Kellen Squire, running for the 55th House District, writes in a new essay that the perspective of those with firsthand experience with abortion care is something that’s missing from politics.
Kellen Squire, an emergency room nurse running for the Virginia House of Delegates, has declared himself to be “the only politician who’s ever performed an abortion [under orders from an ER physician]” in a new Medium article.
Squire is running to represent the 55th House District and opens his piece by getting straight to the point: “Yes; it appears that I am the only legislative candidate in Virginia, and one of the very few in the entire country, that’s ever actually performed any kind of bedside abortion care for a patient.”
In light of multiple bills being introduced to the Virginia General Assembly that include proposals for complete bans on abortion and contraception and the govenor setting aside money to prosecute women who seek one in his new budget proposal, he wanted to take the time to let Virginians know where he stands when it comes to reproductive rights.
Squire states that he’s been open about the fact that ER nurses perform abortions when necessary, under the orders from an ER physician. Indeed, he’s written about it multiple times. But, he says, what ER nurses do shouldn’t be newsworthy because abortions are commonplace.
“Tens of thousands of ectopic pregnancies happen each year,” he writes. “Without an abortion, they are universally fatal every single time.” Squire then goes on to explain just what women who have ectopic pregnancies go through.
For millions of women in America who cannot access regular and affordable reproductive care, the ER “becomes a literal lifeline” and that after doing some research, he discovered an alarming statistic: upwards of 80% of OBGYNs don’t take any abortion training in residency, further showing that despite the commonality of abortions, they’re still taboo, even in the medical world.
Again, he writes, performing abortions in the ER shouldn’t be newsworthy.
“What I do personally isn’t any different than what tens of thousands of my colleagues in emergency departments across the country do every single day,” he writes. “We provide healthcare to our patients; abortions are simply one of the ways we provide it. It is not unique, and should not be controversial. Abortions — whether for medical emergencies, as we do in the ER, or any other reason — are personal, medical decisions that lie solely with a pregnant person.”
Squire recognizes this is not the world we live in. He says that watching politicians argue that “ectopic pregnancies should have rights” makes his “stomach churn.” He then says that you could argue that these arguments are happening because these legislators do not have the firsthand experience he and his colleagues do. This is a perspective that “should never be absent when the legislature is arguing over such a critical issue,” he writes.
Squire says that he has been told repeatedly not to make the fact that he’s performed abortions public, but he refuses to “back down and apologize for any of this.”
“This is who I am,” he writes. “This is what I do. This is what providers across the country do. And I’m going to Richmond to ensure my colleagues and I, and the patients we serve every single day, can continue to both provide and access that care openly.”
Squire concludes by writing that people should not have to live in fear for their lives simply for providing or accessing health care for themselves or for exercising their constitutional right to have agency over their own body.
“I fight for that every day in the ER,” he writes. “I’ll fight for it every day in Richmond. My patients, my constituents, and my fellow Virginians deserve nothing less.”
Kellen Squire is running against a sponsor of Virginia’s transvaginal ultrasound bill, a law passed by the then-GOP controlled legislature in 2012 that required women to have an invasive ultrasound. To learn more about his campaign, click here.