I met Senate candidate Karen Handel at an event yesterday. At this point, Googling her mostly turns up links about her candidacy and about her having been an executive with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. However, one thing I had learned about her was what had happened when she ran for governor of Georgia. For those that don't know, Handel lost in a primary runoff to Nathan Deal, and one significant factor in this loss (since she had had a significantly larger percentage in the first election) was Georgia Right to Life throwing their support behind Deal. One of the reasons they gave? Handel not taking action to ban IVF.
But there's more to it than that. Karen is one of us. She and her husband, Steve, tried, including using treatments, for almost ten years and were not able to become parents. And for that, GRTL called her a "barren" woman.
Those of you who know me in real life know that I am vehemently pro-life. However, as I become active in political events in Georgia, I cannot and will not support any organization that wants to take away my ability to create life. I will continue to support pro-life initiatives that do not interfere with IVF, but I will not support those that do. Because, like Karen Handel, I have been there.
When I met Karen yesterday, the first thing I did was thank her for standing up for infertiles and explain why it was so important to me that she had. Karen immediately hugged me and said she was sorry for that as we both teared up. We understood each other. We had never met before, but we understood each other immediately because of our membership in that secret club. We talked about how that word "barren" gets used as an accusation and an epithet. We talked about how it was hard to find people who could relate. We didn't need to say the words, because we both understood, but it still helped to say them. Because at the same time that you never want someone else to be a member of the club, it's still helpful to talk to someone that is.