The hell anti-abortionists have wrought

From the July-August 2016 issue of News & Letters

Clinic escorts wearing vests from the Clinic Vest Project bring women safely through lines of anti-abortion fanatics at an Arkansas clinic. Photo from The Clinic Vest Project.

Clinic escorts wearing vests from the Clinic Vest Project bring women safely through lines of anti-abortion fanatics at an Arkansas clinic. Photo from The Clinic Vest Project.

Any City, Alabama—I’m 23 weeks pregnant and we wanted a baby. At my 20-week appointment they found “concerns” resulting in a referral to a maternal fetal specialist, which resulted in an amniocentesis. The experience was fairly traumatic but a drop in the bucket compared to what followed.

I got a call a few days later that my fetus is positive for trisomy 13, a fatal condition. The specialist asked if I had considered whether I wanted to continue the pregnancy, then noted that I had no options in Alabama, as I was at 22 weeks 6 days. The best she could do was give me the phone number for a clinic in Georgia that she knew nothing about.

NO OPTIONS IN ALABAMA

My partner and I cried for the next 16 hours, then began looking at options. My insurance will only cover the “procedure I am looking for” if I can find an in-network hospital to do it. After about six hours on the phone to hospitals all over the Southeast, my insurance customer service representative, my ob/gyn, the fetal specialist, on call nurses, one of whom suggested I may have to “wait for nature to take its course”—meaning continue the pregnancy until I eventually miscarry, give birth to a stillborn, or have a baby that will live a few days, upping my own health risks as well—I finally found the National Abortion Federation (NAF). They got me in at a clinic two states and 12 hours away.

We drove through the night to get there Friday morning in order to meet legal criteria of the 24-week gestational cut off. I had to call the specialist multiple times to send my test results and medical records. The ultrasound indicated the fetus’s head was too large, growing like some kind of mutant cancer, and it pushed my legal gestation stage to 26 weeks (which I don’t understand). They couldn’t legally terminate.

We turned around and drove 12 hours back home. Got back last night. The clinic, my ob/gyn, won’t even call in a prescription for a nerve pill to help me sleep. The nurse on call suggested Benadryl.

$500 PROCEDURE ENDS UP COSTING $10,000

The NAF has provided me with a case manager to help me through this and got me into a clinic in Colorado that specializes in fetal anomalies that will do the four-day procedure this week. Family and friends are helping with cost of air travel and hotel. The procedure will be $10,000-$12,000, not covered by insurance. NAF is donating $6,000. The people at the clinic who tried to help me yesterday but couldn’t did all the medical legwork to get me in. I fly out tomorrow.

I feel abandoned by my doctors, specialists, insurance and the entire mainstream medical community. The “baby killing abortion Nazis” (sarcasm) have been the support that has kept me from throwing myself down a flight of stairs, which would surely result in a charge of infanticide. 

I want every “pro-life” asshole to know that their efforts have put my family through the seventh circle of hell.

I keep telling myself that it could be worse, I could have no support. My husband is afraid he won’t have a job when we get back. We are grieving the loss of a wanted pregnancy and baby.

THE REAL RESULT OF ANTI-ABORTION LAWS

This is the reality of abortion legislation. The abortion doctor that couldn’t do the procedure is the only medical person in this situation who embraced me while I cried and told me that she cares about me and that I would get through this.

Between family and friends, we will have the roughly $4,000-$5,000 we need for the procedure plus travel funds. I can’t accept anyone else’s money without thinking of all the other women going through this too.

Anyone who wants to help, please donate to NAF so they can help other women like me. The Tiller Foundation, Freedom Fund, and Last Resort are other organizations that help with funding in these situations. The Center for Reproductive Rights fights bullshit legislation. I just want for no one else to go thru this or drink bleach or go to a butcher to try to manage this situation. This is just devastating. 

Tomorrow will be hard, they will first euthanize the little guy. But I just keep thinking about how hard it would be to keep carrying him, 4, 8, 12, 16 weeks, waiting for him to die and hoping he doesn’t kill me in the process. Wondering if we can put ourselves through this to try again one day.

Every time I feel him move I want to throat punch a Republican. This should already be over in a local hospital with my family at my side. The final stage of delivery is Thursday and they offer cremation. Everyone that asks, What can I do to help? I say, tell everyone you know exactly what bullshit the “pro-life” agenda is putting me and my spouse, and our families through. This is not theoretical. This is our actual life right now.

—Gertie

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