After a few weeks a Florida couples will have to say goodbye to their child soon after the baby is born, a dire reality created by the US Supreme Court’s overturning of nationwide abortion rights last year.
Because of a new Florida law that bans abortion after 15 weeks, except in certain circumstances, Deborah Dorbert is one of many women who have difficulty accessing the necessary abortion procedures after the Supreme Court struck down rights granted by the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
A the report The Washington Post describes how Dorbert and her husband, Lee Dorbert, are expecting their second child, and doctors have revealed that the child has been diagnosed with a fatal fetal abnormality known as Potter syndrome. But, they say, doctors have been unable to perform abortions because of their interpretation of a Florida law that took effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Potter’s syndrome is a rare disease associated with the development of the fetus in the uterus. The syndrome is the result of a disruption in normal kidney growth and function that affects how much amniotic fluid surrounds the fetus during pregnancy.
It was recognized by “Twice Fatal Diagnosis” because babies with malfunctioning kidneys cannot remove deadly toxins from their bodies and in turn can experience kidney failure. In addition, the lack of amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb leads to the fact that the child is born without the ability to breathe.
According to Reducing Infant and Child Mortality in Florida the rightwhich was put into effect last July, abortions are prohibited after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with some exceptions, including an exception that allows a later abortion “if two doctors certify in writing that the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality and has not reached viability. “.
Last November, when the couple’s child was diagnosed with the syndrome, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist told the Dorberts that some parents chose to carry the pregnancy to full term, while others chose to terminate the pregnancy through surgery or premature birth.
The doctor added that he would consult with health system administrators about the new law, according to the Washington Post. The Dorberts eventually decided they wanted to terminate the pregnancy as early as possible because babies with the syndrome often die before birth or suffocate within minutes or hours of birth.
Deborah Dorbert told the publication that she recalled that the specialist said that an interruption could be possible – but only between 28 and 32 weeks.
Then, after a specialist consulted with health system administrators about the new law, couples were told they would have to wait until the 37th week of pregnancy — or nearly full term — to terminate the pregnancy.
According to a text message Deborah Dorbert received from the maternal-fetal medicine coordinator she visits frequently, the specialist made the decision after advocates “looked at the new law and how it’s written,” according to the Washington Post.
“It’s horribly written,” the post added.
Although the specialist told the couple that other states had fewer restrictions on abortion access, the Dorberts told the Post that they were overwhelmed by travel costs and only left their state a few times.
A couple who didn’t find out their baby’s gender because their legs were crossed or the umbilical cord got in the way during every scan eventually decided to give their baby palliative care after the baby was born.
“It was very important to us that we understand that we have that control, at least in some of those decisions,” Lee Dorbert told the Washington Post.
Still, the new law, which punishes doctors who violate it with penalties including license suspension, hefty fines and five or more years in prison, has angered and frustrated the couple.
“It makes me angry that politicians are deciding what’s best for my health,” Deborah Dorbert told the Washington Post. “We would do anything to have this baby.”
“We never understood,” Lee Dorbert said, adding, “We were told there was an exception … Apparently [it’s] an exception is not enough in some cases.”
Despite the pain felt by the Dorberts and couples in similar situations, the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has taken a firm stance against abortion.
DeSantis earlier this month said that he would sign a six-week abortion ban if passed.
“We are pro-life,” DeSantis said. “I urge the legislature to work, to do good things, and we will sign. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”