This op-ed was originally published by the Detroit Free Press 08/22/23

By Amanda Mazur 

My husband and I were expecting what we hoped would be our second child in 2017 when a routine ultrasound at 20 weeks revealed potential problems — problems that quickly opened my eyes to a host of Michigan anti-abortion laws that serve no medical purpose but succeed in making access to a common medical procedure needlessly difficult, dangerous and costly. 

After consulting with specialists over the course of a couple weeks, further testing showed major heart defects and other issues so severe there was little chance I’d be able to carry my pregnancy to term, and no possibility my baby would survive if I did manage to give birth.  

The news was shocking, and heartbreaking. I needed to have an abortion. 

The other option would be to simply wait for either a stillbirth, or the birth of a child destined to die quickly. I was already experiencing depression that made it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning, let alone take care of myself or my 2-year-old daughter. I was not emotionally capable of continuing a doomed pregnancy.  

Abortion was the compassionate choice, for both myself, my family, and the child we’d hoped to have. But the clock was ticking quickly. We were forced to schedule an appointment for Christmas Day at the Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital in Ann Arbor, one of only two places in the entire state that would take me as a patient.  

After arranging overnight childcare for our daughter, we made the 160-mile drive through a terrible blizzard to Ann Arbor from our home in western Michigan. We missed opening presents with our 2-year-old on Christmas Day and seeing the joy on her face. That’s how desperate our situation was. The need to stay in a hotel overnight during the two-day procedure only added to our mounting costs. 

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Amanda Mazur is a Michigan resident.