BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A Baton Rouge woman and her attorneys are calling on the state legislature to hold a special session to clarify the abortion trigger laws. Nancy Davis’ doctors denied her an abortion despite her baby’s condition falling under the exemptions in the abortion ban.
Davis’ fetus was diagnosed with acrania at 10 weeks. She was told by her doctors they wouldn’t be able to perform an abortion despite her baby not being born with a skull and it wouldn’t last very long after being born. They told her she would have to go to another state for the procedure because they feared the criminal penalties in the new law.
“Basically they said I had to carry my baby to bury my baby. They seemed confused about the law and afraid of what would happen to them,” Davis said.
Lawmakers who supported the newest abortion trigger law in the last session wrote a letter saying the hospital misinterpreted the law and said the exemptions are clear. The letter signed by 36 legislators said, “Although many of us share a faith which would compel us to carry this child to full term believing that throughout the pregnancy the child’s vital organs will form, we voted for this exception and therefore recognize it as law” despite that being medically improbable with such a diagnosis.
“We say that’s hypocrisy. This is exactly the outcome that many believe they sought to put such a chilling effect on doctors that they would refuse to perform abortions in any and all circumstances,” Attorney Ben Crump said.
Many have called the trigger law into question stating the term “medically futile” is too vague for doctors to determine.
“By imposing themselves between Mrs. Davis and her doctors, Louisiana lawmakers inflict the unspeakable pain, emotional damage, and physical risk upon this beautiful mother,” Crump said.
The Louisiana Department of Health has a running list of conditions that would classify as an exception to the ban – but they said the list would not be able to encompass every possible diagnosis that would meet the definition of “medically futile.” Acrania will be added to it. There will be public hearings to help also add to the list before a final rule is established.
Davis’ attorney is calling Governor John Bel Edwards and the legislature to hold a special session to clarify the law. Crump said he has gotten dozens of calls from women in similar situations since Davis went public with her story. He fears many more will have this problem before the next session begins in April 2023.
To read the full letter from legislators in support of the current law, click here.