I’m Trans, I’m Trying to Get Pregnant and I’m More Pro-Choice Than Ever

I’m in what’s called the TWW — the two week waiting period between insemination and a missed period, or a period that comes and dashes all your hopes that the insemination worked. I’m texting with my friend about whether or not I have the strength to endure the disappointment of a negative pregnancy test next week, whether or not I can maintain hope through what may be many insemination attempts. Then she texts me, “Fuck.”

Roe v. Wade has been overturned, today, as I lie here praying that I’m pregnant. And I have never been more pro-choice than I am in this moment.

I was raised to protest abortion, to pray outside of abortion clinics, to look forward to and celebrate this day. My two BFFs in high school were related to a man who shot an abortion doctor for Jesus, which they thought was probably okay. Now I’m a leftist adult trans person who had no qualms about leaving ‘Merica behind to live with my soulmate in her country, Canada, which has federally socialized healthcare, including abortion care.

I have a history of sexual abuse and sexual trauma perpetuated by cis-het men. Sticking a syringe inside myself and injecting sperm is not something I enjoy. But I want a baby, and I’m doing it my own way — in an Airbnb with my wife by my side. There’s historical evidence of widespread abortion and contraception advocacy across the world, and the knowledge developed by people who were trying to avoid pregnancy is the very knowledge my partner and I are using to get pregnant: tracking ovulation, using cervical cups, etc. Undergoing this process has shown me just how absurd anti-abortion rhetoric truly is.

I have to confess that as a masculine person who has never had voluntary sex with cis men and who can’t get someone else pregnant, I hadn’t thought about abortion as much as I should have until recently. I have a uterus, which means I could be assaulted and could get pregnant against my will. Still, I thought, conversations about abortion didn’t really apply to me. I listened to the women I knew who’d had abortions (most of my partners, many of my friends and nearly every feminist thinker I’d learned from). When I lived in the US, I marched and voted and organized and signed up to drive people from rural areas to abortion clinics in Pittsburgh. And still, I didn’t think I would ever have to make a choice about having an abortion myself — until I decided to try and carry a child.

Before we started the fertility process, my wife and I had a conversation about whether or not, or when, we might have to make this choice. At 37, bearded and without tits, I finally weighed it out for myself. My wife and I agreed that we will probably opt for abortion in certain cases — for example, if the fetus has anencephaly. That’s when the skull and brain of the fetus do not grow and there is literally no hope that the baby will live beyond a few days after birth, if that, unconscious and in physical pain.

Since insemination, I’ve been nauseated every day, I’ve been disgusted by coffee (one of my favorite things) and salt (ditto), I’ve broken out with pimples in new places and I’ve been moody and emotional AF without my cannabis. Yet I walk around my neighborhood, I go to the store, I do all my normal activities — and no one else can tell. No one is passing me on the street saying, “Oh wow, there’s two of you now! There’s a person inside you!” Because even though I want to make a person with all of my heart, I am keenly aware that what’s happening inside me is a long and complicated process; there’s no magical instance when suddenly there’s an autonomous, separate human inside me.

The “pro-life” movement, codified by conservative Republicans, uses terms like “holocaust” and “genocide” to describe abortions, though they are politically aligned with literal holocaust deniers, rapists, child molesters, cops, border patrol agents and racists who participate in the continual genocide, oppression and sometimes even forced sterilization of marginalized people on this continent — especially BIPOC. The irony is intense.

I’m from a Catholic background similar to the culture that produced Amy Coney Barrett, although not as economically elite as the culture that produced Bret Kavanaugh. I can attest that the overturn of Roe v. Wade is a high holy day in their worlds. But while Catholics have been some of the key authors of anti-choice rhetoric, a 2014 study by the Guttmacher Institute found that Catholics have more abortions than Protestants, and Christians have more abortions than most other religiously-affiliated folks. Rich, white Christians and conservatives (and especially their mistresses) will continue to have safe abortion access in many instances, even if they have to cross state lines or fly out of the country to get one.

While Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices are stripping people in the US of abortion rights, conservatives all over the world are coming for trans people, especially trans kids who have the courage to come out and ask for what they need. They’re making rules about when we can access the healthcare we need to survive, to grow up, to live our lives. While FINA has declared that swimmers must fully transition by twelve to be eligible to compete, parents in some states are being criminalized for allowing their children to get transgender health services if they are younger than eighteen.

When I moved to Canada and could get top surgery without a million consults or a letter from a psychiatrist — and at a fraction of the cost it would be in the US — I got a taste of what it feels like to have bodily autonomy. This sense of autonomy has enabled me to envision being pregnant. Without being able to assert my masculinity by coming out, letting my goatee grow and having top surgery, I would never have been able to imagine doing such a “feminine” thing as getting pregnant. According to the religious right, producing another human person is the most important thing I could ever do. Yet without actual bodily autonomy — including the right to have an abortion — I could never have started this process.

In the same way the Supreme Court is now saying that people with uteruses should be forced to carry fetuses to term, those who prevent trans kids and teens from accessing transition-related care are also forcing people to live in bodies that are not their own. When a country limits the individual’s autonomy over their own body, that is an assault on the people who live in that country — not just on the people with uteruses, but an assault on everyone.

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R/B Mertz

R/B Mertz (they/them) is the author of Burning Butch (Unnamed Press). More at Rbmertz.com.

R/B has written 1 article for us.


    • This comment pointed out that even rich white Christian women are subject to the whims of men in their lives if they live in states with abortion bans and that pretending that isn’t the case prevents solidarity between people who are oppressed by these bans on the basis of the type of bodies they have. Who does it serve to consider this hate speech? How is that feminist?

      • Hi P,

        I’m the editor of this essay. Your second comment does not violate our comment policy, so I’m happy to let that one stay up. An element of your first comment did violate our comment policy, so I had to delete it in accordance with Autostraddle’s guidelines. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and engaging with this piece!

          • Hi again P,

            Your most recent comment has been removed, as it is in violation of Autostraddle’s comment policy (see #3 under “Things Autostraddle Will Not Do”). It sounds like you take issue with Autostraddle’s comment policy. Instead of sharing those thoughts here, please feel free to contact us directly with your concerns. Additional comments on this topic will be deleted. Thanks!

  1. thank you so much for sharing this!!! big blessings on you & your family <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    it took me a day to write this comment bc i'm honestly deeply envious and scared. but i'm glad you're in CA and living your life. living your fullest possibility can only help more people be able to do so.

    again, biggest, warmest, sparkliest blessings on you & your family <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  2. 💜💜💜👏👏👏

    Just wanted to add here that abortion access is still an issue in Canada (esp for people in rural places and for people who don’t have provincial health coverage) and that you can find out more from and donate to Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights as well as Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

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