Arizona Mom Forced to Carry Non-Viable Pregnancy to Term Due to Abortion Law: 'She Was Alive for 44 Hours'
Chloe found out at 23 weeks that her baby had a serious birth defect that would likely result in death, but due to Arizona law she had to remain pregnant until she delivered
An Arizona mom is speaking out after being forced to carry her non-viable fetus to term.
Chloe, who does not want to use her last name, was overjoyed when she first found out she was pregnant in January 2022, becoming even more excited when she learned it was a girl, according to ABC News. Mom to an almost 6-month-old, Chloe had dreams of her two girls becoming close friends.
But at 23 weeks, she learned that her baby had holoprosencephaly, a birth defect that occurs when the brain does not divide into two halves, the left and right hemispheres, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While there are several types of the condition, Chloe's baby's was the most severe, known as alobar holoprosencephaly, which often results in the baby being stillborn or dying shortly after birth.
Upon realizing her daughter would not live very long, the 22-year-old was devastated. According to the outlet she said she "broke down" and said, "I have never felt that way in my entire life."
In Arizona, her options were limited — and she had to decide what to do within days. She could try to get an abortion by 24 weeks as was permitted at the time, go out of state to a clinic, or to continue with the pregnancy.
She decided she wanted to terminate. But when Roe v. Wade was overturned, states had the power to determine their own abortion laws. Arizona enacted a 15-week ban with exceptions only for when continuing with the pregnancy would "create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" for the mother.
Related:Oklahoma Woman with Non-Viable Pregnancy Says Hospital Told Her to Sit in the Parking Lot 'Until You Bleed Out'
Suddenly, Chloe's OB-GYN refused to end her pregnancy.
"It was like an immediate no, you can't get an induction to terminate," Chloe told the outlet. "When [my doctor] told me, I couldn't even get any words out ... I just felt so stuck."
She tried to go out of state to a clinic but said her appointment was canceled because of threats to her saftey after sharing her story on social media.
By this time, she was 30 weeks along and was forced to continue carrying her baby, knowing the pregnancy was non-viable.
"I became extremely depressed, more depressed than I already was," Chloe told ABC News. "Knowing that now I have to carry the baby to full-term when that wasn't my plan when I found out what was wrong, I didn't want to leave my bed. I was so emotionally unattached from my daughter, from my relationship, from family, from friends, from everybody. I just wanted to sleep all day."
She said it was heartbreaking to have to answer questions about her pregnancy when she was in public.
"When I go out to the store, anything like that, people see me and they ask innocent questions, like 'Oh, are you having a boy or girl? When are you due?,'" she said. "I get stuck. I answer the questions, but in my head. I'm like, you know, it's a baby that's never gonna live."
Her daughter Laila was born in September 2022. Although she had previously decided that she wouldn't want to hold her baby for fear of becoming too attached, she changed her mind.
"As soon as she came out, I was like, no, I need to be the one that comforts her," she told the outlet. "That was definitely hard because you definitely do get attached, no matter what, no matter how hard you try to tell yourself, I know what's going to happen. I know the outcome."
Laila was unable to breathe correctly, and Chloe was told not to feed her because she could choke. It was clear that Laila would not live long. She was transferred to hospice care.
"She was alive for about 44 hours, which it was definitely hard to watch her just be in pain the whole entire time," Chloe said, adding, "It's like I was trying to keep her from feeling this pain, and she still had to feel it."
In the weeks after giving birth, Chloe suffered from anxiety and depressive disorder as well as postpartum depression.
Looking back, she still feels immense sadness. "It's not fair, and it wasn't fair from the beginning, to her or to me," Chloe said. "If I could have terminated, I would have."
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