I Am Tired of Politicians
Using My Grief for Their Gain
By Anne Mellinger-Birdsong
I have had two abortions, both when I was married. My decision to terminate for medical reasons was one of
the hardest things I have done in my life. It is my personal story, my anguish, my grief.
I am tired of politicians using my private tragedy as a motivation to get out the vote and get re-elected. I am
tired of my grief being used to “rally the troops,” with proposed bans on choices like mine being used as a reward.
I am tired of people using my babies’ deaths callously, impersonally, for their gain. My babies were loved and
wanted. They had names. They are not fodder for campaigns. They are not fodder for asking for donations.
I am tired of politicians using bad data or misrepresenting facts to promote an idea, when the real goal is to
eliminate my ability to make the best decision for me and my family.
I am tired of politicians thinking they know my medical history and status so well, they can decide what is in
my best interest without ever having seen me. I am tired of politicians practicing medicine without a license. I
am tired of politicians mandating tests for no reason, and not allowing the government to pay for them. I am tired
of politicians thinking our doctors will mislead or dupe us, and dictating what they have to say and waiting periods
they must comply with.
I am tired of politicians pretending to care so much for “unborn babies,” and then voting to cut Medicaid for
children, and medical programs for children and adults with special needs.
I am tired of politicians acting so self-assured that they pretend that outlawing abortions will keep them from
happening, whereas in reality it will make abortions dangerous, unsterile, unsafe, and potentially life-threatening.
I am tired of politicians pretending that banning abortions is the best way to prevent something they don’t like,
instead of looking at scientific data that supports comprehensive education and widely available inexpensive birth
I am tired of politicians talking as if all women who have abortions are young, single, and not fitting their
ideal of a virtuous woman. Many of us are married. Many are too poor to afford birth control. And even the “young
and carefree” women are intelligent enough to make their own life decisions.
I am tired of politicians trying to use the force of government to make every person live by the precepts of
their religion. I am tired of them disregarding people within one religion who have diverse interpretations of
the Bible, people with diverse religions, or people with no religion at all.
I call B.S. on them. They are being false and duplicitous. They are pretending to care about babies, when they
don’t. They are pretending to care about babies with disabilities, when they cut funding for programs to help them.
They are pretending to want to prevent abortions, when they prohibit the very thing that will help reduce the need
for them. They are pretending to care about women’s health and safety, while at the same time promoting ideas and
laws that will lead to deaths, infections, sterility, and untold agony. They are pretending to care about women,
when they are really trying to control us, shame us, and punish us for not following the politicians’ religious
We women who have had abortions, are intelligent capable human beings. Whether we are young or not, poor or
not, married or not, we are all able to make independent, thoughtful decisions. Trust women.
Mellinger-Birdsong is a pediatrician and epidemiologist who lives in Atlanta. She has worked at city, county,
state, and federal health agencies. She has worked in areas as diverse as communicable diseases, vaccine preventable
diseases, radiation environmental health, chronic disease and environmental public health, asthma, a county STD
clinic, and a Native American Indian Health Service clinic.