He kind of jumped in the middle of me talking and was just like, wait a second, you already have a daughter? And I was like, yeah, she's five. I was like, she's about to be six because her birthday is June 10th. It was in two days. And he was like, so this was your second pregnancy that you lost? And I said, yeah, second pregnancy, first loss. And he was like, well, maybe I'm just a guy, but I've always been heard or I've always been told that it's the first pregnancy that goes bad. I was like, I mean it can be, but no, it could be any pregnancy.
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All right. Hey everybody. We're back with Shout Your Cause This time we've got Allie Phillips on the line. Hey Allie.
Hey, how are you?
I'm doing great. How are you?
I'm doing really good. It's a rainy Friday, but it's almost Halloween and that is my favorite holiday, so I'm ecstatic.
Oh, that's fun. That's fun. And you've got a young kid at home that you can enjoy that with. Mine are all grown. They don't really want to go trick or treating or anything.
Well, I went trick or treating before I had her, so I can't really say much. She looks better for me to go trick or treating if I have a kid.
Yeah, that's true. That's true. Okay, well cool. So the reason I reached out to you is because you have announced news lately that you're running for House of Representatives for Tennessee State for District 75. Tell me more about that.
So I just recently announced almost a month ago, and the response has been overwhelming. It's been great, A lot of positive feedback. I've never been in politics before, so this is totally new for me. Every day is a new experience and it's a learning experience. I don't know what to expect, which is kind of exciting and also kind of terrifying. But I am running as a Democrat in a seat that has been held by a Republican for quite a while and my district was recently redrawn last cycle, and so it actually is a closer race now than what it used to be. We're leaning towards about a 50 50 split. We lean a little 53% red and we're about 48% blue, so it's very close and it is one of the top races that the TNDP in the House caucus is watching next election.
Wow, that's impressive. You got right into the nitty gritty of it, first time around. That's so cool. No pressure
Yeah, no pressure. This is the Montgomery County area of Tennessee, which is where Clarksville is located. Clarksville, for those of you who know or don't know, is it the hundred first Airborne? Is there?
So yes, it's a little bit a hundred first. Mostly Fort Campbell Boulevard, but I have the good portion of Fort Campbell military base, obviously not the part that goes into Kentucky and then going down towards the Cumberland River. So it kind of cuts off before you get to Austin P area and then it kind of goes west and south, southwest. So a lot of rural area outside of the Clarksville area.
And speaking of rural area, you have grown up in Tennessee in different rural areas surrounding Nashville for the most part. Tell us a little bit more about your upbringing.
So I was originally born in upstate Syracuse, New York, and we moved down here when I was six months old. So I say I've lived here my whole life and minus six months. And we originally moved to Bellevue, we only lived there for a few years, and then I moved out to Ashland City, which is in Cheatham County. Very small town. Everybody knows everybody and it's a very conservative leaning town. So I grew up around the Republican conversation while also having liberal parents in my home. So I was kind of pulled between the two politics growing up. So I considered myself independent for the longest time. I was like, I don't really know what to do here. And I lived there until about 2011. And then I moved out to Hermitage, which is just about 15, 20 minutes from downtown Nashville to the east. Grew up there or not, grew up there, graduated college or high school there from McGavock.
Went to college at MTSU in Murfreesboro, and then just recently moved up here. Actually this weekend will be a year since we moved into our house in Clarksville. But growing up in Ashland City, I spent a lot of time in Clarksville. I was about 20 minutes from Ashland City, 20 minutes from Sango. So a lot of times, depending on which way we wanted to go, we would come up to Sango. All my birthday parties were at the skating rink up here in Sango. So I'm not new to Clarksville so to speak. I'm just more so new to this northern Clarksville area, close to military base. But I did spend a lot of time around here growing up, so it's actually nice to be back up here.
Well, and not only being new to that area, you are actually new to the whole political arena, but it didn't come just happenstance. It happened because of a specific thing that happened to you as a result of these reproductive rights being taken away in the state of Tennessee and obviously in other states too. Why don't you tell us a little bit more about that?
Yeah, so last March, my husband and I got married and then we bought our house in October and one of the stipulations of our relationship was marriage house baby. And so after we did the marriage in the house, we were like, okay, we're going to try to get pregnant. And thankfully we did and we were over the moon excited. Alee was excited, my daughter was excited to be a big sister, and we went for my routine anatomy scan. I was 19 weeks pregnant on February 20th of this year. And at that anatomy scan, we found out that there were some fetal anomalies that concerning to my obstetrician. So we were referred over to a maternal fetal specialist, and four days later we went to that high risk appointment where we found out the worst news that you could hear as an expecting parent. Our daughter who we named Miley Rose, she had multiple fatal fetal anomalies to the point that she wasn't compatible with life.
And the doctor told me that the longer I stayed pregnant, the high risk my health was going to become. And knowing that I already struggle with health problems as it is, and that I have a daughter already here, I didn't want to play with my life knowing that Miley wasn't going to make it anyways. So we discussed all the avenues, we discussed treatment options. If there was any treatment options, what can I do to make sure Miley makes it? And pretty much I was just told, there's so much wrong with her, there's nothing anybody can do. You're just kind waiting for her to pass at this point. And so just to give you an overview of her diagnoses, she had a rare brain defect called semi lobar ho LoPro cephalic. And pretty much what that is, is her brain didn't split into two hemispheres in the early stages of development.
It caused an influx of fluid to build up in her skull. She only had two out of four working chambers in her heart. They didn't find any lung development. Both of her kidneys, her bladder and her stomach did not form and were not functioning properly. She stopped growing at 15 weeks and she had little to no amniotic fluid around her. So it was just kind of like thing after thing after thing. And so it truly was just too much to work around. And ultimately we decided that termination was going to be the best choice for my health and my family. But as you said, per Tennessee law, I could not get an abortion here in Tennessee even though the pregnancy wasn't viable. So we had to look out of state. And I ended up flying to Manhattan in New York City a week three days later.
And once I arrived to that clinic, my husband flew to New York with me, but I had to go to the clinic alone because it's a patient only clinic, which a lot of abortion clinics are. And arriving in the clinic is when I found out that my daughter had already passed away at some point between the high risk appointment. And so the doctor there told me that there's about a two week window that when a fetus passes, when your body doesn't recognize it, you're at risk for blood clots, infections or sepsis. And so the last confirmed heartbeat I had was a week and three days ago, he was like, you're kind of at that cusp. We don't know when she passed. We don't know how at risk you are right now. So my abortion, which was a two day procedure, was pushed within that hour and it was just a very traumatic and devastating experience to go through, not only just to go through, but to go through completely and utterly alone without any family, any support, any familiar faces.
I would not wish that experience on my worst enemy. And so since being back in Tennessee, my goal really to start off with was to introduce a bill called Miley's Law, which would give exception back or give choice back to parents when diagnosed with fetal anomalies. But I figured introducing a bill as a advocate wasn't probably going to get far with a super majority GOP. And after speaking with my GOP representative, I realized truly how little they know about reproductive healthcare. And I was like, I don't want him having the choice to vote on my rights or any other person's rights ever again. And it wasn't truly just one moment. It was seeing story after story of women in different states, the 10 year old in Ohio who had a travel across state lines, my daughter being scared to go to school, just different reasons. But the reproductive healthcare was kind of the turning point for me that if I want change, I have to be in a position to actually make that change. And so that's why I decided to run. I
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Obviously you've been able to work through this and talk through this a lot. I've seen so many videos that you've done on TikTok and you get attacked quite a bit and you've been able to just be gracious and address things in a very diplomatic manner, which seems like that gives you kind of that personality or that water off the back type of mentality that a politician has to take on because you're stepping in even harder to a role that is going to flare some egos, if you will.
I grew up with two older brothers, so I was bullied my entire life. So I have very, very thick skin thanks to my brothers. They don't bully me as much anymore. They're very loving now. But the part of it for me is people called me a murderer, they tell me I murdered my daughter, which is I find it ignorant because she died in utero. So no, even if I did get an abortion to remove her, but she was already dead to begin with. So a lot of these people, they just read a headline, oh, this woman had to flee her state to get an abortion. They're like, oh, she's a baby killer. Did you even read anything about my story? It's just the pure ignorance and the not wanting to understand truly what an abortion is and why some women absolutely desperately need it. This isn't a go have a fun day at the abortion clinic and just rip fetuses out of your body for fun.
Some women, it's either their life or the fetuses life, and in some cases it ends up being both. And in order to save a woman's life, an abortion is necessary. And one in four women have had to get abortions, whether it's elective or for medical reasons. So a lot of these people that are screaming pro-life, they probably have people in their lives that have had to get that lifesaving care. And weirdly enough, some of them have had to get abortions themselves. And I feel like those people that have had abortions that scream against women that need abortions, I feel like they have this internal shame and regret that they have within themselves based off of their party's values because they're made to feel ashamed. They're made to feel like what they did was bad. And unholy and truly, my message is abortion is healthcare. And I will scream that from the top of my lungs as many times as I can because it is.
If I wasn't in New York when I found out Miley was dead, I don't know what would've happened to me. Yes, in Tennessee. Now I could have had her removed because she was a deceased fetus. But how long would that process have taken? Would I have to set up an appointment, get a consultation, get the ultrasound, then set up another appointment with a surgeon? How long is that process? I was in New York, they saw she was deceased. I was in surgery within an hour. So New York, thank God I was there, saved me. And there really isn't time to make phone calls and schedule appointments when your life is on the line. You need that healthcare and you need it when you need it.
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Speaking of needing it when you needed it, when you were in New York, or no, there was something that was said about this. Who is the guy that you talked to who's your representative? I heard you make a video something about he thought that miscarriage only happened for in
The first pregnancy. Yep.
I'm like, how ignorant can you be?
That would be my representative. His name is Jeff Burkhart, and I had a meeting with him on June 8th of this year to talk about Miley's Law and ask for his help to get it up to the legislator. I told him my story and what happened to me. He kind of jumped in the middle of me talking and was just like, wait a second. You already have a daughter? I was like, yeah, she's five. I was like, she's about to be six because her birthday's June 10th. It was in two days. And he was like, so this was your second pregnancy that you lost?
Said, yeah, second pregnancy, first loss. And he was like, well, maybe I'm just a guy, but I've always been heard or I've always been told that it's the first pregnancy that goes bad. And I was like, I mean it can be, but no, it could be any pregnancy. You could have two kids, six miscarriages and then three more kids. There's no one size bad things happened the first time because Natalie, my pregnancy with her is perfectly fine. And she came out perfectly fine. So that level of ignorance and you didn't think to do an ounce of research, just a tiny bit of research. And what's crazy to me is he has an adopted daughter who's not too much younger than me, and he said that they adopted because him and his wife had troubles conceiving. So you would think somebody who has firsthand experience on what it's like with reproductive health, with his wife not being able to conceive, he would be more understanding to a situation like this.
But he just kept reiterating how I grew up, this is what I was told. And I'm like, but you have to take that responsibility and not put it on other people. It doesn't matter how you grew up. I grew up in a very conservative environment outside of my home, and I was told that abortion was bad and I was told that gay people are sinners and all this other stuff. And I took what I was told and I went and did my own research. And now I'm one of the biggest allies for the LGBT community and obviously a huge advocate for reproductive healthcare. So you can't blame how you grew up for your own willful ignorance and the fact that he is in a seat of power and that ignorant is just, I don't know. It's concerning. And I know he's not the only one
Now. Are you running against him?
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That's pretty funny. Did he have anything to say about that when he found out?
I haven't heard anything from him. And a lot of the media outlets that have interviewed me have reached out to him for comment and he doesn't respond. So I think he's trying maybe laying low for now because he's about to be going back into session in a couple months. And so maybe once session's over, he'll dive in deep. I don't know. But I'm patiently waiting to hear any sort of comments that he has.
I want to hear about that. And for anybody who's listening, if you want to hear about that, I'm sure Allie will talk about it on her TikTok. And speaking of TikTok, tell me what is your actual username?
Yeah, so my TikTok is my personal TikTok. I don't have a separate campaign TikTok or anything like that. It's the period Allie, A-L-L-I-E, period, Phillips with two lss. But I think if you just search Allie Phillips, I should be one of the first ones that pulls up.
Okay. Well, and I'll link it on the show notes so you guys can see it. Thank you. Well, is there anything else that you want to talk about before we go?
Yeah, so I would love to say just something for the broad spectrum. I'm not an ideal candidate. I don't have that political history or experience. Half the time I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm learning as I go. And I want people to understand that the system that I'm running for was literally designed and built to keep me out and to keep people like me out, you have to have a lot of money. You have to have a lot of spare time. And I don't have either of those. So this is something I want to say. If you are tired of the way your state or your government is running things, if you are tired of them not representing you the way that you thought they would run for something, I don't care if it's school board, I don't care if it's city council, house of Representatives, senate, I don't care what it is.
If you feel like you have the passion and the drive to make a difference, stand up and take that jump. Take the leap. Because you don't want to go through the next cycle and be like, oh my God, why did they get elected? They ran on a opposed, you can keep them from running on a post, if anything, even if there's no chance in the world that you could flip that red seat blue. At least you gave people another option. And that is something people desperately want is another option. So I just want to say I want people to consider running 2024 as such a major election. It's the presidential election, so it's a down a ballot race. You want your name on that ballot. You absolutely do. So if you're ever considering or just want to talk my email or my dms are open on all my social medias, you're welcome to reach out to me. I'd be happy to talk with you. But we need more people. We need more people to run, especially women and women of color. We need that diversity in our seeds of power. So I hope you guys will consider running.
Love it. Thank you so much for that.
Thank you so much for talking with me today. And that's the end of our episode. Thanks guys, for listening to Shout your Cause. Thank you for listening today. My name is Sally Hendrick. Be sure to visit our website for show notes and more information on how you can inspire others. If you would like to contribute content to our magazine, please apply on our website at shoutyourcause.com.