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Vivek Ramaswamy & Ron DeSantis Find a Disgusting New Low in Their War on Abortion

Vivek Ramaswamy holds his son and waves to attendees at an event. Ron DeSantis stands next to him doing his robotic human-like smile.

I don’t know how Republicans keep finding new lows to sink to. I would be impressed if it weren’t all so disgustingly abhorrent.

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This new rock-bottom of Republican humanity came at the Family Leader Thanksgiving Forum in Iowa last week. Billed as “A Presidential Discussion Around the Dinner Table,” the talk ended up focusing on what a lot of uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners are likely to center on this week: abortion.

First, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shared the difficulties he and his wife Casey experienced trying to get pregnant, including Casey’s miscarriage the first time they got pregnant. According to reporting from the Rock Island Dispatch-Argus, here’s what he told attendees:

“Unfortunately, we lost that first baby. And it was a tough thing because this is something that we had so much hope for,” DeSantis said. “But we just kept the faith. We just kept praying. We knew that there would be a path that God would lead us on. And, lo and behold, a short time after, we did it: We had our first baby girl. …

“I think it showed me, one, life has a long and winding road. Keep the faith,” DeSantis said. “But it also told me, you know what, this is special. I’ve got to fight for these kids, and I’ve got to fight for all these kids.”

A few minutes later, insufferable tech bro Vivek Ramaswamy shared his and his wife’s own similar story. Via Jessica Valenti’s excellent Substack newsletter, “Abortion, Every Day”:

“About three and a half months in, Apoorva woke up she said, ‘I’m bleeding’. She had a miscarriage. We lost our first child. And that was the loss of a life, it was our family’s loss.”

The Dispatch-Argus continues:

Ramaswamy said the next time his wife became pregnant, they were told she was having another miscarriage, but at an appointment the next day, doctors detected a heartbeat. Soon after, their oldest son Karthik was born.

“That was a life. That’s this guy here,” Ramaswamy said as Karthik came to the stage, where he sat in Ramaswamy’s lap for the remainder of the forum. “I think that that’s what gives us our commitment. Yes, there’s a logic of it. But when you bring life into this world, you’ll protect all life, born and unborn.”

First of all, these anecdotes are not spontaneous. They did not just pop up organically. This kind of narrative is the result of weeks (at least) of strategizing culminating in the conclusion that sharing these stories would be tactically beneficial to their campaigns. And at least two campaign teams reached that same conclusion, that exploiting these personal misfortunes was the best way to make their misogynistic anti-abortion extremist positions seem reasonable. It’s gross. They’re gross.

More importantly, everything they said was bullshit rooted in conservative fantasy, totally removed from the realities of pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, and the reproductive process in general.

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It makes total sense that these couples who were actively trying to have children, would be so grateful for their children after experiencing those losses. That, of course, does not give them the right to force others to bring unwanted pregnancies to term.

Moreover, the right to abortion access is not always about “choice.” For the last year and a half since the overturn of Roe v. Wade (and long before that in many states with harsh restrictions on abortion), we’ve seen the devastating effects abortion bans have on people who experience miscarriages or other health issues.

People in multiple states have described being turned away from hospitals after experiencing miscarriages. Bleeding heavily, in pain, and engulfed in sorrow, these women were rejected from emergency rooms because of their states’ abortion bans, and medical professionals’ fear of violating the vague language those laws deliberately use.

“When Marlena Stell had a miscarriage in Texas, she had to walk around for weeks with a dead fetus inside her,” Valenti writes. “’I felt like a walking coffin,’ she said. When Snell was finally able to find a clinic to treat her, ‘there were people with signs yelling at me that I was a baby killer.'”

Right now, a group of women is suing the state of Texas for forcing them to carry unviable and dangerous pregnancies to term. One of those women was so emotionally devastated reliving her trauma by giving testimony in court that she threw up on the stand. These are women who desperately wanted their pregnancies to survive and their state’s abortion ban caused them to suffer enormously, both emotionally and physically.

Both here and abroad, there are bills being introduced and laws being implemented that punish pregnant people for their miscarriages, launching cruel investigations into what they might have done to cause their own loss.

While Casey DeSantis and Apoorva Ramaswamy were grieving, were they also worried about being investigated for having potentially drunk a glass of wine during their pregnancies or for exercising too strenuously or not enough? Did they have to turn over their phones to police demanding to look over their period tracker data to determine if they’re really as devastated as they claim to be? That’s the reality pregnant people are facing. And these men are using their wives’ trauma to make sure more women have to deal with this level of scrutiny.

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, one hospital in rural Idaho was forced to close its obstetrics wing and end its labor and delivery care entirely, making pregnant people drive 45 miles to the next closest obstetrics facility. A statement from the hospital cited “Idaho’s legal and political climate” as the main reason for the closure, noting that “highly respected, talented physicians are leaving” the state because of the draconian laws keeping them from providing care to patients who need it.

This is what abortion bans do. They do not make pregnant people safer. They do not make anyone appreciate life and they certainly don’t “protect all life” as Ramaswamy claims. They do the opposite. These bans only make pregnancy more dangerous.

(featured image: Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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