Devastated mom forced to travel out of state for abortion of unviable fetus

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 11:26 AM CDT
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(CNN) - Oklahoma has some of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation, with the procedure almost fully outlawed.

Advocates have pledged to challenge that law, but with all abortion providers in the state having shut their doors, it’s already too late for some women.

Lori Brown-Loftis is one of them. She and her family were preparing to welcome its newest member into the world, even getting the nursery started. Her first daughter even started wearing a T-shirt that said “big sister.”

But what should have been a happy time soon turned to crushing devastation when an ultrasound revealed a rare genetic disorder.

“The doctor kind of explained that this disorder is not compatible with life,” Brown-Loftis said. “It was a little girl that, you know, she would not be viable, that most children either die during childbirth or shortly after.”

With no chance of the baby surviving outside the womb, Brown-Loftis made the painful choice to have an abortion.

“That is one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever had to do, it was the hardest decision,” Brown-Loftis said. “Had I been forced to carry that pregnancy, knowing that I would not get to bring that child home, would have caused so much trauma.”

At 23 weeks pregnant, Brown-Loftis was forced to travel out of state for the three-day, invasive procedure with significant financial and emotional cost.

Brown-Loftis said the worst part was being met at the clinic by protesters.

“Just the assumption that I didn’t want my baby, I think that was probably the hardest part,” she said.

This was in January, when Oklahoma allowed abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Today, the state has one of the most far-reaching abortion bans in the nation – prohibiting the procedure at the moment of fertilization with very narrow exceptions.

Abortion is now effectively outlawed in Oklahoma, with all four of its clinics no longer providing the service. If they can afford it, women seeking an abortion will now need to travel out of state, just like Brown-Loftis did.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, said he does not want abortion allowed in the state.

“I don’t know how much clearer we can be. We don’t believe in abortion in Oklahoma. We don’t want it in our state,” Stitt said.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion that could effectively overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks. If that happens, many other states could become like Oklahoma.

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