(CNN) — A pregnant Louisiana woman who claims she was denied an abortion even though the fetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition says other women shouldn’t have to experience her plight.
Nancy Davis says she plans to have an out-of-state abortion after a Louisiana hospital allegedly decided against the procedure despite her baby being diagnosed with acrania, a rare congenital disorder in which the fetus’s skull fails to form in the womb. .
Acrania is a fatal condition in which the newborn dies in the first week of life, according to the foundation Fetal Medicine Foundation.
Davis’s case reflects the confusion and heartbreaking decisions facing mothers and health professionals in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling that reversed the constitutional right to abortion.
Subsequently, laws banning abortion or severely restricting the procedure have gone into effect in a dozen states, including Louisiana.
“I want you to imagine what it’s been like to continue this pregnancy for another six weeks after this diagnosis,” Davis said at a news conference on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. “This isn’t fair to me and it shouldn’t happen to any other woman.”
Davis, who said she learned of the baby’s fatal condition 10 weeks into her pregnancy, was joined at the news conference by the baby’s father and his attorneys, including Ben Crump.
“The doctors told me that my baby would die shortly after birth,” Davis said. “They told me I had to terminate the pregnancy. Due to the state of Louisiana’s abortion ban, they can’t perform the procedure. Basically, they told me I had to continue the pregnancy to bury it. They seemed confused about the law and afraid of what would happen to them if they performed a criminal abortion, according to the law.
In a statement last week, a spokeswoman for Woman’s Hospital of Baton Rouge, Caroline Isemann, said the hospital cannot comment on a specific patient, but said it is extremely complex to navigate through an unviable pregnancy.
“We look at each patient’s individual circumstances and how to best continue to comply with all applicable state laws,” Isemann told CNN.
“Even if a specific diagnosis falls within the medically vanad exceptions provided by (the Louisiana Department of Health), the laws addressing treatment methods are far more complex and seemingly contradictory.”
Crump called for the state to hold a special session of the Louisiana legislature to address the “public health catastrophe” created by “vague and confusing” abortion laws.
The attorney said Louisiana lawmakers have “inflicted untold pain, emotional damage and physical risk” by standing between his client and his doctors. He said other women and health care providers will experience a similar situation because the state law has “created an environment of confusion and fear.”
Isemann told New York Times that Louisiana’s multiple abortion bans, which use different terminology, complicate matters.
“Currently there is no guidance as to which law controls the situation,” he said, adding that the hospital fights to ensure that a doctor who terminates a pregnancy after a diagnosis of acrania is safe from prosecution.
The legislator who wrote state law on abortion, state senator Katrina Jackson told the television network WAFBaffiliated with CNN, that Davis should have been allowed to have an abortion based on a list of 25 unique exceptions from the Louisiana Department of Health.
“This woman is seeking a medical procedure for a pregnancy that is not viable outside the womb,” Jackson told WAFB.
It is unknown which state Davis will go to for an abortion.
“Davis and his family are very grateful to everyone who donated to him in order to organize the trip,” Crump said. “By the time Mrs. Davis has the procedure she needs next week, she would have carried this unsustainable pregnancy for another month and a half,” with “risks and emotional costs.”
The baby’s father, Chedrick Cole, said: “From a distance it’s very easy to have an opinion on something, but until you’re really in this situation and going through it, you don’t understand how complex it is. I also want to say that we need to continue to raise awareness and raising awareness about situations like this, because it’s happening everywhere. … And it’s so much bigger than us and our family.”