Nebraska Couple Watches Their Baby Die Because of New Law

Posted on March 7, 2012

Yahoo News, March 7, 2012

Nebraska mother Danielle Deaver, held her brand new, premature baby daughterlast December. She watched her struggle to breathe for 15 short minutes, and then die in her arms.

Deaver’s water broke late in November, just past 20 weeks’ gestation. When she went to the hospital, doctors told her that it was unlikely that her baby would survive, no matter what they did. There was no therapy that would help a baby that young. The doctors explained that the lack of fluid would cause muscle tissues to shorten, affecting the baby’s developing lungs. They would likely never develop beyond the 22-week point, and the baby would not be able to breathe.

After a long talk, the Deavers decided that they would like to terminate the pregnancy, rather than waiting for their daughter to be born naturally and suffer. However, in October, Nebraska recently enacted a new, stricter law that prevents abortions after the 20th week of gestation except in very specific situations where the mother’s life is immediately in danger. Deaver’s situation was outside the law, and there was nothing doctors could do to help her.

The Deavers were sent home to wait. Eight days later, contractions started, and Deaver delivered a beautiful, 1 lb. 10 oz. little girl named Elizabeth. She was physically perfect, but born too early to survive, even with medical help. And so they held her and waited.

Today the Deavers are speaking out. Although the law can protect babies, it also can hurt women who are in unique situations like Deaver’s. She believes that no family should have to go through what they went through. The new law is based on research that shows that babies past 20 weeks’ gestation can feel pain because their nerves are developed enough. But Deaver thinks that it doesn’t take into account unusual and heart-wrenching situations like her own.

Posted in: Nebraska