Last week, Robin Utz went to Washington.
Utz, an American woman from the Midwestern state of Missouri, arrived there during the confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s choice for the nation’s highest court, which Trump has indicated he would like to ban abortion in the United States. She went, invited by elected officials, to tell the story of her abortion in November.
“The mission is to tell our story,” Utz says, referring to herself and other American women who’ve chosen to have abortions.
In Washington, Utz’s story featured prominently in California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s statements of opposition to Trump’s nominee for US Supreme Court judge, Neil Gorusch. It was used as an example of how anti-abortion legislation, Feinstein argued, often appears to be at odds with the medical profession.
Fighting the bigger battle
Utz is at the helm of a growing push among American women – in her state and beyond – to tell their own stories about abortion and to ensure access to the procedure for future generations. It is difficult to do that, she says. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding the procedure in the US and particularly where she lives; Missouri is an example of the many states across the country engaged in a mounting bid to restrict access to abortion with a series of bills – some of which are meant to bar certain aspects of the procedure, others to convince and embolden people against it.
Fault Lines – The abortion war
When Utz tells her story, she races through the details she finds more difficult to discuss. This is not because of the abortion itself, she is careful to note, but because of what many campaigners for access to legal, safe abortion say is misinformation about the emotional toll of the procedure. Utz’s story is difficult for her because she wanted her pregnancy. An ultrasound revealed foetal anomalies – a rare kidney disease – that her child would not have been able to survive.
“We’d have had to immediately put her on…