Nancy Davis, who is 15 weeks pregnant, says she plans to travel out of state for a ‘medically necessary’ abortion.
A pregnant Louisiana woman is denied pregnancy – despite her unborn baby suffering from a rare disease and death – asked Governor John Bel Edwards and the legislature to convene a special session to clarify state restrictions on the procedure .
Nancy Davis, who is 15 weeks pregnant, said Friday that she will be traveling out of state next week for a “medically necessary” abortion.
A state law is currently in effect ban abortion except in cases where the woman is at risk of death or serious impairment if the pregnancy continues and in cases where the pregnancy is “medically useless”. Davis, 36, and abortion rights advocates for months have criticized the law as vague and confusing.
Their concerns are being echoed in many other states, like Louisiana, which have passed so-called trigger laws when the US Supreme Court Overturned Roe v WadeThe landmark 1973 decision guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion.
About a dozen states currently ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with some allowing narrow exceptions such as in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger.
“Miss Davis was one of the first women to be embarrased by Louisiana’s rush to restrict abortion, but she won’t be the last,” Ben Crump, Davis’ attorney, said in an interview. Press conference was held on the State Capitol entering Friday.
Many women with painful pregnancy situations are conflicted about how to act under Louisiana’s opaque abortion laws. We need the Governor of Louisiana to convene a special session to address these unfair, restrictive and confusing laws! pic.twitter.com/8MDB6ZA7lu
– Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 26, 2022
10 weeks after Davis became pregnant, doctors at Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge diagnosed the fetus she was carrying with acrania, a rare and fatal condition in which the baby’s skull does not formed in the womb.
Davis was told that if she was pregnant to full term and gave birth, the baby would likely survive for a very short period of time – anywhere from a few minutes to a week. Doctors advised Davis to have an abortion, but they said they could not perform the procedure.
“Basically, they said I had to take the baby and bury it,” Davis said. “They seem confused about the law and afraid of what will happen to them.”
If a doctor performs a illegal abortion In Louisiana, they could face up to 15 years in prison.
In a statement last week to news outlets, spokeswoman Caroline Isemann said Women’s Hospital could not comment on a specific patient, but reiterated that the hospital’s mission is to provide “services.” provide the best possible care for women” while complying with state laws and policies. .
Since then, the law’s author, Senator Katrina Jackson, and other lawmakers have said Davis was eligible for abortions and that the hospital “misunderstood” the statute. However, in a written statement Tuesday signed by Jackson and 35 others, including nine other women, they indicated that many of them share a religious faith that would “force We have to carry this baby to full term.”
Davis and her lawyers said they did not blame the doctors but the ambiguity of the law.
“The law is as clear as mud,” says Crump. “Every woman’s situation is different and subject to interpretation, so of course, medical professionals don’t want to risk going to jail or paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for making the wrong call. Who would only take someone’s word for it when their freedom is in jeopardy? “
Lawsuits by an abortion clinic in Shreveport and others have been under way since the new law took effect. The law has turned blocked and then enforceable when the case gets through the courts. The most recent ruling allows enforcement of the law. Plaintiffs opposing the ban do not deny the state can now ban abortion; they argue that the provisions of the law are contradictory and ambiguously unconstitutional.
While Davis has not filed a complaint or lawsuit, she wants Louisiana lawmakers to hold a special session to clarify the law. Their next regular meeting is scheduled for April 2023.
“Imagine how many women could have been affected before [lawmakers] let’s get back to the session,” said Crump. “How many more Nancy Davises will have to endure mental anguish and mental cruelty before legislators clear up these vague and ambiguous laws.”