One mom's message about the real-life consequences of the Roe v. Wade decision is going viral, and now that mom is sharing her story with TODAY Parents.
Chloe, an Arizona mom who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her privacy, said she found out her pregnancy was "incompatible with life" after a 21-week anatomy scan.
At first, she said, her OB-GYN planned to induce her so she could deliver. After the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that reversed Roe, she said she learned she no longer had that option.
Chloe said the baby is having what feels like seizures inside her. She said she believes the baby is suffering and she just wants to treat her daughter’s birth and death with love.
Now the 21-year-old doesn't know what to do.
“I really can only describe it as feeling trapped,” she said.“Not being able to choose what to do in regards to me and her, I just feel trapped and it’s not fair to me or for anybody that’s going through something like this.”
I love being a mom.
arizona mom chloe
Chloe shared her story on social media originally to update her family, and she noticed many people in the comments were surprised she couldn’t get an abortion.
“People in my life are saying, ‘This should be an exception.’ ‘I never thought about it this way.’ ‘I didn’t know how it could affect people in a situation like yours,’” she said. So she thought she would speak out to let people know that yes, the ruling does affect a situation like hers.
“That’s a good start to having people understand what the overturn really does.”
A nonviable pregnancy, and hard choices
Chloe and her fiancé are parents to an 11-month old baby girl and when she learned she was pregnant again, she felt both happy and a bit anxious.
“My daughter was 5 months old so I was really nervous, but I was also very excited because I love being a mom,” she said. “I was very excited to have another baby.”
When she went to her anatomy scan at 21 weeks, she said the doctor saw "red flags" and referred her to a specialist. It took about two weeks for her to get an appointment, and when she did she learned some upsetting news.
“They found out there that my baby was not coping properly and that her conditions were incompatible (with life),” Chloe recalled. “My OB-GYN basically gave me the options of going out of state to get ... an abortion, inducing in the hospital there or staying pregnant until she’s either passing away inside of me or go full term.”
Around the same time, the fetus began having seizure-like movements that Chloe could feel. She said she only wants to do what's best for her unborn child.
“I want the more intimate moment of giving birth and having her pass away naturally,” she said. “I wanted to end her suffering in a peaceful way, and I wanted to spend some moments with her and be able to love on her.”
She said her doctor was going to plan the induction in June but she didn’t hear back for a week. He needed to have it approved by the hospital board, she said. With an induction in a nonviable pregnancy like this, the doctor stops the fetal heart and then birth is induced to deliver the fetus.
As Chloe's surgery was being scheduled, the Supreme Court announced its decision overturning Roe and leaving abortion rights up to individual states.
“My doctor called me and he was like, ‘I’m so sorry we can’t induce you’ and he basically told me that at the time my only options were to stay pregnant,” she said.
Arizona ban on abortion
The current status of abortion law in Arizona is unclear, even to legal experts. A law passed before Arizona was a state completely bans abortions and makes it a felony for providers to perform them, explained Jennifer Piatt, a research scholar at the Center for Public Health and Law and Policy at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.
“We had a pre-Roe ban on the books,” she told TODAY Parents.
The Arizona Court of Appeals blocked that law after Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, Piatt said. She noted that the state attorney general has tweeted that he plans to ask the court of appeals to “lift that injunction" so the abortion ban can be enforced.” Since Roe, legislators have passed other laws that restrict abortion in the state.
“We have a law that was passed in March of this year that bans abortions at 15 weeks,” Piatt said. Another law bans abortions at the point of viability, usually around 24 weeks. “There’s going to certainly be some litigation to determine whether those more recent laws that do actually allow abortion up to some point take precedent over that incredibly old pre-statehood law.”
The “conflicting provisions” in the state leads to an environment where people worry about offering abortions, Piatt said.
“There’s going to be a chilling effect on providers willing to provide care because of the fear that their actions will face prosecution,” Piatt said.
This leaves Chloe with few options. She is 26 weeks pregnant. Chloe said she's sad that she can’t deliver her baby with her doctor, who she said is “the best doctor I ever had,” but she said she understands why he can’t help her. She said she's frustrated that she’s not allowed to do what seems best to her as a mother.
“Moms, we ought to do the right things for our kids and I don’t think anybody wants their kids, their baby, to be suffering,” she said.
She’s showing and now people talk to her about the baby, she said, making for uncomfortable conversations.
“When I go out in public, people see my stomach, they see that I have a bump, asking me questions about my pregnancy, like ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ or ‘How far along are you?’” Chloe said. “I don’t even know what to say.”
Knowing that their second baby will not survive has also been difficult for her fiancé.
“It’s been pretty hard for him just because he’s such a good dad,” Chloe said. “When our daughter was first born he was terrified to hold her, like if it was going to hurt her, and he was still learning. I know he was excited this time around to be able to hold her for the first time and feel nothing but love and happiness.”
Limited options for an abortion
Chloe might travel to another state to undergo an abortion, something that could cost her about $20,000, she said. She started a GoFundMe to help cover the costs.
“I’m planning on bringing my baby daughter with me just because I can’t do a day without her,” she said.
Chloe said in her original social media post that she has seen people celebrating Roe’s overturn and she doesn't understand why.
“I don’t believe we should be celebrating taking away health care for anybody for any reason,” she said. "It doesn’t just affect the person who wants to get an abortion for whatever reason. It affects a lot of people and I just don’t understand how that is something to celebrate.”