Chelsea (2018) – USA
Woman with serious health risks and lethal fetal abnormality denied abortion at hospital because she wasn’t sick enough
In December 2018, Chelsea was about 15 weeks into a planned pregnancy when a specialist at University of Cincinnati Medical Center told her that her fetus had triploidy, a condition where three sets of chromosomes develop in each cell instead of two. Babies with triploidy are stillborn or die shortly after birth. The news devastated Chelsea, who had suffered a miscarriage months earlier. The condition also put her at higher risk for choriocarcinoma, a fast-growing cancer, and preeclampsia, a potentially deadly pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. Chelsea’s blood pressure had already been unusually high. Then the doctor delivered the final blow: Affiliated with a public university, the hospital would end her pregnancy only once Chelsea was too sick to continue it.
“My head was spinning because of the information that I was being given, but I just felt like I was on an alien planet,” Chelsea told Rewire.News. “There was no question in my mind: I’m not going to risk my organ function to carry a non-viable pregnancy to term.” The “best-case scenario [was] the baby would be stillborn, or the baby would suffocate to death, which to me was not something that I was willing to put my child through,” she said.
Chelsea wrote a letter to a state legislator who was trying to ban the particular abortion method that she needed. “I cannot have a dilation & curettage (D&C) in a hospital like I did with my last loss, as this baby has a heartbeat,” Chelsea wrote. “Instead I have to go to an abortion clinic with doctors and staff that I do not know. I have to go in with protesters screaming at me on the worst day of my life. I am praying for a miscarriage. I never thought I would say that after experiencing one before. But I thank God termination is an option for people like me.”
Fortunately, Chelsea was healthy enough to get her abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic, but she needed three visits to comply with Ohio’s 24-hour waiting period: One for counseling and an ultrasound, one to sign a consent form after the doctor who would perform her procedure had signed it, and a third for the abortion. She was also forced by law to read a packet about how she could instead parent her child—something she desperately wanted to do—or put her baby up for adoption. Each barrier felt like another blow. “It just feels like death by a thousand cuts,” Chelsea said. “I kept saying, stick the knife in and keep twisting it, because it just made a bad situation horrific.”
Source: Rewire.news, ‘Not Dead Enough’: Public Hospitals Deny Life-Saving Abortion Care to People in Need, Mar 7, 2019, by Amy Littlefield