Aug 20, 2022 - Health

Louisiana woman denied abortion after fetus diagnosed with fatal condition

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

A Louisiana woman says she was denied an abortion after her fetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition that prevented it from developing a skull, according to a statement from her lawyer Ben Crump.

The big picture: Nancy Davis said her fetus was diagnosed with acrania, which would cause the fetus to be stillborn or to die within the first week of life. But because there was still a heartbeat, she was denied an abortion, according to the statement.

  • Louisiana has "trigger" laws in place that would make nearly all abortions illegal, but a state district judge blocked the ban while the lawsuit filed by one of Louisiana's abortion clinics and others continues.

Why it matters: It's one of the biggest cases since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and shows how the decision has created confusion over when women can be granted exemptions to new state abortion bans.

  • Caroline Isemann, a spokesperson for Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, where Davis received care, said she could not comment specifically on Davis’ case, but noted that there are many complexities involved in such a case, according to CNN.
  • “Even if a specific diagnosis falls under medically futile exceptions provided by (the Louisiana Department of Health), the laws addressing treatment methods are much more complex and seemingly contradictory," she added.
  • State Sen. Katrina Jackson, who wrote the state's abortion law, said that Davis should have been allowed an abortion based on a list of 25 exclusive exceptions from the Louisiana Department of Health.

What they're saying: "Ms. Nancy Davis was put in a horrifically cruel position by the State of Louisiana, left with only two choices: To carry the fetus until its inevitable death or to travel to another state to end the pregnancy weeks after she made the incredibly painful decision to do so," Crump said.

  • “Regardless of what Louisiana lawmakers claim, the law is having its intended effect, causing doctors to refuse to perform abortions even when they are medically necessary out of fear of losing their medical licenses or facing criminal charges,” said Crump of the situation.
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