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(REUTERS/Michaela Rehle)
(REUTERS/Michaela Rehle)

Reproductive wrongs

Texas woman forced to deliver stillborn baby due to abortion ban

By WITW Staff on March 31, 2016

When Taylor Mahaffey was 20 weeks pregnant, she was told by a doctor that she was going into labor and her baby boy had no chance of survival outside the womb. The baby, who had been named Fox, was already pushing through Mahaffey’s cervix with his feet, The Daily Beast reports. Emergency measures to stop preterm labor failed. “The only humane thing to do at that point would be to pop the sack, and let little Fox come into this world too early to survive outside,” Daniel Mahaffey, Taylor’s husband, wrote on Reddit.

Inducing labor at this stage, however, would have been tantamount to a late-term abortion. Because Texas bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — unless a woman’s life is in danger or severe fetal abnormalities are detected — doctors had no choice but to send the Mahaffeys home to wait while their baby died slowly in utero. “These laws made my wife feel our child struggle inside her for days,” Daniel wrote. “We cried ourselves to sleep every night. We spent four days in and out of the hospital waiting for nature to take it’s [sic] course.” Eventually, Taylor’s waters broke and she gave birth to Fox, who was stillborn.

Texas is one of 12 states that has enacted “fetal pain legislation”: late term abortion bans predicated on the debunked notion that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks of gestation. The American Medical Association has found that “fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” but that has not stopped 13 additional states from introducing similar fetal pain laws this year.

“We have to change the laws,” Daniel Mahaffey told The Daily Beast. “There are no reasons to have these restrictions. It’s just people putting ideology in front of humanity.”

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.


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