Reproductive Choice Means All Choice, Part 2: Colorado’s Proposed Amendment 67


Me and some of my co-workers (plus Hilda the baby bulldog!) at the NO on 67 rally a few weeks ago


I’m fired up right now. Which is kind of shocking because it’s 11pm on a Saturday night and I’ve been working all night, and usually I’m a pile of exhaustoid dust by now. But, I’m gonna run with it.

(I also fully recognize that this post might ruffle some feathers, and while I invite spirited debate, personal attacks and general meanness will get your comment removed. I mean, duh.)

So, recently a fellow blogger took on the very complicated issue of selective reduction – from a theoretical perspective. She mentioned that she and her partner had made a careful and well thought out decision that IF the situation arose, they would likely chose to reduce to two fetuses. She followed this up with very thought out and self aware paragraph about reconsidering going forward with further IUIs when there was the chance of higher order multiples.

There was a comment left on this blog which urged her to reconsider and mentioned something about “killing babies” when discussing selective reduction. She said she found it particularly distasteful for people who had conceived through advanced reproductive therapies to pursue selective reduction, and that if someone went forward with an IUI (or, I assume, other ART treatment) knowing there was a chance of conceiving high order multiples, they should “take the consequences.”

I left a comment in response, but I also really wanted to follow up on my previous posts about how deeply intwined I think ART and other kinds of reproductive choice (like birth control and abortion) are, and why those of us actively TRYING to get knocked up should give a lot of shits when legislation or other rhetoric pops up that is against things that make NOT having babies possible. (for reference, you can see my past posts here and here)

In Colorado, a small but very persistent group has been working to get a “personhood” measure into the state constitution for quite a few years. Every time it’s been brought to the people, it has been defeated easily. This year, the group has changed their tack and have billed it the “Brady Bill” by co-opting the heartbreaking story of a pregnant woman struck by a drunk driver who subsequently lost her pregnancy (at approximately 7 months along.) Of course, this is horrific and there should be (and are!) laws in place that protect women in this situation. Unfortunately, this group is once again trying to define “personhood” as beginning at the moment of fertilization.

The consequences of this are far reaching. It would outlaw ALL abortion at any phase, and could put some birth control into question as well. It would also OUTLAW IVF. It could make it possible for women who miscarry to be investigated for MURDER. It would make medical records PUBLIC. It is super scary.

And I really, really hope it won’t pass. And I do generally believe that the people of my great (and widely “purple”) state will defeat the measure, again. But I also don’t doubt the power of a good sob story, and this is a good one. It’s just being really deeply abused in this case.

Unfortunately, there are bills like this popping up all over the place, and in some places, their likelihood of passage is much greater.

So, here’s what it ultimately comes down to for me:

I am grateful to have the CHOICE to have babies in the way I am. Without IVF, my ability to create a family would be limited. For many of us, it would be impossible. We need these therapies in order to realize our dreams. My choice to bear a child is no better or more noble than another person’s decision NOT to have one.

I honestly believe that if we want to have our choices about our reproductive health respected, we have to respect every one elses. That includes abortion – for whatever reason – whether that is to reduce a pregnancy to a healthier and more sustainable number of embryos/fetuses, or because you just don’t want to have a child. When we start saying our choices are better than others – in a broad and generalized sweeping way – we undermine the choices we have made. 

As hard as we have fought to get pregnant, if the situation forced us to consider termination. . .. because of health or some other god-awful unforeseen circumstance, I would indeed consider it. And I would want my choice to terminate a pregnancy to be as supported and as legal as my choice to start a pregnancy.



10 thoughts on “Reproductive Choice Means All Choice, Part 2: Colorado’s Proposed Amendment 67

  1. I also think that it undermines a woman’s right to have control over her own body. But of course, we live in a society that is in denial of its misogynistic undertones. After all, women can vote, so they must be treated as equals right?

  2. Having grown up in a pro-life household, it’s really all about punishing women. My parents stopped donating to a charity for unwed mothers because they decided it was “too lenient” on them, whatever the hell too lenient is for a teen-aged girl who is basically forced to give her baby up for adoption at the end of an unwanted pregnancy. They were really all about people not having sex who weren’t married and don’t want babies. Also, if you want babies you better be heterosexually married to a fertile person. It’s a very cruel and punishing world they live in.

    I saw that post. It sickened me and it took a lot of effort not to comment (I didn’t want to start anything on someone else’s blog). It was very telling how that poster didn’t seem to consider how higher order multiples are more risky and lead to worse outcomes for the children themselves. Instead she seemed much more interest in” the consequences of this action” (this action being ART).

    “Triplet or higher-order births are associated with an increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months’ corrected age when compared with extremely low birth weight singleton infants, and there was a trend toward an increased risk when compared with twins.” –

    “reduction of triplets to twins is effective to improve preterm birth and fetal growth.” —

    “Neonatal mortality was 13.5% for twins, 26.8% for triplets and 30% for quadruplets. In vitro fertilization, use of ovulation induction agents, and cesarean delivery in the women with triplet and quadruplet were significantly higher than in those with twin pregnancies, (P = 0.0001)”

    And this is not even touching the financial aspects, or the fact that high order multiples lead to divorce, and divorce can worsen child outcomes. (Not that divorce is always bad — it can be good, but some of those divorces are likely avoidable by there being less stress in a marriage.)

    In short that whole thing sickened me as it was not science based by instead based on shortsighted rigid morality ideals influenced by personal desires.

  3. Holy breathtakingly draconian legislative proposal. I’m gobsmacked. In the midst of my own rabbit hole issues and living in another country, I’ve been oblivious to this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. My voice does not count in CO but if there is some way I can add it to any opposition already being mounted, I’d be grateful for any links enabling me to do so (with an apology for making you do the work). Meanwhile, hoping all is well with you, the bean and LA.

  4. I get asked all of the time if my job is hard because my family has been through 3+ years of infertility. My job is working for abortion access, there’s no getting around it… I help low income people get abortions. And you know what? It’s never an issue for me.

    I see the similarities between those who want and need abortions and those who want and need ART. No one wants to be in a position to need either, and your are super privileged if you are able to access either. And yet the stigma for those who have abortions is out of control. It’s shameful. We should all be able to create the families we want.

    I have lots of feelings about how selective reduction is discussed or not discussed in the ART world. I can’t believe how shy RE’s are when talking about it… These doctors are making it possible for humans to get pregnant with 2,3,4+ babies at once, which is not healthy for babies or the person carrying the pregnancy– it should be at the very least talked about in seriousness before someone is on any kind of drug that increases the likelihood of Multiples. Also, selective reduction is an abortion.

  5. And so much of it is a quality of life issue. If you KNOW you can’t afford triplets and that life would be inherently unpleasant, I think the right thing to do is reduce. I read that post too and felt sad for her and I hope that it doesn’t come to that. The other thing about it is that it’s far less expensive to have an IUI than to raise triplets for a lifetime, so to say “oh you can afford ART you should be able to afford the consequences” (obviously not an actual quote, but something I felt was underlying in the comment) is just false. Now that we’re using injectables (if we ever can start a new effing cycle) I’m afraid of twins, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take because we want this so much, and we would make it work. Triplets? I don’t know that I could reduce, but it would be a hard decision either way, and one that I would very much need to include my doctor and lots of research in.

  6. Wait … they can investigate women for miscarrying? That’s a body reaction, an involuntary reaction for the most part on their body! I didn’t even know that kind of thing was possible! I’m just mind-boggled right now.

  7. I had a very dangerous pregnancy during which I found that I was willing to take any risk to myself and any risk of disability for my child just to be able to hold a living baby in my arms. That experience made me even more committed to reproductive choice for all women. I can’t imagine a woman being forced against her will to be in the position I was in. I’ve just been reading the book Radical Relations about the history of gay and lesbian parents. The book discusses the close alliances between the first generation of lesbians to use insemination, pro-choice activists, and activists working to challenge forced sterilization (particularly of poor African American women). I think you are absolutely right that women who desperately want to have babies and women who desperately don’t want to have babies are linked together and we need to look out for each other.

  8. When I was about 8 months pregnant with Tadpole, we went to meet with a lawyer to discuss 2nd parent adoption. The lawyer’s office was in the same building as a clinic that provided abortions, so we had to walk past some of the anti-choice protesters. One of them made a comment to me about how clearly I must share their views, and I told her that actually, I didn’t I was very pro-choice to begin with, but the experience of being pregnant actually made me MORE pro-choice. Pregnancy is full of all sorts of discomforts, and experiencing just a few of them made me really aware of how awful it would be to be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy.

  9. PREACH IT. I’ve always been a huge supporter of reproductive choice, but it wasn’t until I’ve had to confront ARTs personally that I’ve truly understood what that means. It’s really different sides of the same coin.

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