Reproductive Healthcare Saves Lives

May 05, 2022

By Milo Parker

Milo Parker proudly serves as Program Associate for Born This Way Foundation. In this capacity, they support Foundation programming and partnerships including #BeKind21 and Channel Kindness. Milo has been a part of Born This Way Foundation since 2017 when they were selected as the recipient of the Foundation’s Channel Kindness Award in Indianapolis and has since been a contributor to Channel Kindness, including being a featured author of CHANNEL KINDNESS: Stories of Kindness and Community. Before joining the Born This Way Foundation team in this capacity, Milo served as Adviser for IUPUI’s Alternative Breaks program, Youth Delegate for the Youth United Nations General Assembly, inaugural member of Indy Maven’s editorial board. Milo recently graduated with their M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis, where they now reside with their Fiancé, Joe, and cat, Delphi.

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(Courtesy of Taylor)

On September 11, 2020, at 22 years old, I got my fallopian tubes removed. The idea of being pregnant has never been exciting or interesting to me, especially being born into a lineage in which everyone had their first child at 19 for generations. It only confirmed my perspective when, at 16 years old, I was told by my first OBGYN that a pregnancy would likely break both of my hips and potentially kill me. The deal was sealed – I would never get pregnant, and I was more than okay with that!

Growing up with this mindset, it was all too odd how many adults in my life wanted to talk me out of it. I heard so many people tell me that I was “missing out on life’s greatest adventure” and “throwing away a gift” by choosing to not birth children. I’ve always been interested in the idea of fostering or adopting, but that was never enough to stop these conversations from happening.

I’m so grateful to have found people in my early adulthood who helped me gain access to the reproductive healthcare I needed and who didn’t shy away from the completely normal facts that 1 in 4 people with uteruses have abortions, and even more consistently use contraceptives. There was so much comfort in knowing I was far from alone in needing this medical care.

After that, I spent the next three years in and out of doctors’ offices, begging medical professionals who took a Hippocratic Oath to let me make decisions about my own body and to remove my fallopian tubes. Twenty-two doctors told me they wouldn’t perform the procedure until I either had three kids (I had none), turned 30 (I was 19-21), had my husband’s permission (I’m unmarried), or some combination of the three. The wildest part of this for me was that this procedure would still let me get pregnant through IVF if I wanted, so pregnancy wasn’t even completely off the table! The way that my bodily safety could not be my own choice disgusted me and only made me more determined to get sterilized.

After so much waiting and calling and crying and hoping, I was lucky enough to have found a doctor who told me right away that I deserve autonomy over my own body. She knew from the start of my visit what I wanted, as I had found her from a Reddit forum of doctors who might do this procedure and she was the only one in my state.

It’s now been two-and-a-half years since that surgery, and my life has so much more peace. With all of the conversations around reproductive rights, it’s important for me to share this story to remind people that this is an issue so many young people are facing. I was denied healthcare, life-saving healthcare, because of my age and related circumstances! Abortion access and preventative reproductive healthcare access is necessary for young people to thrive.

At the end of the day, don’t forget that you love someone who’s had an abortion, that people deserve to make decisions about their bodies, and that everyone deserves the fullness of their humanity.

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