state who don’t have that protection for their young family?

Our friends and loved ones across this country are already facing the effects of Roe’s overturn.  Stand with them, stand for them, stand for the love we hold for them and their families.

Rebecca Weaver Hamm lives in Alfred with her husband and young children.  An arts administrator and voice teacher, she is an active volunteer with the local fire department.

*Tomorrow we will publish a second speech from the recent “Women’s Wave” Rally held in Wellsville. Read Lee Marcus Muse, speech and her poem: “A Woman’s Dream of Truth, Youth, Hillary and Ruth”

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