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Please, if anyone is still reading this, check out this diary And Then He Died by gratis4 about being denied the choice to end her pregnancy. Thanks.

Another "victory" for anti-choice zealots:

Danielle Deaver was about 22 weeks into her pregnancy when doctors told her she wouldn't be able to carry to term and her child would die soon after birth. Then to her surprise, she learned doctors couldn't end her non-viable pregnancy because of a new Nebraska law barring late-term abortions.

"It wasn't an abortion," Deaver said in an interview Sunday. "We wanted this baby."

The law bans abortions after 20 weeks based on the disputed notion that fetuses can feel pain after that point. It prevented doctors from medically inducing Deaver to go into labor, and they told her she would have to go into labor naturally.

Ten days later, on Dec. 8, she gave birth to a baby girl named Elizabeth who died in her mother's arms after 15 minutes.

As usual, "pro-lifers" responded in their offhand, sanctimonious, callous fashion:
Nebraska Right to Life executive director Julie Schmit-Albin said Sunday that the law is meant to protect all unborn babies. Her group pushed for the law last year in the state Legislature.

"We acknowledge the tragedy that occurs with a poor prenatal diagnosis for the baby. But isn't it more humane for the baby to die in a loving manner with comfort care and in the arms of her parents than by the intentional painful death through abortion?" she said.

The measure was introduced by Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, who didn't immediately respond to a phone message or e-mail seeking comment.

Flood told the Des Moines Register that he believed the law worked as intended.

"Even in these situations where the baby has a terminal condition or there's not much chance of surviving outside the womb, my point has been and remains that is still a life," he said.

Wouldn't it be most humane to let this obviously heartbroken woman make the decision on how to end her pregnancy?  But no, that dignity isn't allowed the 34 year old Daniell Deaver because some people can't keep their hands off her womb.  That dignity wasn't allowed her daughter, Elizabeth, who instead had to suffer 15 minutes, gasping for air.  Never mind that "the Deavers’ sought an abortion because of concern that the infant would suffer while it died, trying to breathe".  Just imagine if you will, having to hold a dying baby for 15 minutes because you were denied the choice of ending your pregnancy with dignity, all so the anti-choice zealots could declare another "victory".  To hear her tell her heart wrenching story, and cry worrying bout the minutes her baby would gasp for breath, watch the video at this link.

But "pro-lifers" aren't interested in hearing Deaver's story, this is as their law intended.  They don't care about her pain, her decisions, her dignity.  They care only about imposing their agenda on the rest of us.  Of course they're not content to just forcing Nebraska women to give birth, Iowan Republicans are hoping to pass similar legislation in Iowa.  Deaver is bravely speaking out, hoping that other women won't have to go throw what she did:

"I get so frustrated. I just think if they (lawmakers) thought about their daughter, their sister, their mother, their wife being in this situation, they would never want them to go through that," Danielle Deaver said.

Since this diary is short, I thought I'd add this from a previous diary of mine for those of you interested:

"Get an abortion or leave"

That's the stark choice many pregnant teenagers are faced with.  Here's one such heartbreaking story from Project Voice, where women anonymously share their stories on abortion:

I finally worked up the courage to tell my mom when I was around 13 weeks. All she could say was "get an abortion or leave." I was devastated. I had no idea what to do. I wanted a baby soooooooooo bad. I told myself 100 times that I could never live with an abortion. I laid my hand on my belly time after time and told my child that everything would be okay, I would protect it.

I lied.

I told my mom that I wouldn't get an abortion and she kicked me out immediately. After one week of staying with my boyfriend and his family, I realized that I needed to go home. I missed my parents and my three little sisters that I was no longer allowed to see or talk to. I called my mom and told her that I would get the abortion if she would let me come home. (That was the single worst decision I've ever made.) My boyfriend was devastated but he understood and supported me anyways.

I had my surgery a week later, on March 12.

Ever since, I've been completely depressed. I can't stand what I did. It goes against everything I've ever believed. I've come so close to suicide on more that one occasion and even to this day, I barely sleep, and when I do it's because I cried myself to sleep.

She was just 15.  

Here's another:

My mother took it worse than I had expected. I told her I wanted to keep it and that I would do everything I could for the child and for my future and that I knew it would be hard, but I could do it. She told me to stay with my sister and told my father that night. When I got home, my parents told me that if I wanted to keep it I would have to move out because they couldn't help me. When I told them that I was for sure going to keep it they threatened to put my boyfriend in jail (him being 19 and me a month away from 17) if I did not have an abortion. With that I had no help and I would not be able to raise my child correctly.

And another:

When I was fifteen, I got into an abusive relationship with an older man. He ended up forcing me to do things I did not want to do. He did not use condoms. Within two months of the start of the rapes, I was pregnant.

I basically had no choice about whether or not I got the abortion. I would have chosen to get one anyway, but he made it clear that abortion was the only choice for me. On the appointed day, he took me to a neighboring state (one without parental notification laws). I had to opt for an only partially anesthetized abortion because I didn't have enough cash for the full deal.

There are dozens of heartbreaking stories just like theirs, and not one treats it casually, as the anti-choice zealot denouncing "on demand" abortion would have you believe.  As disturbing as many of the stories are, just imagine, if you will, what their story would be like without legal access to a safe abortion?  Shunned by their family, unable to earn a living, attend school, and raise a child, and too often in the throws of an abusive and manipulative relationship.  Of course that's how some on the Right would like it, sanctimoniously condemning "loose girls" while the man goes unpunished.  Unfortunately, one doesn't have to have much of an imagination to know what reducing access to safe abortions does, it's happening all the time and will happen more and more often thanks to Republicans and their anti-choice agenda.  In Kentucky, 1978, Maria Elaine Pitchford was denied an abortion because she was more than 20 weeks pregnant:
Two days later, she was admitted to Bowling Green-Warren County Hospital, suffering from a 101 degree fever and continued passage of amniotic fluid.  While in the hospital, she gave birth to a stillborn child.  Dr. Roy Slezak, the physician who treated her, said that, along with the fetus, he found a six-inch long plastic knitting needle.
As if that weren't enough, she now faced 10 years in prison for committing an illegal abortion.  As usual, the result of restrictive access to abortion is always to punish the victim.  Abortions, even when legal, aren't free and in Virginia, 2006:
Tammy Skinner was a poor, desperate 22-year-old with two young children and another one on the way.

She said her boyfriend wouldn't pay for an abortion, so she carried her pregnancy to term.

Then she did the unthinkable.

Prosecutors say that on the morning she was scheduled to give birth, Skinner drove to an auto dealer's parking lot, took a gun, and shot herself in the belly, killing the fetus in an act of self-abortion. Skinner was charged with carrying out an illegal abortion.

Again to the Right it's not enough that this woman shot herself simply because she couldn't afford an abortion, she must be prosecuted too.  Fortunately the charges were dropped, unfortunately Virignia recently passed a law that will effectively close 17 of its 21 abortion providers.  So we can look forward to more stories like Skinner, Pitchford, and this from Utah in 2009:
Prosecutors said a 17-year-old Uintah County girl paid Harrison $150 to beat her after her boyfriend threatened a breakup if she didn't get rid of the child.

Harrison brought the girl, who was seven months pregnant, to his home in May. He then attacked her, leaving bruises on her stomach and a bite mark on her neck, court records said. The baby survived and was born in August.

And these are stories after Roe v. Wade, just imagine if Republicans ever achieve their much sought victory of overturning it, we'll be forced to return to this:

(I warn you this is very disturbing, but all the more important)

I desperately asked around and was finally given the name of a man who did abortions in his basement late at night. I had to empty my savings of the $500 it contained and wait a week and a half because he was so busy. Finally, at 3:00 in the morning on the day the abortion was scheduled for, I snuck out of the house and hurried the 3 blocks to where he lived.

He demanded the money immediately when he answered the door, then led me to his dark, musty basement. A old, rickety wooden table dominated the small room, and a cart on wheels with various items on it was sitting next to a stool at the end of the table. The man ordered me to take off every stitch of clothing I had on, which I did, slowly and shakily. When I was completely nude and shivering from the cold, he instructed me to lie down on the table. As I did I heard the unmistakable sound of a zipper. Before I could process what was going on, the man was suddenly above me, forcing my legs apart, and penetrating me with his penis. I wanted to scream out for him to stop, but something told me that if I wanted the abortion done I had to lay still and let him do what he wanted. It was the longest and most painful 15 minutes of my life--up until that point, anyway.

When he was finished, he sat on the stool at the edge of the table and told me to slide down as far to the end of the table as possible, with my knees bent in the air and my feet flat on the edge. When I was in the awkward position, he pushed my legs apart, and my entire body turned red, embarrassed at the exposure even in the dim light of the basement. The man placed a flashlight between my legs, partially illuminating my vaginal area.

From there the man rudely separated my vaginal lips and inserted a pair of tongs, like those used in cooking and grilling, into my vagina. The were cold and hard, and there was an incredible amount of pain and pressure as he opened them inside of me, using something--I never found out what--to lock them into place when I had been stretched at least 2 inches open. Next came a thin pencil, which the man shoved into my cervix to begin dilating it. Other pens and pencils of increasing width were forced through my cervix, each of them causing me to wince in pain. When the man was satisfied that I was open enough, he inserted a coat hanger, the triangular part bent into a straight line, through my cervix and into my uterus. I moaned with pain as he began jabbing it around, hitting my uterine wall I don't know how many times before he finally pierced the fetal sac.

The pain from that was like nothing I had ever felt before. An immense wave of cramping began as fluid began rushing out of my uterus and into my vagina. I stopped even trying to control my sounds of pain as the man removed the coat hanger and inserted a long, narrow, hollow tube into me. The tube was connected to a hand-operated pump of some kind, and the man moved the tube inside of my uterus while manually beginning to suction out my pregnancy. I felt like I was being torn apart deep inside, and I couldn't stop moving or groaning in pain. When the sucking sound finally stopped and the man removed the tube, he roughly shoved my closing knees apart and yelled at me to hold still or it was going to hurt more. He added that he bet I hadn't complained like that while I was getting pregnant. I have never felt so humiliated before or since then.

Finally, the last step of the abortion began. The man put a knife into my vagina and inserted it up into my uterus, scraping out all of the remaining tissue that the suction hadn't been able to get. The pain was so intense I couldn't even scream. It lasted for what felt like an eternity, but suddenly it stopped, and I felt the tongs being pulled out of my vagina roughly--the man hadn't bothered to close them first. It was the worse experience of my entire life, but it had served its purpose; I wasn't pregnant anymore. I passed missed bits of material out of my vagina for a week afterwards, and was sore for several weeks. I have never forgotten the experience

And the days when entire hospital wards were full of women who were dying because they either self-induced an abortion or sought the services of "doctors" like Caroline.  As one gynecologist recalls:
When such fears arise, we often hear about the pre-Roe “bad old days.” Yet there are few physicians today who can relate to them from personal experience. I can.

There I saw and treated almost every complication of illegal abortion that one could conjure, done either by the patient herself or by an abortionist — often unknowing, unskilled and probably uncaring. Yet the patient never told us who did the work, or where and under what conditions it was performed. She was in dire need of our help to complete the process or, as frequently was the case, to correct what damage might have been done.

The patient also did not explain why she had attempted the abortion, and we did not ask. This was a decision she made for herself, and the reasons were hers alone. Yet this much was clear: The woman had put herself at total risk, and literally did not know whether she would live or die.

This, too, was clear: Her desperate need to terminate a pregnancy was the driving force behind the selection of any method available.

The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous “coat hanger” — which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in — perhaps the patient herself — found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it.

However, not simply coat hangers were used.

Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion — darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

This is what the right wing would return us to.  This is where their delusions of "pro-life" would lead us...let's make sure it doesn't.

Originally posted to Watership Down on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 02:02 PM PST.

Also republished by Pro Choice and Abortion.

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