Heidi (late 1980’s) – USA
Miscarrying woman nearly bleeds to death after being refused abortion at Catholic hospital
In the late 1980s in Detroit, Democratic Senator Gary Peters and his then wife, Heidi, were pregnant with their second child, a baby they very much wanted. Heidi was four months along when her water broke, leaving the fetus without amniotic fluid—a condition it could not possibly survive. The doctor told the Peters to go home and wait for a miscarriage to happen naturally.
But it didn’t happen. They went back to the hospital the next day, and the doctor detected a faint heartbeat. He recommended an abortion, because the fetus still had no chance of survival, but it wasn’t an option due to a hospital policy banning the procedure. So he sent the couple again home to wait for a miscarriage. As they waited, Heidi’s health deteriorated. When she returned to the hospital on the third day, the doctor told her the situation was dire. She could lose her uterus in a matter of hours if she wasn’t able to have an abortion, and if she became septic from the uterine infection, she could die.
The doctor appealed to the hospital’s board for an exception to their anti-abortion policy and was denied. “I still vividly remember he left a message on the answering machine saying, ‘They refused to give me permission, not based on good medical practice, simply based on politics. I recommend you immediately find another physician who can do this procedure quickly’,” Peters recalls.
The Peters were able to get into another hospital right away because they were friends with its chief administrator. Heidi was rushed into an emergency abortion that saved her uterus and possibly her life. The whole experience was “painful and traumatic,” Heidi shared in a statement. “If it weren’t for urgent and critical medical care, I could have lost my life.”
Source: Senator Gary Peters Shares His Abortion Story. By Laura Bassett. Oct 12, 2020.