In Challenging Pregnancy, Genevieve Grabman recounts being pregnant with identical twins whose circulatory systems were connected in a rare condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. 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, and the words her doctors could say. Although she asked for aggressive treatment to save at least one baby, hospital ethics boards blocked all able doctors from helping her.
Challenging Pregnancy is about Grabman’s harrowing pregnancy and the science and politics of maternal healthcare in the United States, where every person must self-advocate for the desired outcome of their own pregnancy.
Genevieve Grabman (Kyrgyz Republic 1996-98) is a public health lawyer with expertise in maternal and child health policy and programming. She graduated from the University of North Carolina and has a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.
Her day job is as an attorney for United Nations agency. From 1996 to 1998, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyz Republic where she worked at the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Ms. Grabman later was the Kyrgyz Republic country manager for a health sector reform project, a human rights consultant for a United States Agency for International Development reproductive health initiative, and a legislative and policy associate at the Center for Health and Gender Equity and the Global Health Council.
Her night job is being a mother to four children.
She volunteers her expertise in public health policy and refugee law to organizations working in Afghanistan, Malawi, and Mexico, and as an RPCV from the Kyrgyz Republic.