No Excuse for Ignorance

No Excuse for Ignorance

by | Jan 29, 2024 | Reproductive Rights

Last week the Washington Post ran a cover story about Allie Phillips, the Clarksville mom who had to leave Tennessee to receive lifesaving treatment for miscarriage. Now she’s running for State House.

According to the story, Phillips met with her state rep, Jeff Burkhart, hoping to share her experience and convince him that Tennessee’s abortion ban is dangerous. He didn’t listen, and that didn’t surprise me. Here’s the passage that did:

“Phillips recorded their two-hour meeting. When she described (her baby’s) condition, Burkhart said he thought miscarriages could only happen with first pregnancies.”

I read this stunning admission of ignorance and thought, Men shouldn’t be making laws about reproductive health. Then I realized I wasn’t being fair to men. My husband, for example, is the father of three daughters and has done our weekly grocery shopping for years. He’s probably spent more time than I have in the feminine products aisle. He knows what’s what.

So I amended my thinking: Nonmedical people shouldn’t be making laws about reproductive health. Then I remembered that the doctors in our state legislature often ignore medical science to toe the party line. State Sen. Richard Briggs, a Knoxville physician, admitted that when he voted for the trigger law that later became Tennessee’s abortion ban, he’d barely read it. Now he hopes to amend the law and mitigate the damage, but he faces a majority-Republican legislature that probably won’t listen to him either.

Here’s what I settled on:

Nobody should be making laws about anything if they’re not willing to listen to the experts—from professionals in the field to ordinary people with lived experience.

If you want more legislators who will listen, please support my campaign to help me get elected.