'I’m carrying it to bury it': Post-Roe abortion laws imperil a woman suffering a doomed pregnancy
With the U.S. Supreme Court having overturned Roe v. Wade with its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion laws in the U.S. will vary dramatically from state to state. Some deeply Democratic states will be quite protective of abortion rights, while abortion will be either totally banned or greatly restricted in a long list of deeply Republican states — and in swing states or purple states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and Arizona, there will no doubt be some fierce battles over abortion in the months ahead.
Louisiana is one of the red states where abortion is now greatly restricted; the state’s abortion law makes no exception for rape or incest, and on Friday, August 12, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled to let the state’s near-total abortion ban remain on the books.
The Louisiana law also fails to make an exception for troubled pregnancies in which, because of the condition known as acrania, a fetus cannot survive. Louisiana resident Nancy Davis is facing such a pregnancy. Davis, as of August 17, is 13 weeks into a pregnancy, but an ultrasound, according to The Independent, recently revealed that the fetus, suffering from acrania, has no chance of surviving.
READ MORE: The post-Roe dynamics of abortion: report
The Independent’s Abe Asher, in an article published on August 16, explains, “Because Louisiana’s abortion ban does not include an exception for acrania, the condition the fetus is suffering from, she cannot get a legal abortion in the state. If Ms. Davis does want to get an abortion, she will have to travel out of state to Florida. But time is running out for her to make a decision: Florida has banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, giving Ms. Davis a small window to schedule an appointment and arrange her travel should she decide to get the procedure.”
Jezebel’s Kylie Cheung notes that because of acrania, Davis’ fetus “lacks a skull and the top of its head.” And on Monday, August 15, she told WAFB-TV Channel 9, a local news station, “It’s hard knowing that I’m carrying it to bury it.”
Louisiana, Asher notes, is “among the Republican-led states that passed extremely restrictive abortion bans to take effect in a post-Roe v. Wade landscape” — and the southern state has “banned all abortions except for cases in which the mother’s life is in jeopardy.” Davis, according to Asher, is facing “an extremely limited set of options in trying circumstances.”
“Ms. Davis isn’t the only person who has dealt with similar circumstances in recent weeks,” Asher reports. “A New Orleans doctor, Valerie Williams, testified in an affidavit that she was prevented from giving a patient an abortion even though they were carrying a nonviable fetus. Ms. Williams testified that the patient was ‘screaming — not from pain, but from the emotional trauma she was experiencing.’ Jezebel reported that the woman eventually delivered after hours, losing a liter of blood in the process.”
Davis, in her interview with WAFB, said of Louisiana’s abortion law, “I just want them to consider special circumstances as it relates to abortion, medical programs. Like, this is one that needs to be — you know what I’m saying — in there.”
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