Texas is 1 of 12 states that bans abortions after 20 weeks, and one Austin couple recently experienced the harsh realities of what that means.
The Daily Beast reports that expecting parents Taylor and Daniel Mahaffey learned at 20 weeks that a complication meant their son would have no chance of survival — but they couldn’t induce labor because of how far along Taylor was in her pregnancy, and because their son still had a heartbeat. They were forced to wait until the baby died in utero, at which point Taylor had to deliver him.
As Daniel shared in a post on Reddit titled “My nightmare with Texas’ ‘Women’s Health’ Laws,” their child’s feet started pushing through Taylor’s dilating cervix last Wednesday night. Doctors at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin tried stitching her cervix shut to prevent the preterm birth but it didn’t work; the amniotic sac was already outside the uterus.
Daniel wrote that he and Taylor thought “the only humane thing to do at that point would be to pop the sack, and let little Fox come into this world too early to survive outside,” but their empathetic doctors — law, since mom and baby were both technically healthy at that point.— informed them that artificially breaking her water would be considered an illegal abortion per Texas
They were sent home to wait for the baby to die or for her labor to progress. After four days in and out of the hospital — including a trip when Taylor started bleeding but doctors couldn’t intervene — her water broke and she delivered her stillborn son.
A post-20-week abortion ban is part of the extremely overreaching law HB2, parts of which are the subject of a current Supreme Court case. Daniel called the laws “hopelessly inadequate for dealing with the complexities of human reproduction.” And we have to agree.