United States Senator Gary Peters has done something that no other senator in office has done before: open up to a personal experience with abortion. In an interview with Elle magazine published Monday, Peters talks about how his first wife, Heidi, was initially denied an abortion in the late 1980s, despite the fact that her life was at risk.
Peters, a Michigan Democrat, said it’s a story of “how complicated and heartbreaking decisions can be linked to reproductive health, a situation I went through with my first wife.”
Speaking with Laura Bassett for Elle, Peters said Heidi was four months pregnant with their second child when her water broke. The fetus was left without amniotic fluid and could not survive. His wife was told to expect a miscarriage.
“The mental anguish someone goes through is intense,”
When that didn’t happen, Heidi’s doctor recommended an abortion, but hospital policy banned the procedure.
Her health deteriorated as she waited days for a miscarriage and the doctor feared she could face a life-threatening infection. She tried to appeal to the hospital, but the abortion was still denied, even though Heidi could have lost her womb or even died, Bassett reports.
“I still remember vividly [the doctor] he left a message on the answering machine saying, “They refused to give me permission, not on the basis of good medical practice, but simply on politics.” I recommend that you immediately find another doctor who can perform this procedure quickly, ”Peters said.
The couple were friends with another doctor at a different hospital, so Heidi was finally able to get a potentially life-saving abortion there.
In a statement to Elle, Heidi said the whole experience was “painful and traumatic”. “If it weren’t for urgent and critical medical care, I could have lost my life,” he said.
Peters said he’s making this extremely personal story public because he knows things like this happen to people every day. “I have always considered myself in favor of choice and believe that women should be able to make these decisions on their own, but when you experience them in real life, you realize the significant impact it can have on a family,” he said. ‘interview.
He is also concerned about President Trump’s Supreme Court candidate Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose confirmation hearings began on Monday. Barrett hasduring his stay at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal, both times in favor of restrictions on access to abortion.
“The new Supreme Court candidate could make a decision that will have major consequences for women’s reproductive health for decades to come. This is a pivotal time for reproductive freedom,” Peters said.
Legal analysts expect a more conservative Supreme Court to allow states to enforce more breadth, which could effectively make the procedure unavailable in much of the country. The court may even decide to reconsider , the historic 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Peters is also sharing her heartbreaking personal story at a pivotal time for her campaign. Michigan is a fluctuating state that voted for President Trump in 2016, and Peters is in a tight race against Republican John James, who has he described himself as “100% #ProLife” and said he supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In a Facebook ad, Peters said his Republican challenger “opposes abortion, refusing even to make an exception when a woman’s life is at risk” and “wants to make it a crime even in the event of rape and incest, “reports the Detroit Free Press. . The document said James did not answer questions during this year’s campaign about whether he is in favor of allowing exceptions when his mother’s life is at risk.
CBS News has also reached out to Peters and James for comment and is awaiting a response.
–Kate Smith contributed to the reports.