Sun. May 19th, 2024

Mother describes leaving Idaho for abortion as Supreme Court considers state’s ban

By 37ci3 Apr24,2024

BOISE, Idaho – It was the news every expectant mother dreads. Twelve weeks pregnant with her second child, Jennifer Adkins learned that her developing fetus had Turner syndrome, a rare chromosomal abnormality, and was unlikely to survive. On top of that, doctors warned that his health might be in danger.

Adkins was at high risk for what’s known as Mirror Syndrome — a condition in which a pregnant mother develops symptoms that mimic those of a deteriorating fetus, including swelling, high blood pressure and potential preeclampsia.

But when she raised the prospect of terminating the pregnancy with her doctors, Adkins learned that wasn’t an option: The fetus still had a heartbeat.

“Given the severity of what we saw on the ultrasound, they said we were surprised you were still pregnant. Most people would have gotten pregnant by now,” she said. “I was just, completely shocked.”

Idaho is more than one dozens of states that ban nearly all abortions. Anyone who performs an abortion here faces up to 5 years in prison, and medical professionals who violate the law may lose their licenses.

The law makes an exception if the doctor deems the procedure necessary to prevent the woman’s death. But doctors in Idaho say there is serious confusion about what to do when a patient is carrying a fetus that is not viable and could cause devastating complications, but is not on the brink of death.

“It makes no sense for us to wait until you reach death’s door and then we will act,” he said. Idaho.

The bind some Idaho doctors find themselves in is at the heart of a lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court must now consider. The judges heard oral arguments Wednesday and will decide whether the state’s abortion ban conflicts with a federal law that requires federally funded hospitals to provide patients with any necessary treatment, including emergency abortions to stabilize them.

In their questions, a number of liberal justices raised examples of medical complications — such as premature rupture of membranes — that could cause serious bodily harm but not necessarily death if not treated immediately.

It’s not the only legal challenge to Idaho’s law: Adkins, along with three other women and two doctors, filed a lawsuit against Idaho, asking the court to clarify the scope of the state’s abortion ban. The trial was originally scheduled for the end of this year.

In Adkins’ case, waiting to miscarry naturally could take weeks. So she and her husband, John, packed their bags, saved up, and drove six hours to Oregon for an abortion.

“Both of us are disgusted by the treatment of our state,” he said. “Not only did we have to go through the trauma and grief of losing a much-desired baby, but we also went through that emotional trauma of traveling to get the procedure.”

Asked about Adkins’ claim Wednesday, Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador, a Republican, said the law is “very clear.”

“Idaho law protects unborn children and protects the life of the mother, and in any case where the life of the mother is in danger, [abortion] It will be authorized by the state of Idaho,” he said.

But Gail Deady, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal advocacy group representing Adkins, said she doesn’t think “the majority of doctors in Idaho understand where that line is.”

Harmon said this is an antithetical approach to medical education.

“The idea of ​​inaction that could make the clinical situation worse because we can only act at the very end goes against everything I know in medicine,” he said.

Boise-area OB-GYN Dr. Sarah Thomson says that even if a mother-to-be is not on the verge of death, it can still be heartbreaking to be denied the ability to terminate a pregnancy if she has a medical complication. the baby will not survive.

“Having her pregnant for hours or days until we can declare her medical condition life-threatening does nothing to benefit the baby and only harms the mother,” he said, adding: “We’re adding trauma to an already traumatic situation and that clinical detail.” It’s so frustrating to feel like our hands are tied by a state legislature that doesn’t understand.

In the 15 months since Idaho’s abortion ban went into effect in August 2022, Idaho has lost 22%. its 268 OB-GYNsaccording to Report of the Idaho Physician Health Action Collaborative.

Because of this, Thomson said, “Even if you don’t have any complications, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to drive more than an hour of miles to visit before you give birth or deliver your baby. “

Thomson added that he also recently updated his resume — the first time in 10 years.

Harmon said he plans to stay, at least for now.

“Ours [who] Those who stay are kind of thinking… let’s stay, because if we don’t, who will?” he said.

Adkins is pregnant again in a situation she feels she has already failed once.

“It’s scary and it keeps getting scarier,” he said. “Knowing what maternal care is like in our state right now is like walking on eggshells.”

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By 37ci3

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