'Control — that’s all they care about': How Tennessee’s 'unconstitutional' anti-abortion law imperils women

'Control — that’s all they care about': How Tennessee’s 'unconstitutional' anti-abortion law imperils women

For many years, feminists and abortion rights activists warned that if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned Roe v. Wade, women experiencing unplanned pregnancies would not be the only ones suffering — women facing doomed pregnancies would suffer as well. And sure enough, that has come to pass since the High Court overturned Roe with its 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Tennessee is among the red states that has been rolling back abortion rights since the Dobbs decision. In an article published by the Daily Beast on February 28, journalist Michael Daly takes a close look at the case of Allie Phillips, a 28-year-old Tennessee woman who was 19 weeks into her pregnancy when she found out that the fetus was suffering from a rare condition called holoprosencephaly or HPE.

Phillips is an example of a married woman who wanted to be pregnant but now finds herself carrying a doomed fetus that she is not allowed to legally abort in her state.

Fetuses with HPE, according to Phillips' doctor, have only a 3 percent chance of survival. In addition to HPE, Daly reports, the fetus that Phillips is carrying has "abnormalities in the kidneys and the bladder" and a heart with "only two chambers rather than four."

READ MORE:The abortion pill, abortion bans and Republican policies that kill

Philips told the Daily Beast that after receiving the bad news, "I immediately began crying, like out loud crying…. I asked, 'Is there any treatment?' (The doctor) said, 'Unfortunately, there's nothing that can fix all these defects.'"

Phillips' doctor told her that medically, aborting the doomed fetus was an option but said that legally, "in Tennessee, I can't offer you advice if you choose that route. That is something you would have to do your own research on.'"

Phillips told the Daily Beast, "We risk having a stillborn or giving birth only for her to just die shortly after delivery. I don't want to bring her into this world to suffer for an hour or two just so I can say I held her…. Life was like a living nightmare."

Phillips' options include either continuing with a doomed pregnancy or having an abortion in a different state, but the latter option can be financially difficult — just as abortion rights activists warned it would be if Roe were overturned.

READ MORE: Federal judge says there may still be a constitutional right to abortion: report

"On Monday, (February 27)," Daly explains, "Phillips made calls to abortion providers in New York and Illinois. She and her husband make too much money to qualify for financial assistance, but not enough that the prospective expense isn't daunting, especially when compounded by the cost of airfare and a hotel. One quote in Illinois for the procedure at 20 weeks was $1500, going up to $2500 in the 21st week. They decided on a facility in Manhattan that said it would cost $1050 at 20 weeks…. Phillips and her husband will be setting from Tennessee for New York next week to do what they must do, but cannot do at home thanks to Gov. Bill Lee and the conservative Republicans who are now running her home state."

Although Phillips was hoping to give birth to another healthy child — she has a five-year-old daughter named Adalie — the Tennessee resident is a scathing critic of the GOP-sponsored anti-abortion law in her state.

Phillips told the Beast, "Control — that's all they care about.… Politicians should not be making any laws that limit medical treatment for anyone. It's unconstitutional and a violation to my basic civil and human rights. Banning abortions doesn't stop them. It bans safe abortions and makes it nearly impossible for some women to receive life-saving care. Women will die because of these laws. Doesn't seem very pro-life, if you ask me."

READ MORE: GOP Attorneys General warn CVS and Walgreens against delivering abortion pills

Read The Daily Beast's full report at this link (subscription required).

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