Planned Parenthood

It's time they heard the truth

Right now, anti-choice lawmakers across the country — including Arizona, Georgia, and New Hampshire — are rushing to pass laws banning abortions at 20 weeks, before many women receive important information about their own health and the health of their pregnancy. These lawmakers don't know how incredibly cruel it is to strip women of the ability to make their own very private medical decisions. They don't know, or they just don't care.

Danielle Deaver thinks it's time they heard the truth. Danielle lives in Nebraska where a similar law was passed in 2010. She's written a letter to governors and legislators nationwide to ask them to stop these bills. In her letter, she describes the unbelievable anguish that she and countless other women have suffered as a result of these bans. Read her story below — then add your name to her letter and spread the word.


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Stop Arizona HB 2036, Georgia HB 954, and New Hampshire HB 1660

Dear Governors and Legislators,

My state was the first of a handful of states to enact a so-called "20 week abortion ban." I am from Grand Island, Nebraska, where I live with my husband Robb and our beautiful son.

Because lawmakers in my home state of Nebraska passed a sweeping abortion ban similar to legislation poised to pass in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, and beyond, my family's personal loss a year and a half ago became a nightmare. You cannot imagine what we went through.

I implore you to read my story.

In August 2010, I was overjoyed to discover I was pregnant. My husband and I still wanted nothing more than to give my son a brother or sister. For weeks, my pregnancy was proceeding normally. But then 22 weeks into my pregnancy, it went terribly wrong.

On Saturday, November 27, my water broke and there was not enough amniotic fluid for my daughter to survive. This was heartbreaking. If there was anything we could have done to save her, we would have.

What happened next should have remained a very private decision between me and my family and my doctors. As the result of a law similar to a bill considered by your state's legislature, a decision that should have remained mine and my husband's at a very difficult time was decided for us -- and it was decided by politicians we'd never met.

My husband and I agonized over the decision about what was best for our family. After much careful thought, prayer, research and medical advice, my husband and I made the difficult decision that we wanted to induce labor and deliver my daughter as soon as possible.

We wanted to honor our daughter. We wanted to hold her and say goodbye. We wanted to preserve my health.

We should have been able to handle this with dignity with our doctor. The very best medical care should have been available to me. But as I said, Nebraska law interfered.

Even though I wasn't looking for an abortion, my doctor and his legal counsel felt their hands were tied. "If I could help you, I would," he said, looking me in my tear-filled eyes. "But I would go to jail."

The law, as you know, is black and white. Unfortunately, life just isn't. Though an infection was growing inside me, under the law I wasn't sick enough to warrant the induction my husband and I wanted.

Some have suggested my husband and I should have traveled to another state, but we didn't want to leave my doctor's care. And we didn't want to drive home with my daughter in a box.

So we waited. For days.

While we waited, we tried to pray, but we didn't know what to pray for. So we spent our days and nights telling our daughter how much we loved her, how sorry we were, and how we wished we could do something different.

Then on Wednesday, December 8, my daughter was born. My husband and I held Elizabeth as she gasped for air, and mere minutes later she was gone.

There are no words for how awful the 10 days were from the moment my water broke to the day my daughter died. There are no words for the heartbreak that cut deeper every time she moved inside of me for those 10 days.

There are no words for the anger I felt when I learned after Elizabeth was born that my infection could have been analyzed, had my doctor been able to get to it sooner. With more information about what caused the problem, we might be able to have a subsequent healthy pregnancy and birth. But 10 days later, the infection was just too severe.

Women and doctors are faced with difficult and complicated pregnancies every day. But the political groups and politicians behind House Bills 2036, 954, and 1660 paint with a broad brush. Even when they concede to health exceptions in the law, women facing a range of pregnancy complications are prevented from necessary medical care. It happened to me. When asked about my circumstances, the author of Nebraska's law said it worked as intended.

This is not about politics, it's about leaving the practice of medicine up to doctors and most importantly, it's about trusting women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. It's what Arizona and Georgia women deserve.

That my pregnancy ended, that choice was made by God. How to handle the end of my pregnancy, that should have been private.

Please right the wrong that Nebraska did to me and stop Arizona House Bill 2036, Georgia House Bill 954, and New Hampshire House Bill 1660. I want my daughter's life -- and the tragic circumstances surrounding her death -- to stand for something.

Thank you,
Danielle Deaver

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