Nebraska’s new abortion law forced Danielle Deaver to give birth to a baby that she and her doctors knew would die minutes later. The law prohibits abortions after the 20th week, except in specific situations when the mother’s life is in immediate danger.
Deaver's one-pound, ten-ounce girl, Elizabeth, was born December 8th. Deaver and her husband watched, held and comforted the baby as it died 15 minutes later.
State Sen. Mike Flood, the sponsor of Nebraska's anti-abortion bill, told the Des Moines Register: "Even in these situations where the baby has a terminal condition or there's not much chance of surviving outside of the womb, my point has been and remains that is still a life."
However, Deaver told Des Moines Register: "Our hands were tied. The outcome of my pregnancy, that choice was made by God. I feel like I know how to handle the end of my pregnancy, that choice should have been mine, and it wasn't because of a law."
Doctors told the Deavers that there was less than a 10 percent chance the fetus would have a heartbeat and the capacity to breathe at birth; this was because a lack of fluid would cause the baby's muscle tissues to shorten, damaging the developing lungs.
Deaver was in her 22nd week of pregnancy when her water broke. Two weeks too late for an abortion, per the state law.
Julie Schmit-Albin, of Nebraska Right to Life, told the AP that the baby's death was better than a painful abortion: "We acknowledge the tragedy that occurs with a poor prenatal diagnosis for the baby. But isn't it more humane for the baby to die in a loving manner with comfort care and in the arms of her parents than by the intentional painful death through abortion?"