Rep. Frederica Wilson Speaks About Being 'Forced to Carry My Dead Baby' After House Passes Anti-Abortion Bill
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Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson is sharing her experience with childbirth after the Republican-led House of Representatives passed its first anti-abortion bills on Wednesday.
In a 222-209 vote, the House passed a bill that condemns "the recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches."
The House also passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in a 220-210 vote (one House member voted present).
Per the Congress website, the latter bill "establishes requirements for the degree of care a health care practitioner must provide in the case of a child born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion."
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We cannot put childbearing women at risk because of a group of ludicrous, hateful, majority-male Congress who have never experienced pregnancy or childbirth but take pride in monitoring women's vaginas. How dare you! pic.twitter.com/xUKrxvvbzX
— Rep. Frederica Wilson (@RepWilson) January 11, 2023
Addressing the House and Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, Wilson — who shared her speech on Twitter — called out the bill. She shared that she had heard other congresswomen come forward, and despite her own hesitations of making a very private matter public, she wanted to reveal her story.
Explaining her decision, she said, "I read the startling statistics about my state. Yes, the great state of Florida. The beautiful Sunshine State with all the beaches and the theme parks and the immigrant-rich communities. My Florida, my state. If abortion is banned nationwide, Florida will be the most impacted state, seeing maternal deaths increase by 29 percent. That's the mother. The nation will see a 24 percent increase in maternal death with a disproportionate 39 percent rise in maternal mortality for Black women."
She added that, since she was a child, she wanted "plenty of children that I could love and cuddle and raise to greatness. That was the school principal in me even back then."
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After marrying her husband Paul Wilson in 1968, she later found out she was pregnant.
"It was the joy of my life, I was ecstatic," Wilson recalled. "My husband was walking on the clouds. My husband and I would touch my stomach all the time just to feel the movement of our baby boy and the glory of a life growing inside of me. It was amazing."
Unfortunately, Wilson got devastating news when she was more than halfway through her pregnancy.
"At seven months, the baby stopped moving. He was soon pronounced dead, right inside of my womb, and the doctor was prohibited by law from inducing labor," she said.
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Wilson wrote alongside the video, "Today, I relived one of the most painful times in my life on the House floor. I shared my experience of being forced to carry my dead baby. Prohibited by law to induce labor, I carried my deceased child inside me for two months and almost died. We can't go back."
In a follow-up clip she continued, "I had to learn how, first of all, to handle the immense grief that comes with losing a child and the fact that the corpse of that child was still within me. I cried every night and all day. My little body was wretched with pain, weakness, and frailty. I lost 50 pounds. I would crawl into a fetal position in my mother's lap most of the day, and in my husband's most of the night."
Wilson then urged the House, "I beg you, I plead you, we can't go back. Lord have mercy, please have mercy on women like me. I almost died."
Wilson revealed that at one point she nearly suffered toxic shock as "the baby began to disintegrate and the flesh from the corpse began to fill into my bloodstream."
When she reached eight-and-a-half months, Wilson officially went into what she described as a "hard, painful labor. And what was left of the baby Wilson boy was born."
Following a three-day stay in the maternity ward, Wilson was discharged "in a wheelchair, empty-handed, no baby, no nothing," she said. "I watched other mothers and families celebrate their newborns while I grieved and cried."
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She shared that she and her family held a graveside burial for the child, and "doctors were so afraid that I would also have had to have a graveside burial."
"Everyone who needs reproductive healthcare is different," said the representative in her final video. "Abortion does not only apply to women who have decided for themselves they're not ready to have a child. Abortion affects women who are at risk of facing medical emergencies, life-altering emergencies and death."
Concluding with a pointed message, Wilson said, "God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, let the women march on and on till victory is won. You cannot put young childbearing women at risk because of a group of ludicrous hateful majority male congressmen who have no idea what it feels to even bear the pain of childbirth or even have the courage to carry a child for nine months, who take pride in monitoring women's vaginas. How dare you, how dare you, how dare you. May God help you find it in your heart to hear my story and never wish that kind of pain and grief that I experienced on another living soul. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. I yield back."