Date and Time
Jul 12, 2022 7:00 pm
In Challenging Pregnancy: A Journey through the Politics and Science of Healthcare in America, Genevieve Grabman, J.D., M.P.H. recounts her stranger-than-fiction paradox of being a prisoner in her own body when her health and life became endangered by a rare and complex high-risk pregnancy, even as she had the exact education, connections and resources to get the help she needed, while the politics of the American healthcare system repeatedly blocked her.
Grabman was pregnant with identical twins whose circulatory systems were connected in a rare condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. She was barred from taking every step necessary to save not only her babies’ lives, but her own. Doctors couldn’t “unfuse” the fetuses because one twin also had several other confounding problems: selective intrauterine growth restriction, a two-vessel umbilical cord, a marginal cord insertion, and, possibly, a parasitic triplet. Ultimately, national anti-abortion politics—not medicine or her own choices—determined the outcome of Grabman’s pregnancy. At every juncture, anti-abortion politics limited the care available to her, the doctors and hospitals willing to treat her, the tools doctors could use, even the words her doctors could say.
Thankfully, Grabman and two of her babies made it without too many complications. But she humbly acknowledges that being white, having a Master’s in Public Health from John Hopkins University, and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University played a role in her positive outcome. Her education and privilege enabled her to ultimately get the help she needed.
Grabman wrote this book because she recognizes that most people don’t have those resources at their disposal, and she wants to enable and empower them to get the help they need—even when it feels like every door is closing.
Grabman will be joined by Dr. Pegge Ye, a member of Physicians for Reproductive Health and a local, board certified OB/GYN.
This event is free and open to all. Our program begins at 7:00 pm, and will be followed by an audience Q&A. Copies of all CHALLENGING PREGNANCY will be available for purchase after the event, and there will be a signing. Full dinner service is available throughout the show. Please note that this event will not be livestreamed.
We ask that guests RSVP in order to receive direct updates about the event from Busboys and Poets Books. Proof of RSVP may be requested on arrival if capacity is reached.
Genevieve Grabman is a policy and communications lead at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She previously served as director of Government Relations for Physicians for Reproductive Health. An attorney, she has worked for the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization. Grabman is author of The Technology Takers: Leading Change in the Digital Era. She lives in Washington, DC.
Praise for Challenging Pregnancy
"A compelling read that educates the reader and exposes the harms caused when our medical system treats women like vessels."
– Julie F. Kay, coauthor, Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Reproductive Freedom
" Challenging Pregnancy interweaves the story of one very complicated pregnancy with the political environment that determined its course. Readers will not only see the overriding political concerns but also the personal turmoil. It is a reminder there is a story behind every 'case' and each of these stories hold value, meaning, and can change the way we view the world."
– Kathryn Marko, M.D., FACOG, George Washington University