Ohio’s new abortion law forces doctor to fight to protect her patient’s life | CNN

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As soon as Dr. May Winchester does Tara George’s ultrasound, she learns that her baby is in trouble.


During that July ultrasound, Winchester noticed that there was no amniotic fluid around the baby. Further tests that day and the next morning indicated that the child was in kidney failure and had multiple heart defects.

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Medical records sum it up in cold scientific terms: The baby had “fatal fetal anomalies.”

That harsh reality sends Winchester, Tara, and her husband, Justin, on a battle to get her the right medical care—a fight that pits them against Ohio’s strict anti-abortion law as well as that hospital. Degi where Winchester works.

In April, Tara, 34, and Justin, 33, were delighted to learn that she was pregnant. They sent ultrasound pictures to friends and family and named their baby Griffin. Justin, a game podcasterbought his son the Husky’s with the logo of his beloved Cleveland teams.

“All I could think about was watching sports, taking him to games, having fun, playing with somebody,” Justin said. “Just doing everything a father would do to his son. We were very excited.”

“We had already chosen a date for the baby shower,” Tara said. “We were really looking forward to it.”

When tests revealed that the baby was in kidney failure and had a heart defect, Tara was 20 weeks pregnant. She and Justin had to make a painful decision.

One option was to continue the pregnancy. Winchester said that the child may be born dead, but even if he is born alive, he will live for a few hours.

Carrying the baby to term puts Tara’s life in danger: She has a blood clotting disorder and an autoimmune condition, which puts her at higher risk for bleeding, clots, and preeclampsia — all potentially fatal complications.

“When you have a kid who’ll never make it, a kid who’s going to face a potentially very tough few hours of life, we really have to think a lot about whether we’re going to make it through Tara’s life. risk,” Winchester, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, told CNN.

Another option was abortion. After careful consideration, Tara and Justin decide to terminate the pregnancy to save Tara’s life and to save Griffin from suffering.

“I can only imagine being born and not having organs that are working at all — that would be terrifying,” Tara told CNN.

Winchester told Tara that she thought she could get an abortion at home in Ohio, even though a few weeks earlier, the Supreme Court’s Roe v. In view of Wade’s vicissitudes, a law Abortion was banned as early as six weeks into the pregnancy.

But she says she consulted a hospital attorney, who said Tara couldn’t get an abortion because of the new Ohio law.

“When I had to call Tara and tell her we can’t do that, it was really difficult,” Winchester said.

“It was awful because not only were we not told, then the next step was kind of thinking, OK, okay, who’s going to help us?” Tara said. “Where shall we go from here?”

“I’ve literally never felt more helpless in my life,” Justin said.

Winchester and Georges asked CNN not to name the hospital. CNN reached out to the hospital, and a spokesperson said they “do not comment on the care of an individual patient.”

After Winchester says that the hospital’s attorney instructs her not to abort, she reaches out to colleagues in nearby states to find a place where Tara can get the procedure. That process took several days, partly because abortion laws were in flux in neighboring states.

“He had to wait,” Winchester said. “And if anything happened to her during that waiting period, I’d feel really bad.”

In the midst of their grief, Tara and Justin made the nearly three-hour trip to Michigan, where they spent two days to receive the procedure. Justin cracked jokes and sang songs to keep Tara up, but he knew it was no use.

“It was devastating,” he said.

He had to pay for a hotel and his work as a hairstylist and his work as a quality manager in a steel factory led to the loss of pay days.

But worst of all, Tara said, was how “scary” and “worrisome” it was with doctors in an unfamiliar hospital they had never met before.

Six days later, on August 2, Tara miscarried in Michigan.

CNN asked Ohio Sen. Christina Rosner, the primary sponsor of the state’s anti-abortion law, to comment on Tara’s situation. He did not respond.

A spokeswoman for Ohio Right to Life, which lobbied for Ohio anti-abortion legislation, responded to CNN’s request for comment about Tara’s condition.

“Ohio Right to Life offers our sincere condolences to the couple,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Whitmarsh wrote in an email to CNN. “However, the answer to a child’s suffering is not to intentionally kill it. We don’t kill humans just because they have a disease. … It is inhumane to treat an unborn child as if it were a pet that has been exposed to illness. The reason is ‘suppressed’.”

“It’s absolutely horrifying,” Tara said in response to Whitmarsh’s statement.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” Justin said.

“I don’t think anyone, whether Ohio Right to Life or the government, should anticipate people to make these really personal, life-changing decisions,” said Jesse Hill, an attorney fighting Ohio’s anti-abortion law. Court.

In her email, Whitmarsh said the protections for the mother under Ohio law are “extremely clear” and that “the life of the mother is indisputably protected by law.”

Hill, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and an expert on reproductive rights, said this was wrong.

Ohio law allows for abortion to “prevent the death” of the mother or when “there is a serious risk of substantial and irreversible loss of a major bodily function.”

But Hill says the law doesn’t make it clear what qualifies as a “serious risk,” so doctors and hospitals don’t know under what medical conditions an abortion would be legally permitted.

Because there are such strict penalties for violating Ohio law—a doctor can face the loss of his medical license, monetary damages and jail time—Hill said doctors and hospitals come close to violating it. are reluctant to.

“Doctors aren’t sure how sick that is,” Hill said. “There is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of fear around it right now.

For example, Ohio law mentions preeclampsia as a condition that constitutes a serious risk to the mother, but does not say that the mother has to have preeclampsia or is simply at high risk for it.

“The law may mean that anything less than complete preeclampsia will not be enough for a doctor to feel comfortable proceeding because it is not named in the statute,” Hill said, adding, “That is a reasonable reading. “High risk isn’t enough to warrant abortion” because if the law requires preeclampsia, that sort of suggests that something less than preeclampsia isn’t enough.”

Tara and Justin say they are telling their story to help women in states like Ohio who are experiencing a potentially dangerous pregnancy but don’t have the resources.

“We were lucky enough to get a hotel where we could miss work, travel out of state. Not everyone can do that,” Justin said. “I’m so terrified for any woman who might not have family or support, who doesn’t have a vehicle. …what should she do?”

Other women have also come forward to tell their stories.

Last week, model Chrissy Teigen talked about her 2020 pregnancy with her son, Jack.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Teigen said, “Halfway through it became very clear that he wouldn’t survive, and I wouldn’t live without any medical intervention, either.” She explained that she then “had an abortion to save my life for a baby who had absolutely no chance.”

In July, Marlena Stell told CNN that Texas’ strict anti-abortion laws forced her to walk around with the remains of her dead fetus for at least two weeks.

Earlier this month, Callie Despen told CNN that, like Tara, she was at high risk for pregnancy complications and was carrying a baby who would not survive long outside the womb. DeSpain was unable to have an abortion in Texas and had to drive 10 hours to New Mexico to get the procedure.

On September 14, an Ohio judge temporarily blocked the state’s abortion law, restoring access to 14-day abortions in the state up to 20 weeks after fertilization.

Justin and Tara still want a family, but Ohio’s changing laws make them “nervous” and “unsure” because they don’t know what the laws are. [will] Look,” said Tara.

“Our whole family is here; Our friends are here; Our jobs are here,” she said. ,[We’re] Just trying to hope that something changes for the better so that we can stay here.”

Credit : www.cnn.com

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