An expectant Louisiana woman who was carrying a skull-less fetus that would die within a short time after birth traveled 1,400 miles to New York City to terminate her pregnancy after her local hospital denied her an abortion amid uncertainty over the procedure’s legality, the Guardian reports.
Nancy Davis, 36, said she had her pregnancy terminated on September 1 after traveling from her home town of Baton Rouge to a clinic in Manhattan whose staff had agreed to complete the procedure.
Davis’s trek was necessary because Louisiana has outlawed abortion with very few exceptions after the Supreme Court’s decision in June to eliminate federal abortion rights established by its 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. New York is among the states where abortion remains legal.
Davis was about 10 weeks pregnant in late July when an ultrasound at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge – Louisiana’s capital – showed that her fetus was missing the top of its skull, a rare but fatal condition known as acrania that kills babies within days – and sometimes minutes – of birth.
Louisiana’s abortion ban contains a general exception for fetuses that cannot survive outside their mothers’ wombs, and the law’s author – state senator Katrina Jackson – has insisted that Davis could have legally obtained an abortion without having to go across the country.
Louisiana’s list of conditions justifying an exception from the state’s abortion ban did not explicitly include acrania. So officials at the hospital where Davis had her ultrasound refused to provide an abortion for her, apparently fearing that they could be exposed to prison time, fines and forfeiture of their licenses to practice if they performed the procedure.
After Davis spoke out in the media about her ordeal, more than a thousand people donated nearly $40,000 to an online GoFundMe campaign for Davis to travel to a state where it was certain that she could legally get an abortion.
A Florida court has blocked a pregnant 16-year-old girl from having an abortion, deeming her too immature to decide whether she should have an abortion and instead requiring the teenager to give birth to a baby.
Earlier in the summer, a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and impregnated had to travel to neighboring Indiana to terminate her pregnancy because her state had banned most abortions.