In an op-ed calling on West Virginia lawmakers to reject a 20-week abortion they’re considering, Danielle Deaver describes what happened when her pregnancy went horribly wrong at 22 weeks:
Nebraska was the first of a handful of states to enact a so-called “20 week abortion ban,” similar to a bill considered by the West Virginia Legislature. As a result, the decision that should have remained mine and my husband’s to make was decided for us — and it was decided by politicians we’d never met.
Even though I wasn’t looking for an abortion, my doctor and his legal counsel felt their hands were tied. “If I could help you, I would,” he said, looking me in my tear filled eyes. “But I would go to jail.”
The law, as you know, is black and white. Unfortunately, life just isn’t. Though an infection was growing inside me, under the law I wasn’t sick enough to warrant the induction my husband and I wanted.
Some have suggested my husband and I should have traveled to another state, but we didn’t want to leave my doctor’s care. And we didn’t want to drive home with my daughter in a box.
So we waited. For days. While we waited, we tried to pray, but we didn’t know what to pray for. So we spent our days and nights telling our daughter how much we loved her, how sorry we were, and how we wished we could do something different.
Then on Wednesday, Dec. 8, my daughter was born. My husband and I held Elizabeth as she gasped for air, and mere minutes later she was gone.
There are no words for how awful the 10 days were from the moment my water broke to the day my daughter died — for the heart break that cut deeper every time she moved inside of me.
Danielle and her husband have spoken out about their story before. And yet, Nebraska’s law kicked off a national trend–nine states now have 20-week bans. And despite the fact that they’ve been struck down by the courts in multiple states, anti-choice lawmakers are still pushing them in West Virginia, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
Kudos to Danielle for continuing to give a face to the real and devastating impact of these laws.
(H/T Think Progress)
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.