To: David Brooks, on Imaginary Political Consulting

“It was like any other appointment until the moment we met with our doctor to go over the results. He told us there was an excess of amniotic fluid and that growth had dropped off the chart. He explained that the fetus could not swallow, and if it survived birth, the baby would not be able to breathe outside the womb. Some terrible, unnamed condition that had been winding through the pregnancy, showing itself in glimpses, came into focus at 30 weeks and snuffed out any hope. I shuddered at the morbid thought of Erika carrying this pregnancy for another 10 weeks knowing that there would be such a tragic outcome; and it was a risk. She couldn’t push during pregnancy due to a brain surgery the year before. If my wife suddenly went into labor and wasn’t in a hospital, she could die from a stroke.” -Garin Marschall, New York

“The neurologist delivered more bad news: additional brain anomalies. My little daughter would likely never walk, talk, swallow, or support the weight of her head. She would require brain surgery to extend her life, but no surgery could ever cure her. ‘What can she do?’ I asked. ‘Does a child like mine just sleep all day?’ He winced at the question. ‘Children like yours are not generally comfortable enough to sleep.’ My wall of hope and denial crashed down around me. I could not subject my child to that kind of suffering. I wished for a miracle, but I would not risk my daughter’s well-being. My heart sang clearly: I would give my daughter peace.” — Kate Carson, Massachusetts

“The doctor came in and looked at the black-and-white image moving on the small screen. She reiterated that things weren’t measuring correctly and recommended that they see a specialist at the hospital. Nicole left the appointment crying. Twenty-four hours later, they met with the fetal care specialist… ‘The doctor was nice, but her delivery was ice-cold. She said, ‘Things aren’t measuring correctly — the femur, the arms, the head, the heart. There’s a constellation of abnormalities.’ My whole confidence got really bleak. All of the sudden, the conversation turned to, ‘You need to start considering what your options are.’ It took a moment for what that meant to sink in…‘There were two situations in front of us, and both of them were horrible,” says Nicole. ‘One was that we brought a child into the world who would never have a normal life and would probably only live a few months. And then there was this other possibility, which I think we all felt very, very grateful for, that we could terminate the pregnancy.” -Nicole and Anton Schlessinger, Texas

“Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said vulnerable Republicans — she cited Dean Heller in Nevada — might have as much to lose in voting for the measure as vulnerable Democrats had in voting against it. ‘Since when’s the last time we saw a Democrat pay for what is essentially a pro-choice vote?’ Ms. Duffy asked. ‘It’s been a long time.’”



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