Senator Shares Story Of Wife’s Abortion To Underline Stakes Of Supreme Court Nomination For Women’s Health


Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) shared in an Elle interview Monday that his wife had an abortion in the late 1980s after doctors warned she was at risk of losing her uterus and possibly dying, saying he came forward because of what is at stake with the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.

Key Facts

Heidi Peters was four months pregnant when her water broke, leaving the fetus without the amniotic fluid necessary to survive, and a doctor told the couple to go home to wait for her to miscarry.

It didn’t happen and when they went to the hospital the next day, the doctor recommended an abortion because the fetus would not be able to survive, despite having a faint heartbeat, however they were unable to have the procedure at the hospital because it was banned there.

The next day, the doctor told her she could lose her uterus in hours if she was unable to have an abortion and could die if she became septic from a uterine infection and asked the hospital board to make an exception to the policy — the request was denied. 

Heidi was able to get an emergency abortion at another hospital. 

Peters said he chose to come forward now because, if confirmed, Barrett could make a decision that would have “major ramifications for reproductive health for women for decades to come,” referring to the threat she could vote to overturn or curtail the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion.

Peters is the first sitting senator to share a personal experience with abortion, according to Elle.

Crucial Quote

“It’s important for folks to understand that these things happen to folks every day,” Peters told Elle. “I’ve always considered myself pro-choice and believe women should be able to make these decisions themselves, but when you live it in real life, you realize the significant impact it can have on a family.” 

Surprising Fact

Barrett signed her name onto a newspaper ad in 2006 that called for “an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade.”

Further Background

Peters is up for reelection in November against Republican candidate John James, who supports overturning Roe v. Wade and has reportedly referred to abortion as “genocide.” James has said he opposes abortion in nearly all cases, including rape and incest.

Further Reading

Senator Gary Peters Shares His Abortion Story (Elle)

Amy Coney Barrett signed newspaper ad that called Roe v Wade ‘barbaric’ (Guardian)

Amy Coney Barrett Neglected To Disclose Talks To Anti-Abortion Groups (Forbes)

Fact check: Gary Peters says John James opposes abortion even when mother’s life at risk (Detroit Free Press)

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