real stories

from women across new york state

 

"We were told that even if he came to term, he’d only live a short while before choking to death. My husband and I decided we couldn’t put him through that. But now I was at 31 weeks of pregnancy, well past the 24-week cut off for termination under New York law...We live in New York after all and my baby is not viable. Yet, I still can’t have this done by my own doctors in a supposedly progressive state. I was going to have to fly to Colorado to get an abortion. When I told a friend we had to fly to Colorado, he assumed I was doing this under the table, in some kind of shady way. I had to convince him—no, this is just what you have to do in New York, even though our top doctor at a top hospital supported this course of care."

"I had anatomy scans and blood work done at 16 and 20 weeks and we were told that everything looked great and looked normal and that our baby boy was developing perfectly.  I was young and healthy and had two children already so we went on planning for our baby boy’s arrival...She said that brain malformations were a gray area, that we could not know for sure, but since there were multiple issues, we were told that he would likely have constant seizures that would be uncontrollable with medication, he may be in a constant vegetative state, he would likely never walk or talk, he would likely never know who his mom and dad were, he would likely require constant medical care… That is if he even survived to term, or survived birth...I was appalled at how I was told at 20 weeks my son was fine and now he wasn’t… I have learned since then that most of the brain development happens in the third trimester and that is when these conditions normally would begin to be seen...And it was then that my husband and I were told that it was illegal in our home state of New York to terminate a pregnancy after 24 weeks, even in the case of a fetal anomaly.  They recommended a clinic for us in New Mexico.  The only issue was that they required to be paid on the spot and for the entire procedure they wanted $15,000, which was not covered by insurance."

"The scan showed that nearly half of the brain was filled with fluid. Our child would likely need immediate brain surgery, suffer terrible seizures and likely would have no ability to learn or process information. We could not let our child live a life of pain and suffering. Our doctor was compassionate and told us we had the choice to terminate the pregnancy, however "They could not help us, due to laws in the state." We were on our own. We were now a full week over the legal limit. They suggested a place in Colorado where I could go. They offered to call and said they would help us figure it out the best they could. But that was all they could do for us...At that point I felt the most abandoned, scared, and angry I have ever felt in my life. I often still feel this way. How could someone in my situation not have any other choices? How is it that some of the best medical facilities in the country are located in New York State but I would no longer have any access to them? Why was it that I had to drive over 3,000 miles to receive compassionate care from a doctor who's not afraid to give families like mine a choice? Why did I have to ask my parents and in laws to borrow credit cards, pay for hotels and to take over $12,000 out of their retirement to help us give their grandchild a chance to leave this world without tremendous pain?"

"Then at 26 weeks I went for a growth scan, which revealed serious abnormalities. The four ventricles of his brain showed abnormal levels of fluid and no one could tell us why. The head and abdomen were also measuring small (microcephaly), about three weeks behind normal development...We met with a pediatric neurologist who told us about what we could expect our son’s life to be like – severely disabled and in pain, with grand mal seizures that would put his life continually at risk.  After a grueling period of discussion and heartrending questions about our son, our older daughter, and the prognosis, we felt that we could not in good conscience put our dear boy through such pain...I have shared this story with friends and colleagues here in New York, and everyone is shocked to hear we were forced to leave the state due to the current NYS abortion cut-off of 24 weeks. No one would ever want to be in our situation, but everyone I have spoken to supports our ability to care for our child by sparing him a short and painful life."

"It’s beyond frustrating and we can’t wrap our heads around the fact that this condition is rarely/never diagnosed ( high risk doctor’s words) before birth.  It’s a heartbreaking condition that parents are shocked with at birth.  I keep saying, “Wonder if we did not know?”  My doctor said, “You are being given a choice.”  We’ve all heard the expression. It’s a blessing and a curse.  At this point I can’t tell what to feel.  My husband and I are numb.  We are in the thick of it and are coming to terms with terminating the pregnancy.  I’m told we are passed the point in New York where termination is legal.  I break down not even knowing or understanding what that means.  I’m told there are two places I can fly to...I believe I went to hell and back that week.  I did not think I would survive and at one point did not want to.  I have never been so scared or anxious in my entire life.  I now continue to suffer from anxiety.  While I’ve been back from Colorado for an entire year there is not a day I do not think of the loss of my baby and my traumatic journey to Colorado.  I have “healed” as time has gone by but I now find myself angry."