With a heavy heart and a sense of urgency, I must address a recent ruling by the 5th Circuit Court, a regressive decision that could have severe consequences for women’s health. This ruling allows Texas emergency rooms to deny life-saving abortions for expectant mothers, and it hits close to home for me.

Over the years, I have faced the terrifying reality of not one, not two, but three emergency abortions. Each time, I found myself in excruciating pain, surpassing the relief of Tylenol or over-the-counter meds. It led me to the emergency room, where I discovered I was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy that had already begun rupturing my reproductive organs and causing life-threatening internal bleeding.

In these situations, there is no medical intervention available to save the pregnancy. The only sensible option was to terminate the pregnancy and save my life. Had the medical professionals turned me away in fear of facing punitive actions, I would not be alive today to care for my family or to advocate for healthcare reform. Any unnecessary delays to my care could have caused irreparable damage to my reproductive system making it impossible to be in the position I am now – six months pregnant with my fourth child.

The grief of losing a pregnancy was immensely difficult to process, but surviving these life-threatening situations made me realize how fortunate I am. Nonetheless, I can’t help but think about women in Texas and nationwide facing similar circumstances, potentially losing access to critical, life-saving care due to flawed public policy.

This issue extends beyond personal experiences. It’s about the hundreds of women we lose every year during childbirth and pregnancy due to complications like ectopic pregnancies, preeclampsia, hemorrhaging, and more. It affects families—fathers losing daughters, husbands losing wives, children losing mothers, and siblings losing sisters.

This regressive decision by the 5th Circuit Court not only threatens reproductive justice but contributes to the pregnancy-to-prison pipeline, a disturbing pattern facing women, physicians and working-class families all across America. Doctors could face fines exceeding $100,000, potential prison sentences of up to 99 years, and the revocation of their medical licenses. This punitive approach exacerbates the hurdles in providing essential reproductive healthcare. Furthermore, it exposes the formidable challenges women nationwide encounter in accessing emergency abortions and turns reproductive justice from a catchphrase into a rallying cry for comprehensive, inclusive policies. It means dismantling barriers to reproductive healthcare and acknowledging that diverse experiences should inform the decisions made in our legislative chambers. Simply put, we need more women in Congress like me who have lived through these issues.

For the next three months, before my rainbow baby arrives, I am committed to raising awareness on this issue and bolstering the movement for healthcare reform. But it doesn’t stop there. After those three months, I’m determined to work with members of the community to hold everyone in Washington accountable who has played a role in obstructing women’s reproductive rights and making life harder for working families.

Sharing this deeply personal experience isn’t just a reflection; it’s a call to action for a Congress that understands the real-life implications of its decisions! Join me in the fight for health reform, reproductive rights, and a future where no one is denied life-saving care. Together, we can forge a nation where stories like mine serve as beacons guiding our collective commitment to justice, empathy, and the holistic well-being of all. Change is coming.