Since the start of the year, Republican lawmakers on the federal and state level have charged headlong into a comprehensive assault on a woman’s right to choose.
In Nebraska, one law already in existence heaped needless trauma on a mother’s tragedy. Thirty-four-year-old Danielle Deaver was 23 weeks pregnant when she faced a fate “worse than your own death” — her baby would not make it. Her water broke early and, without amniotic fluid, the fetus would not develop lungs to survive outside the womb. Deaver and her husband decided they wanted to let “nature take it’s course” and would not risk harming the child further, so they asked their doctor to help “put an end to this nightmare.”
But because of Nebraska’s law prohibiting any abortion after 20 weeks, the doctor could not assist or he would “face criminal charges, jail time, and lose his medical license.” Her doctors told her “she’d just have to wait.” So she did, in “torture,” and gave birth to Elizabeth at 3pm, watched her gasp for breath, and then watched her die at 3:15pm on December 8, 2010. “The outcome of my pregnancy, that choice was made by God,” said Deaver, but “how to handle the end of my pregnancy, that choice should’ve been mine.”
She told her story to the Des Moines Register, watch it:
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“If they thought about their daughter, their sister, their mother, their wife being in this situation, they would never want them to go through that,” Deavers said of the legislators who created the law.
Yesterday, in a 94–2 vote, the Oklahoma House passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks based on the dubious assumption the fetus “can feel pain.” Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio are also considering joining the 31 states that currently have such a ban. Should these states successfully push the ban through, Danielle Deaver’s personal tragedy may become a common expectation.