Michele Tafoya Pro-Choice Adoptive Mom

Michele Tafoya with son, Tyler and daughter, Olivia

Michele Tafoya was on the panel discussion for Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday night when she admitted to two details about herself. She is pro-Choice and she adopted her daughter from Columbia. She said she was grateful Olivia’s mother had not aborted her. The panel discussion on abortion was honest, diverse and varied, though remaining pro-Choice throughout.

Today, I learned that Michele and I share some things in common. We both discovered the female age factor while trying to conceive. Her husband, Mark Vandersall, is seven years younger. She says after the second miscarriage, “I remember apologizing to my husband, because I felt responsible. I’m seven years older than he is, so I felt like my age was a factor. And it was — the science will tell you. There are biological reasons for it, and it’s as simple as that.” I remember crying at my wedding site, regretting that my husband married such an old woman that when he wanted children, it was no longer possible for me.

At Michele’s suggestion, the couple pursued infertility treatment, and in vitro fertilization. Tafoya managed one good embryo during the first in vitro process. Incredibly, the embryo split and the couple was excited to be expecting identical twins. Then she lost the twins. The heartbreak was devastating for both her and her husband. So, in the spring of 2005, they began exploring donor eggs.

I have a friend in St Louis who had a similar experience as Tafoya of receiving the surprise news of a positive pregnancy after I sent her to see my own Gynecologist. I remember her having me rub her pregnant belly when I was trying to conceive our second son “for luck.” I guess it worked. Her son is right in the middle age between my two sons.

While in Hawaii on business, Michele felt overly exhausted. When she returned home to Minnesota from her trip, she took a pregnancy test. It was positive. Later that year, Tafoya and her husband welcomed a miracle, their baby boy. The pair decided they wanted to have more children and so adopted an infant girl from Colombia. This Mother’s Day her son is 16 and her daughter is 12. 

 

Plan B

It may seem strange to write about this but unplanned pregnancies are a leading cause of adoption.  Adoption results in often unconscious and definitely life-long trauma for the adoptee and for their mother from whom they are removed.  Ridding one’s self of the possibility quickly, results in less guilt and shame than an abortion, even when done by 3 mos gestation.  If definitely prevents the surrender of a baby to some stranger.

An interesting fact about this method is that it often fails obese women.  Weight matters in this regard.  This is an important consideration in the United States, where over 35% of adults are obese because obese women (with a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or greater) became pregnant over 3 times more often than non-obese women when trying this method.

While the commercially marketed brand names are expensive and often kept in anti-theft cabinets, it is possible to obtain a generic.  I have read that with a coupon code from GoodRx the cost of a generic could be as low as $14.

Plan B is meant to delay or prevent ovulation. It does not “end the pregnancy”. Plan B is not an abortion pill.   It’s a heightened dose of birth control to prevent implantation. It’s not misoprostol or mifepristone.  So there is no danger of harming the fetus’s development, if a pregnancy develops after trying this.  Using this does slightly increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.  If you’re already pregnant, it won’t work; but it will basically force you to have a period, if you’re not pregnant.

If you’re on Medicaid, they have an online site and will mail it and birth control to your home for free monthly.  And at pharmacies, it is often found on the shelf right next to the pregnancy tests and near the condoms! Don’t be in denial about unprotected sex.  Believing “Oh it won’t happen to me, I’m invincible” could prove to be wrong and then it is too late for the easy precautions.  Girls under 18, be aware that many states require a prescription to buy it at a pharmacy, making it much less accessible but you can actually buy it on Amazon, of course.

Beware though if you live in a conservative, religious right state like my state of Missouri – you may get a judgmental/religious pharmacist. There are tons of stories of women being blocked by pharmacists from getting it – either lied to or just told no.  And parents in these conservatively religious regions often don’t believe in sex education and tell their children to just say “no” with predictable results.