Hillary Clinton laments Idaho abortion ban, highlights story of baby aborted for disability
Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton condemned pro-life laws in states like Idaho that prevent abortions for fetal abnormalities, highlighting the story of a mother whose baby was diagnosed with Turner syndrome in-utero.
Dr. Chris Cirucci, vice chair of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, acknowledged in a Monday statement to The Christian Post that many babies with Turner syndrome are so severely affected they die spontaneously in the first trimester. Regarding the situation in Idaho, the baby in question had hydrops fetalis, an excessive accumulation of fluid, which the doctor noted is a condition most babies do not survive.
"Perinatal hospice is always an option if a baby has a terminal condition," Cirucci wrote. "It allows the parents to spend precious time with their child and provides an opportunity for compassion and grieving."
"It is unclear why abortion was considered necessary in this situation. If the mother’s life was in danger, then the state law would allow this exception," the doctor continued.
However, Clinton asserted that abortion was necessary in this woman's case.
“An Idaho mother faced two options: Continue a pregnancy likely to end in miscarriage or stillbirth, with risks to her own health, or travel out of state for an abortion,” the former Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of state tweeted last week. “These stories are playing out all over the country.”
Clinton, who ran for president in 2016, made upholding abortion access one of her campaign promises. On her former campaign website, Clinton boasted that she was “proud” to have been endorsed by the advocacy group for the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
In her tweet, the former first lady and wife of former President Bill Clinton included a link to a story published by The Idaho Capital Sun earlier this month, describing how a mother named Jennifer Adkins sought an abortion after receiving a diagnosis at 12 weeks into her pregnancy that her baby had Turner syndrome. This was Adkins’ second pregnancy, as she had already given birth once before to a son.
Adkins had seen a doctor on April 21 for a routine screening by ultrasound to measure the collection of fluid behind the baby’s neck, which is when she learned about the diagnosis.
According to Mayo Clinic, Turner syndrome is a condition found only in girls that occurs when one of the X chromosomes is missing completely or partially. According to Carrying To Term, a resource for parents facing an adverse prenatal diagnosis, the condition ends in miscarriage 98% to 99% of the time, but it is not always fatal. Children living with Turner syndrome might have a learning disability or a variety of physical issues, such as stunted growth.
“The doctor said basically, lightning struck this pregnancy, there’s nothing you can do,” Adkins said. “This just happens in 1 percent of all pregnancies.”
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wadelast June, several states have completely or nearly outlawed abortion. Adkins lives in Idaho, which bans almost all abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or if the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.
She opted to have an abortion out-of-state because she did not believe giving birth would result in a “happy, healthy baby,” and she worried about her risk of mirror syndrome, a condition where the pregnant woman experiences the same symptoms as the unborn child.
Mirror syndrome can sometimes lead to pre-eclampsia. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medicine, immediate delivery is the recommended treatment for women with pre-eclampsia.
Adkins and her husband traveled to Oregon for the abortion, with the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and Cascade Abortion Support Collective purportedly helping to fund the trip. These abortion advocacy groups claim to raise money to help women pay for abortions and travel expenses for the abortion.
Similar organizations operating in other states previously interviewed by CP and claim to pay for women's abortions said they only offer pregnant women seeking a first or second-trimester abortion $50 or maybe $75 toward the cost of an abortion if they pass the application process, which takes time and claims are frequently denied. Such groups have asked women who are unemployed to prove they've sold their belongings to help pay for their abortion before they can receive little financial assistance, despite claims in the media that they will cover the entire cost of an abortion.
According to the mother, she did not see the purpose in bringing a child into a world that is unlikely to survive or would have “severe complications.” She explained that women who have abortions are not “horrible, horrible people and murderers” and that the child she aborted was one that she and her husband “loved with all of [their] heart and soul.”
“And because we are loving parents, we are choosing this route, not only to be loving parents to that baby, but also to our living son, because I have to think about what’s in my best interest so that I can still be here and be healthy enough to take care of my son who needs me,” Adkins said.
In response to Clinton's tweet, Mollie Hemingway, editor-in-chief of The Federalist, shared a link to an article written by Caitlin Bawn, an adult woman with Turner syndrome. Bawn expressed fear in the article that doctors are scaring parents into choosing abortion for cases like hers, noting that people with Turner syndrome "can be happy, intelligent, and highly successful.”
A woman named Rachel, who faced a similar diagnosis in 2016, shared her story on Carrying To Term about how she learned at 15 weeks that her daughter likely had Turner syndrome. At 20 weeks, an echocardiogram and an ultrasound revealed that her child also had a variety of other complications.
“The hospital doctor who came in after our test results changed the game,” Rachel wrote. “He suggested that we terminate the pregnancy as her chances of survival were minimal.”
The mother recalled how the doctor proceeded to explain how the abortion procedure would work, concluding with, “best of luck to you next time. At least you know you can get pregnant.” Rachel and her partner instead began working with the doctors and nurses at their obstetrician’s office to carry the pregnancy to term.
A few weeks later, the doctors worried that Rachel might be at risk for mirror syndrome, the same condition Adkins feared she would experience if she continued the pregnancy. Rachel remembered how the doctors started monitoring her almost every day, and when she was unable to visit, she took her blood pressure at home.
“If it came to a point of life and death for me, we knew that inducing labor early was an option,” she said.
Rachel’s daughter, Jolie, made it further into the pregnancy than many doctors had predicted. Jolie’s parents loved her each day of her life in the womb, providing her with belly rubs and prayers. After the baby made it beyond the first trimester, Rachel wondered if her daughter would be born alive.
However, even if Jolie did not survive, Rachel asserted that her daughter’s “little life” would still have an impact, and indeed it did, according to the mother.
“She changed my life,” Rachel said of her daughter. “She changed the lives of our families and countless friends, too.”
Jolie’s heart “gave up” at 25 weeks, and Rachel remembered delivering her “peacefully” before holding her child and crying for her. Despite how her pregnancy ended, Rachel stated that her daughter was “very much alive” while inside her womb.”
“I felt her kicks. I could see her growing and changing with each ultrasound,” she wrote. “I held her body after she was delivered. She existed. She matters. She changed our lives. Human life like hers deserves protection and dignity, and that is what we gave her. We call her our sunshine girl.”
Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman