A pregnant mother from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is facing a difficult decision after learning that her unborn child was diagnosed with acrania–a rare and fatal congenital disorder.
Nancy Davis, who is 13 weeks pregnant with her second child, has a week to decide whether she will carry the baby to term–despite doctors informing her it would not survive–or travel to another state to have an abortion.
Her case is among other tragic examples seeing an increase in the US following the conservative court majority's decision to strike down Roe v Wade–which previously gave people the constitutional right to access reproductive healthcare.
Davis told WAFB:
“It’s hard knowing that ... you know I’m carrying it to bury it...you know what I’m saying."
She and her boyfriend were excited to welcome their new baby, but the prospect turned grim after she received her first ultrasound at Women's Hospital when she was ten weeks pregnant.
“It was an abnormal ultrasound, and they noticed the top of the baby’s head was missing and the skull was missing, the top of the skull was missing."
The fetus was diagnosed with acrania–which refers to the absence of the fetal skull "with freely exposed brain tissue to amniotic fluid."
The fatal medical condition often leads to anencephaly–a birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of a brain or skull.
Medical experts say babies with this condition only survive minutes to hours after birth.
Doctors encouraged her to have an abortion.
But when she agreed to the procedure, she was denied due to the detection of the fetus' heartbeat. Davis is now 14 weeks pregnant with a nonviable fetus.
She is seeking an abortion in another state.
You can watch a news report, here.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing Davis, said his client was put in a horrifically cruel position.”
Without commenting on the specific case due to medical privacy laws, a spokesperson for Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, Caroline Isemann, said navigating an unviable pregnancy is extremely complex in the state.
She told CNN:
"We look at each patient's individual circumstances and how to remain in compliance with all current state laws to the best of our ability."
"Even if a specific diagnosis falls under medically futile exceptions provided by (the Louisiana Department of Health), the laws addressing treatment methods are much more complex and seemingly contradictory."
State Senator Katrina Jackson, who wrote the state's abortion law said Davis should have been allowed to terminate her pregnancy based on a list of 25 exclusive exceptions from the Louisiana Department of Health.
"This woman is seeking a medical procedure for a pregnancy that is not viable outside of the womb."
In a statement, Crump said despite what Lousiana lawmakers claim:
"The law is having its intended effect, causing doctors to refuse to perform abortions even when they are medically necessary out of fear of losing their medical licenses or facing criminal charges."
"It's clear the State of Louisana is inflicting profoudn emotional and physical trauma on Ms. Davis and women like her with this harshly restrictive and confusing law."
Davis is planning to travel to Florida or South Carolina where she would be eligible for abortion, given the diagnosis of her unborn baby.