Fighting For Our Freedom

Erica Smith, until last year a northeast North Carolina state Senator, as well as an engineer and a pastor, is running for the open North Carolina U.S. Senate seat Richard Burr (R) is giving up. Erica is a staunch defender of women's right to Choice and she's reached that through a unique path. I asked her to share that with us this morning. Please consider contributing to her campaign by click this link and giving what you feel comfortable with.

-by Erica Smith

Given everything that’s been in the news recently about abortion and the attacks on our reproductive rights, I wanted to share a very personal experience of mine. I've lived the struggle that most politicians only talk about. I've lived the repercussions of policy decisions. Policy is personal for me and reproductive freedom is deeply personal.

I’ll tell you about how my decision affected my family, and how it shaped my faith and policy ideas moving forward.

I had my youngest son, Elias, at 22 weeks. He was very premature as a result of preeclampsia and pregnancy-induced hypertension. It was a really scary situation.

At 16 weeks, my doctors told me that if I continued my pregnancy I would be risking my own death.

This meant I faced an incredibly difficult decision. Before Elias’ delivery, I had to decide on priority of life. "If it comes down to it," my care team asked, "Do you want us to save you or your unborn child?"

Despite my infinite love for my children and family, I made the decision for doctors to save my baby if they could not save us both.

That was a heartbreaking and impossible choice.

One that only I could make. Only I could make that decision. Only I could make that choice.

This experience has shaped my views and policy positions on abortion rights. Despite deciding against having an abortion, it was and is so clear to me that any woman in the same position deserves to make their own choice, even if it’s a different one than mine. It's a matter of freedom. Nothing should stand in the way of a person’s right to abortion. Every woman deserves to make their own choice and control their own body.

While serving in the State Senate here in North Carolina, I helped lead the fight to beat back bills just like SB8. I was not a quiet ally. I didn't just sit there and keep my seat warm. I went to battle. I worked with grassroots organizers and organizations across the state to fight these bills in committee, on the floor, and at times ensure that we could sustain the Governor's vetoes. I lobbied other Democrats to make sure they stayed on board and made it as difficult as possible for the Republicans on the other side.

With the rise of back-door attempts at overturning abortion rights across several states, including Texas and now again here in North Carolina, it has never been more imperative for Congress to codify Roe v. Wade as soon as possible.

But here’s the most important thing, the thing that isn’t being mentioned by every conservative Democrat who wants to use SB8 to raise money and garner more followers but isn’t actually interested in fighting back on these attacks on our freedom: We’ll have a fighting chance at codifying Roe v. Wade if and only if we elect Democratic U.S. Senators who will proudly vote to end the filibuster, guarantee the right to a safe, legal abortion, and expand the Supreme Court.

The filibuster is a tool of oppression. It's used to oppress women, working people, and Black and Brown communities. It needs to go if we're going to accomplish anything and if we're going to protect the folks who need it most. Republicans have also packed our court to ensure that their violent policies and immoral lawsuits can be protected.

We need to meet this moment and end the filibuster and expand the court. I am the only candidate in this race who holds those positions and will take those votes. I'm the only candidate in this race who will truly fight for our freedom.

Our freedom to make your own decisions about your own body. Our freedom to not be followed in a grocery store or beaten by law enforcement just because of the color of our skin. Our freedom to have a good paying union job, breathe clean air, drink clean water, and not have to worry that a treatable illness could kill us because we can't afford to see the Doctor who could save us.

I will not let any arbitrary rules or broken institutions stand in the way of making freedom ring for every single one of us and every generation to come.