I’ve been trying to articulate my anger about Sarah Pitlyk’s nomination as a judge. Here are my collected thoughts, both as a proud mother thanks to an egg donor and as a proud wife of a lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping others.
Sarah Pitlyk is a danger to reproductive rights community. She is anti-fertility treatment, anti-surrogacy, anti-contraception, anti-choice, and anti LGBTQ+.
I am no less a mother because I partnered with an egg donor. No less a mother because I can’t conceive without fertility treatment. No less a mother because I am doomed to miscarry using my own DNA.
Defining family using a heteronormative vocabulary and lack of scientific understanding leads to personhood laws, which diminish our reproductive and other rights.
Under U.S. law, embryos are considered property, not people. When we confer rights to embryos, we open up a terrifying reality: Elsewhere in the world, like El Salvador, women who miscarry or deliver a stillborn baby can be convicted of murder. Murder!
Under U.S. law, a person cannot be forced to donate a part of their body to save someone else’s life. This is true whether it’s a uterus to support a fetus or a kidney for a kid on the other side of the country.
Using the term “embryo adoption” reinforces the notion that embryos are people. Yes, it’s quicker and easier to say “I adopted an embryo” than “I received a donated embryo” but words matter. And these words have real legal ramifications.
When a person who is anti-contraception, anti-fertility treatment, anti-LGBTQ+; who lacks the compassion to understand the horror of infertility and the terror of pregnancy loss; who the American Bar Association deems supremely unqualified is nominated to a lifetime position that requires the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, we must fight back. Now, more than ever, we must be intentional about word choices. We must condemn personhood laws. We must fight for all reproductive rights—the freedom to get pregnant, stay pregnant, or cease to be pregnant—and give that freedom to everyone.
To judge effectively, we must be non-judgmental. This is true whether you have a gavel in your hands, or a sippy cup, or a PIO syringe, or your tear-stained face.
I am no less a mother just because some scientifically uneducated, ultra-conservative, so-called Christian lawyer thinks so.
And neither are you.
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