Mindy (2009) – USA

Illinois Woman Denied Emergency Abortion at Two Hospitals that Adhere to Catholic Directives

Mindy Swank and her husband were looking forward to the birth of a much-wanted second child. At 17 weeks, hydrocephaly was discovered, but they still wanted to continue and provide their baby with the best medical care. However, Mindy’s water broke prematurely at 20 weeks and they learned through testing that the fetus would not survive. Waiting for a natural miscarriage would put her at risk of infection and hemorrhaging, but the Catholic hospital in Illinois where Mindy had received the genetic testing would not perform an abortion while there was still a fetal heartbeat.

For nearly two weeks, Mindy struggled with the emotional strain of continuing a doomed pregnancy. She woke up bleeding one morning, rushed to her local hospital with her husband to complete the miscarriage, but that hospital refused to induce labor, saying she wasn’t sick enough for them to end her pregnancy, but to come back if she was bleeding more or had a fever. Mindy returned five times over the next five weeks, bleeding and in discomfort, but was repeatedly turned away. The entire time, Mindy was unaware that this secular hospital also adhered to Catholic Directives. They never told her about other options or where she could go for an abortion. Finally, when she was 27 weeks pregnant and severely hemorrhaging, they induced labor. The baby died shortly after delivery.

American Civil Liberties Union. Health Care Denied: Patients and Physicians Speak Out About Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Women’s Health and Lives. May 2016.
The State Journal-Register. Mindy Swank: SB 1564 is reasonable compromise between patients’ rights, providers’ faith.  July 26, 2016.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Extended Interview: Mindy Swank. 7:11 minutes. Oct 27, 2016.

CHOICE/LESS – Mindy Swank: How Could You Treat Women So Poorly in the Name of God? – Podcast with Mindy, 16 minutes.