US woman protests after being denied 'medically necessary' abortion

The 36-year-old woman said she was denied an abortion by the Woman's Hospital, where she received the diagnosis of acrania for the then 10-week foetus, a condition in which there is no skull.
Representative image
Representative image

WASHINGTON: A woman protested at the State Capitol of the US state of Louisiana for being denied a "medically necessary" abortion after the foetus developed a fatal and rare condition.

On the steps of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, the capital city of Louisiana, Nancy Davis told reporters on Friday that Governor John Bel Edwards and lawmakers should convene a special session to change the trigger laws, which allow an instant ban, on abortion as soon as possible so as to make it clarified, reports Xinhua news agency.

The 36-year-old woman said she was denied an abortion by the Woman's Hospital, where she received the diagnosis of acrania for the then 10-week foetus, a condition in which there is no skull.

Davis is now 15 weeks pregnant.

Doctors from the hospital seemed "confused about the law and afraid of what would happen to them" even after they told her she should terminate the pregnancy in early August, said Davis.

She was told that if she brought the pregnancy to full term and gave birth, the baby would likely survive for a very short amount of time, possibly several minutes to a week.

"Basically, they said I had to carry my baby to bury my baby," Davis said. "They seemed confused about the law and afraid of what would happen to them."

"This has truly been an emotional rollercoaster," she said.

Davis and her partner, Shedric Cole, said they see it as their duty to end the pregnancy rather than bring a baby into the world to watch it suffer and die within minutes to days.

The couple already have three children between them, aged 1, 13 and 16 respectively, local media reported.

"Being a mother starts when your baby is in the womb," said Davis. "As a mother, even though the baby isn't here, it's still my responsibility to have my baby's best interest at heart."

"Speaker of the House, Senate President, come back from your August vacations and make sure that these vague laws are actually clear so that other women are spared the mental anguish, the mental torment, that Nancy Davis is having to endure," said her lawyer Ben Crump, a veteran civil rights and personal injury attorney.

"Davis was among the first women to be caught in the crosshairs of confusion due to Louisiana's rush to restrict abortion, but she will hardly be the last," Crump said.

The state lawmakers' next regular session is scheduled for April 2023.

In response, Michelle McCalope, the Louisiana Department of Health press secretary, told the local media that the state law is "clear and unambiguous" and the Department "has complied with its legal obligations".

The state's near-all abortion ban, only except to save the life or life-sustaining organs of the mother, went into effect immediately after the Supreme Court's decision in June which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that gave women a constitutional right to abortion.

If a doctor performs an illegal abortion in Louisiana, they could face up to 15 years in prison, according to local media reports.

Davis said she plans to travel to North Carolina next week to terminate her pregnancy.

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