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The Washington Independent

Nebraska woman speaks out against state abortion law that forced her to watch her baby die

An example of the effects of Nebraska’s new fetal pain abortion law, which went into effect last October, was publicized in a recent interview Danielle Deaver

Rhyley Carney
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Mar 08, 2011

An example of the effects of Nebraska’s new fetal pain abortion law, which went into effect last October, was publicized in a recent interview Danielle Deaver gave to the Des Moines Register, published Sunday.

The 34-year-old from Grand Island, Neb., and her husband, Robb, had tried to obtain an abortion last December after finding out their baby likely would not survive outside of the womb. The month before, Danielle’s water had broken unexpectedly, which resulted in the absence of most of her amniotic fluid around the baby. Doctors had told the couple their child would likely be born with deformities to the face and head and the inability to move its limbs, according to the Register.

But because Danielle had been pregnant since August 2010, and because the state law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of gestation, the Deavers were denied an abortion and forced to proceed with the birth, which was followed immediately by their baby’s death.

Danielle described to the Register what it felt like to watch her baby girl, which the couple named Elizabeth, try to inhale.

I knew the answer, but I had to ask and asked them, “Is there anything …?” And, of course, he said, “No.” And I knew that, but there was just something about seeing her trying to breathe, that I had to ask.

And the nurse said, “Try to watch for when she stops so we can record the time of death.” 3:15 (p.m.), she died

According to the Register, the couple has one son, born in May 2008. Before that, they made previous attempts to have children, which ended in three miscarriages — something the Georgia and Virginia legislatures want to investigate — and possibly criminalize depending on the cause.

Similar late-term-abortion prohibition laws have been introduced in other states, including Alabama (PDF), Arkansas (PDF), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa (PDF), Indiana, Kansas (PDF) Kentucky,  Massachusetts, Michigan,  Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi (PDF), New Jersey, New Mexico (PDF), Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas (PDF).

Rhyley Carney | Rhyley Carney is a New York Times bestselling author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content designer, and writing teacher/lecturer who has won five Bram Stoker Awards. More than a dozen countries have purchased her novels.


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