A woman’s story about her late-term abortion is going viral after she shared it on Facebook to point out that it was “nothing like described by Trump.”
Alyson Draper posted her story during the third presidential debate on Wednesday night, which included a question about late-term abortions. Her post has already been shared over 111,000 times.
According to BuzzFeed, Draper was 40 years old when she became pregnant with twins through in vitro fertilization. She said it was “the most wanted and planned pregnancy ever.”
But at 22 weeks, she learned that one of her twins had died in the womb, and the other’s had a birth defect known as Spina bifida, a birth where the backbone doesn’t form normally, and would only live for a few days on life support.
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“Our baby’s case was so severe that the entire brain was pulled down and formed on the back, and the spine was exposed all the way down to the lumbar vertebrae at the bottom,” Draper told BuzzFeed.
And due to the dead fetus, Draper’s own health was also at risk.
Draper, a devout Mormon, wrote that she consulted with both her bishop and her doctor, and they decided that an abortion was necessary to save her life. But late-term abortions are only legal in Utah under certain circumstances — if the fetus is unable to live outside the womb, if it’s necessary for the woman’s life or health, if the woman is a victim of rape or incest, or if the fetus has a “uniformly diagnosable and lethal defect.”
As a result, an ethics committee had to decide whether Draper would be allowed to have an abortion.
“I lay on the hospital floor, bawling hysterically, for twelve hours, waiting for an ethics committee of the health care corporation to decide my case justified what had to be done,” she wrote on Facebook. “My husband and I consulted our LDS Bishop, who assured me I needed to do what I had to do, that it was even within LDS guidelines to do so. He reminded me I had six kids at home who needed their mother to live.”
Draper, who wrote that she did not want to have an abortion, nonetheless noted that it was “done very gently, by Caesarean section, leaving the babies in their amniotic sacs.”
Her account stands in stark contrast to how Donald Trump described a late-term abortion as “[ripping] the baby out of the womb” during the debate on Wednesday night.
“In the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother, just prior to the birth of the baby,” Trump said, after host Chris Wallace’s question about late term abortions. “But it’s not okay with me, because based on what she is saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb, in the ninth month, on the final day. That’s not acceptable.”
Trump’s rhetoric is common among the pro-life community, which often refers to due-date and partial birth abortions. In specifically mentioning partial birth abortions during the debate, Trump was using a term that is political, and not based on medical practice.
As ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Ressler has reported, using this language was incredibly effective for pro-life activists in the 1990s and early 2000s trying to target a process called Intact Dilation & Extraction, or “D&X,” in which the cervix is dilated to give enough room for the fetus to pass through.
National Right to Life commissioned drawings to illustrate the procedure and placed them as paid advertisements in newspapers. The conversation shifted away from women who need abortion care and toward “unborn babies” being brutally ripped from the womb. Thanks in large part to that framing, multiple states and then Congress passed “partial birth abortion” bans, and the Supreme Court upheld the restriction. D&X is now illegal.
While Draper’s story doesn’t capture all the different reasons women may choose to get a late-term abortion, it goes a long way in countering the misleading language among the pro-life community and Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, as do the stories of other women who have come forward to share the details of their late-term abortions since the debate.
“I shared my story because I wanted people to understand that late-term abortions aren’t what Trump described, and that women can end up in this terrible situation who desperately wanted a baby,” Draper said.