Feb 13, 2024 - News

Two Latinas tell their stories

Side-by-side photos of two women speaking at a podium.

Ashley Brandt (left) and Samantha Casiano. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images; Courtesy of the Center for Reproductive Rights

Samantha Casiano, an East Texas mother of four who is also raising her goddaughter, was excited to learn she was pregnant in 2022.

  • But she was devastated when she found out 20 weeks into her pregnancy that her daughter had anencephaly, a fatal condition in which her baby would be born without parts of her brain.
  • Casiano was told she'd nevertheless have to carry the baby to term, and she couldn't afford to travel out of state for an abortion.
  • In April, Casiano gave birth and named her Halo. She recalls Halo gasping for air for four hours before dying.

Although Casiano was worried about the backlash — some relatives no longer speak to her — Casiano tells Axios Latino she felt she needed to tell her story.

  • "When I met my daughter, I just knew I had to do whatever I could do to make sure that no other babies had to go through that ever, ever again — or any mothers at that — because it was hard. Very, very hard."

Ashley Brandt had to leave Texas for an abortion after one of her twins was diagnosed with a deadly condition that threatened the other twin's life.

  • After telling friends and family about her situation, she was surprised to learn how many had faced similar situations.
  • While she was concerned about how the publicity would affect her toddler son and the twin who survived, she felt she had to speak out.

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