When Daniel and Taylor Mahaffey learned at 20 weeks that a pregnancy complication meant that their child would not survive, they just wanted the pregnancy to end. But because of a horrific law that has no basis but to torture and shame pregnant women, they were told they needed to leave the hospital, go home, and wait for their baby to die in utero.
That’s right. Taylor Mahaffey was forced to deliver a stillborn baby rather than be induced and end her suffering.
The couple desperately wanted this child. According to The Daily Beast, they had already started decorating the nursery and planned to name the baby Fox, after one of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan. But at 20 weeks pregnant Taylor felt something that didn’t seem right. Since the couple had already experienced a miscarriage, they decided to rush to the hospital to make sure everything was okay. “By the time they got there, Fox’s feet were already pushing through his mother’s cervix,” writes The Daily Beast. “Doctors tried several emergency measures to stop the preterm labor, including putting Taylor on an incline in the hopes that they could perform a cervical cerclage—a procedure in which doctors stitch shut the cervix. Nothing worked. Nothing could save him.”
Daniel Mahaffey wrote about what they endured next in a post on Reddit. “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,” he wrote. “However, thanks to Texas’ frankly inhumane and cruel ‘Women’s Health Laws’, this wasn’t an option. He still had a heart beat, which we were forced to listen to.” Because the fetus had a heartbeat and was 20 weeks along, any attempt to induce labor would be considered a late-term abortion. Even though he had no chance of surviving.
The horror for this couple didn’t stop at being forced to listen to the heartbeat of a baby they’d never get to nurture. Taylor was forced to feel her child struggling inside her and dying for days. “We cried ourselves to sleep every night,” he wrote. “We spent four days in and out of the hospital waiting for nature to take it’s course.”
The couple told the Daily Beast that the staff at the hospital cried with them, but because of Texas law HB2 they could not do anything to induce labor. Mom was considered “healthy,” as was baby. Even though the baby would never survive outside the womb, and wouldn’t survive inside either since the amniotic sac was already protruding outside the cervix. They were still sent home, Daniel worried his wife would hemorrhage. They went back to the hospital when Taylor started bleeding, but since there was a heartbeat, they still couldn’t help her. Speeding labor at this point in the pregnancy would be considered “late-term abortion” — and the law prohibits it.
“Eventually she was just screaming at them to get the child out of her,” Daniel told The Daily Beast. After four days in and out of the hospital, her water broke and she delivered her baby — stillborn.
“Me and my wife are home now. Grieving for our loss. We’ll get through this. My heart breaks, however, for the hundreds, if not thousands of others that will be effected by these godless laws.”
This is what late-term abortion laws do: punish expectant parents. Do you know the percentage of abortions that are “late term” meaning after 20 weeks gestation? Barely one percent. There is absolutely no way the average person would assume this, because anti-choice politicians spend so much time crafting legislation that deals with late-term abortions. The fact that they do is a gross waste of time and money.
Since nearly 90% of abortions happen in the first 12 weeks, long before a fetus has a viable chance of survival outside the womb, what is the actual purpose of this legislation? To perpetuate the myth that women seeking abortions are careless women, willy-nilly making decisions in the eleventh hour. The entire purpose of these bills is to drum up a complete fallacy – that American women are having late-term abortions in droves. We aren’t. They rarely happen. And when they do, they are an overwhelming medical necessity.
What is happening is stories like the one above, and that is horrifying. Not a single couple should have to go through something like that. And the only reason they do is because people are misinformed and supporting legislation that is completely unneeded. After all, an image of a 20 week fetus on an anti-choice poster is more effective than an image of a 7 week one.
There are 120,000 kids in the U.S. foster system waiting to be adopted. Maybe the “pro-life” movement could focus on supporting babies that are outside the womb for once, stop torturing couples in impossible situations, and get educated about what exactly it is they’re fighting for. You can’t say a life is precious and should be guarded at all costs when you don’t give a shit about that life the minute it exits the womb, or about the pain and suffering of couples who ache for healthy babies and are forced to endure this torture because of laws that shouldn’t exist.