I Shouldn’t Be Forced to Give Birth to a Baby Who Won’t Live
Our baby had a fatal birth defect. My federal health insurance plan refused to cover the abortion.
By Sarah E. Levin
July 3, 2019
When I was 20 weeks pregnant, I and my husband learned during a routine ultrasound that our baby had not developed a major portion of her brain and never would. The condition, anencephaly, a type of neural tube defect that also stunts the growth of the skull, is terminal. If carried to term, our baby would be very unlikely to survive for more than a few hours.
One in 1,000 fetuses have this condition. We had no warning signs. No indications. No idea this was coming. This was a baby we had planned for. Just three weeks earlier we had told our 5-year-old daughter that she would soon have a baby sister. We returned home from the hospital that day and had to tell her that her sister was not coming any more. It was the first time she saw me sobbing, unable to speak.