The New Abortion Restriction No One is Talking About

Michele DeMarco, PhD
10 min readApr 29, 2022

Anti-abortion laws have traditionally allowed an exception to protect the “life of the mother.” Not anymore.

Performers participate in ACT FOR ABORTION in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on Jan. 22, 2022 in Washington, D.C. | Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Act For Abortion

Originally published in POLITICO.

In 1942, my grandmother lay in a hospital bed in center city Philadelphia waiting to die. She was 26 years old, happily married, and pregnant with her first child. Only something went horribly wrong in the last trimester, and suddenly, both she and the baby were in a fight for life.

My grandfather, distraught but resolved, begged the attending physicians to do whatever it took to save my grandmother’s life, even if that meant the life inside her wouldn’t survive. But in those days that wasn’t always the practice; this was also a Catholic hospital, which forbade such a practice because it was considered tantamount to abortion. My grandfather was told she would be kept comfortable, and they would monitor both mother and baby, but that nothing would be done to privilege her life over that of their unborn child. In the end, my grandmother pulled through — barely — but sadly, the baby did not.

Flash forward six and a half decades.

It’s 2008, and I’m lying in a hospital bed in the center of Boston’s medical district also facing death. The cause was…



Michele DeMarco, PhD

Award-winning writer, therapist, clinical ethicist, and researcher specializing in moral injury. I talk about the stuff many won’t.