Jesse Pournaras is a pro-abortion doula (or birth companion) who takes “my body, my choice” to the extreme.
Writing in Bustle on July 10, Pournaras objects to doctors and nurses telling her clients in the delivery room, “Your baby is our first priority — your plans come second. We will do whatever it takes to get this baby born healthy.”
Apparently, she thinks that the mother’s plans should be given priority over the baby’s health because the baby isn’t a person yet and a woman’s right to “bodily autonomy” is paramount.
Pournaras really doesn’t like “fetal personhood laws,” which she defines as “grant[ing] fetuses and embryos full legal protections.” Of course, no such laws exist in the U.S., nevertheless she conflates personhood laws with the pro-life movement and any law that recognizes any kind of legal protection for the unborn at all, all of which she opposes. She claims that because of "fetal personhood laws," “the rights of the fetus take precedence over the rights of the pregnant person.”
She cites three examples since 2008 of women charged with manslaughter or murder for causing the deaths of their preborn babies. The women were all late into their second and third trimesters when their babies died and yet she claims, “These cases are a direct result of initiatives by the anti-abortion movement to push the beginning of ‘personhood’ closer and closer to conception.” It’s not just pro-lifers, vast majorities of Americans oppose abortion after the first and, especially, the second trimester when the humanity of the unborn child can more easily be seen in sonograms.
But it’s not just the laws on the books that grant fetal protections Pournaras has a problem with, it’s their advocacy that she opposes, too. After all, as she admits, her state of New York doesn’t have personhood laws and yet she claims to still “see the effects of the push for fetal personhood regularly:”
Many of my clients reluctantly agree to procedures they wanted to avoid, solely because their doctors insist those procedures are in the baby’s best interest. My clients ignore their own wishes — and their own bodies’ needs — when they’re told that to do otherwise is to be a “bad” parent.
She doesn’t give any examples of a doctor being wrong or a mother having an unnecessary adverse effect, she just simply opposes anything that puts the baby’s life first over the mother’s wishes and blames it on pro-lifers. And this, she says, must be stopped:
We must stop the anti-abortion movement’s efforts and insist legislators roll back fetal personhood laws throughout the country, and ensure a pregnant persons[sic] right to maintain bodily autonomy and provide informed consent. If we don't, I fear we will lose mothers and pregnant people at an alarming rate to incarceration, disability, and death.
Doctors don’t prioritize a baby’s life and health over a mother’s birth plan just because of pro-life propaganda or hearing about some law in another state, they do it because the baby is alive and their patient, too. If we changed the law so that a mother’s wishes overruled a doctor’s judgments during childbirth, as Pournaras seems to advocate, I know for a fact we will lose many more women and children to disability and death. I wouldn't want her in my delivery room.