Iowa's 20-week abortion ban will lead to more suffering

Maridith Morris writes: I wanted to share my feelings as a pregnant woman watching my medical options disappear. I find this especially disempowering considering my intimate knowledge of healthcare from ICU to labor and delivery. Here is the full text of my letter to the editor published in the Des Moines Register April 19th.

This spring marks ten years I’ve been a nurse. Of all the lessons I’ve learned in ten years of nursing, perhaps the most important has been that there are many fates worse than death. There is pain and suffering beyond imagining, lives of confinements to hospital beds and views of only windows. There is the hole that is left when you lose someone you love and death refuses to claim you alongside them.

I’m 16 weeks into my fourth pregnancy to make it this far, and I don’t know yet whether my baby is healthy enough that they won’t live a life of pain and suffering. I won’t know until after 20 weeks. What I do know is I would sacrifice my own comfort and peace to spare an innocent life the suffering of a complicated illness or deformity that would lead to surgery after surgery. I know I would rather bear the loss myself than gamble with leaving my three children to live in pain without a mother. Because complicated pregnancies lead to complicated outcomes.

Higher incidences of polyhydramnios (having too much amniotic fluid) lead to higher incidences of life-threatening and fatal complications: hemorrhage, placental abruption, and pulmonary fluid embolism to name a few. Every pregnancy carries a higher risk of blood clots, which can lead to stroke and pulmonary embolism. Some women, like myself, are already at higher risk for these conditions.

Unfortunately, the Iowa legislature has seen fit to make my medical decisions for me with little regard to the well being of myself or my family. They have decided that a woman’s background, most importantly her background into her own life and family situation, is less important than their own opinions, formed without veracity of information. A 20-week abortion ban wouldn’t end pain and suffering, it would endanger lives and cause so much more hardship for Iowa women and their families.

For anyone who would like more information about polyhydramnios, here is a good resource.

Top image: Maridith Morris with her three children.

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