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Michigan Sen. Gary Peters shares story about ex-wife’s life-saving abortion for the first time

“The mental anguish someone goes through is intense,” Peters, a Michigan Democrat, said in an interview with Elle magazine published on Monday, “trying to have a miscarriage for a child that was wanted.”

But the situation became more critical when Heidi’s health deteriorated, so the couple found a doctor at another hospital who agreed to do the procedure.

In the interview, Peters spoke publicly for the first time about the abortion and the troubling moments leading up to the event, which threatened the life of his ex-wife. Peters now joins a small group of members of Congress who have spoken about their personal experiences with abortion.

“My story is one that’s tragically shared by so many Americans,” Peters tweeted on Monday. “It’s a story of gut-wrenching and complicated decisions — but it’s important for folks to understand families face these situations every day.”

Peters shared the story as he fights to retain his seat in the Senate in a battleground state that President Trump narrowly won in 2016. Peters faces John James, a well-funded Republican businessman and Army veteran.

His challenger supports limiting access to abortions, overturning Roe v. Wade, remains against abortions in cases of rape and incest, and compared abortions to “genocide” in 2018, according to MLive.com.

Peters suggested that his family’s experience colors his own view of abortion access.

“It’s important for folks to understand that these things happen to folks every day,” Peters said. “I’ve always considered myself pro-choice and believe women should be able to make these decisions themselves, but when you live it in real life, you realize the significant impact it can have on a family.”

Peters and Heidi had very much wanted the baby, which would have been their second child, he told Elle. But when Heidi’s water broke five months early, their doctor told them that without the amniotic fluid, the baby had no chance of survival.

Heidi’s health declined in the days that followed, and a doctor warned that if she did not have an abortion immediately, she could lose her uterus or die of a uterine infection that could cause her to become septic. After the hospital’s board rejected an appeal to make an exception for Heidi, the doctor urged the couple to go to another hospital for the abortion.

“I still vividly remember he left a message on the answering machine saying, ‘They refused to give me permission, not based on good medical practice, simply based on politics. I recommend you immediately find another physician who can do this procedure quickly,’” Peters told Elle.

They followed the doctor’s recommendation and Heidi was rushed into an emergency abortion at another hospital. It “enacted an incredible emotional toll,” Peters said.

In a statement to Elle, Heidi described those several days as “painful and traumatic.”

“If it weren’t for urgent and critical medical care, I could have lost my life,” she added.

“It’s important for folks who are willing to tell these stories to tell them, especially now,” Peters said. “This

St. Peter’s, Ellis hospital systems agree to merger proposal

St. Peter’s Health Partners and Ellis Medicine have signed a non-binding letter of intent to merge operations, multiple sources have confirmed.

The two organizations, based in Albany and Schenectady, are among the region’s three largest hospital systems, the other being Albany Medical Center.

Born of mergers themselves, St. Peter’s and Ellis have operated independently of each other for over 100 years. They have, however, collaborated on a number of projects over the years, including joint ventures designed to lower health care costs and reduce avoidable hospital admissions in the region.

On Wednesday, St. Peter’s president and CEO Jim Reed sent a letter to colleagues announcing the intent to “integrate,” saying it signifies the “next logical step” in the organizations’ longstanding collaboration.
 
“Our two organizations share a vision for a more fully integrated, region-wide approach to care that aims to improve the health of our neighbors; embraces new models such as value-based care; and lowers overall health care costs for our community,” he wrote.

With the signing of a letter of intent, St. Peter’s and Ellis will now begin the process of developing an organizational structure, he said. A final agreement will require approval by the boards of both organizations, as well as regulatory agencies such as the state Department of Health.

There is no specific time frame for completion, Reed said, but added that “the rapid nature of change in health care demands expediency.”
 
“I would also like to underscore that, as SPHP and Ellis evaluate a path forward, it is with an eye toward respecting the heritage of all the institutions that make up SPHP and Ellis Medicine, while expanding access to care and improving outcomes for the Capital Region community,” he said.

Both Ellis and St. Peter’s health systems were created from mergers that occurred this century, but their forerunners have roots dating back to the 1800s.


The original Ellis Hospital dates back to 1885, when the Schenectady Free Dispensary opened on lower Union Street with just five beds. It grew and relocated over the years, eventually occupying a plot at the corner of Nott Street and Rosa Road. In 2006, a state commission ordered the restructuring of hospitals statewide, and Ellis Hospital, the old St. Clare’s Hospital on McClellan Street (now an outpatient center) and Bellevue Woman’s Center in Niskayuna consolidated to become Ellis Medicine. A Clifton Park urgent care location was constructed in 2012.

St. Peter’s Health Partners, which is privately owned by national Catholic health system Trinity Health, formed in 2011 from a merger of three local health systems: Northeast Health, St. Peter’s Health Care Services and Seton Health. Four legacy hospitals in Albany and Troy came with the package — St. Mary’s, which opened in 1848; Albany Memorial, which opened in 1868; St. Peter’s, which opened a year later; and Samaritan Hospital, which opened in 1898. Together, they are certified to operate over 850 beds.

At just 438 beds, Ellis remains the smaller of the two and further consolidations have been explored over the