Florida woman traumatized after being forced to carry out doomed pregnancy

(CNN)- Deborah Dorbert of Florida says she is still traumatized after being forced to carry out a doomed, high-risk pregnancy. She blames the state’s abortion ban for not allowing her to terminate the pregnancy.

Last fall, Deborah and Lee Dorbert were excited to be giving their son, Kaiden, a sibling. However, during an ultrasound when Deborah was 24-weeks pregnant, doctors had terrible news. The baby had a rare condition called Potter Syndrome and had no kidneys and little to no amniotic fluid. The doctor said the baby was sure to be stillborn or quickly die, and Deborah was at an increased risk of a potentially deadly pregnancy complication.

In many states, doctors offer to terminate such doomed pregnancies, but their doctor said that wasn’t possible in Florida because of a law passed last year that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks. The law has an exception in cases of a “fatal fetal abnormality” that “is incompatible with life outside the womb.”

The Dorberts had two choices: leave Florida for a termination elsewhere or take the pregnancy to full term. Even though it’s legal to leave Florida to get an abortion, the Dorberts said they were scared they’d get arrested. So Deborah stayed pregnant.

Deborah’s mental health suffered, and as Kaiden grew more and more attached to his little sibling, her depression and anxiety worsened. The baby, a boy they named Milo, was born in March, and as the doctors predicted, his life was short. He gasped for breath and died in about an hour and a half.

Deborah doesn’t want to get pregnant again, saying, “I couldn’t go through another trauma like this with pregnancy.”

Florida Representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka, a sponsor of the Florida abortion law, sent CNN a statement, saying they are “providing mothers with the resources they need to raise healthy children, empowering doctors to help their patients make informed decisions, and shifting the conversation to valuing life.”

However, Deborah says Florida law forever damaged her family because she spent 13 weeks carrying a baby who was sure to die.

Dr. Stephanie Ros, a spokesperson for the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, says she understands why Deborah’s doctor wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy. Doctors found in violation of the law can face heavy fines and even prison terms.

Deborah’s story sheds light on the impact of laws banning abortions and the trauma families face when they are unable to make choices that impact their health and well-being.

Categories: Across the Nation