In the early hours of June 25, 2013, I found myself doing something I could never have imagined. Lying back on my bed, I winced as a doctor inserted a catheter tube into my bladder. No, I wasn’t preparing for surgery. I was preparing for what I knew would be 13 hours on the Texas Senate floor in an attempt to kill a bill aimed at blocking women’s access to abortion.
But the story actually begins much earlier than that. It begins with my own abortion experiences: first in 1994, when I discovered I was carrying a pregnancy in one of my fallopian tubes, rather than my uterus, and again in 1996, when I faced the heartbreaking reality that my much wanted pre-born baby was suffering from an unsustainable neurological defect. These experiences settled somewhere deep in me, creating an even greater resolve than I’d had before that decisions about terminating a pregnancy belong to a woman, her partner, her doctor and her god. They do not belong to a bunch of politicians using women’s bodies as a wedge issue to gain votes.
Knowing that the 2013 bill before the Texas Senate would almost assuredly close off access to abortion for women in the rural and southern portions of my state, I gathered that resolve and headed to the Capitol, catheter in place. I was greeted there by signs my friends from Planned Parenthood had passed around that read “Stand With Wendy.” Two years and two months later, I proudly “stand with Planned Parenthood” and the women and men it serves, as it faces extremists in the U.S. Congress who are on a mission to defund it.