The bravest thing a person can do is speak their truth.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) took to the House floor to share her experiences of forced childbirth delivery on Wednesday. After the House passed its first abortion law, the 80-year-old congresswoman had some things to say. In a speech she shared via Twitter, Wilson revealed her first conceived child was pronounced dead inside her womb. “At seven months, the baby stopped moving. He was soon pronounced dead, right inside of my womb, and the doctor was prohibited by law from inducing labor,” she said, People reported.
Today, I relived one of the most painful times in my life on the House floor. I shared my experience of being forced to carry my dead baby. Prohibited by law to induce labor, I carried my deceased child inside me for two months and almost died. We can’t go back. pic.twitter.com/emuWzQDgWX
— Rep. Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) January 11, 2023
Calling it one of the most “painful times in her life,” the Florida representative condemned the alarming statistics regarding the matter carried out by her beloved state. “If abortion is banned nationwide, Florida will be the most impacted state, seeing maternal deaths increase by 29%. That’s the mother,” Wilson said. “The nation will see a 24% increase in maternal death with a disproportionate 39% rise in maternal mortality for Black women.”
There are so many truths to this in more states than just Florida. Last year, PBS reported that people of color comprise 44% of the population in Mississippi. However, 81% of women are receiving abortions. In Louisiana, minorities represent 42% of the population, and close to 72% of those have received abortions.
Wilson expressed women’s physical and emotional dangers when forced to carry a deceased child. “My little body was wretched with pain, weakness, and frailty. I lost 50 pounds. I would crawl into a fetal position in my mother’s lap most of the day and in my husband’s most of the night,” Wilson remembered. The experience didn’t end there for her. She shared how empty she felt after giving birth. When she was discharged, Wilson said she was “in a wheelchair, empty-handed, no baby, no nothing.” “I watched other mothers and families celebrate their newborns while I grieved and cried,” she said.
She concluded her speech by taking a stand for those who share in her grief and those coming behind her. “You cannot put young childbearing women at risk because of a group of ludicrous hateful majority male congressmen who have no idea what it feels to even bear the pain of childbirth or even have the courage to carry a child for nine months, who take pride in monitoring women’s vaginas.”
Her pleas went unnoticed. The House passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act in a 220-210 vote. Congress’ website states, “a health care practitioner who is present must (1) exercise the same degree of care as would reasonably be provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure the child is immediately admitted to a hospital.” It continues to say “additionally, a health care practitioner or other employee who has knowledge of a failure to comply with the degree-of-care requirements must immediately report such failure to law enforcement.”