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    Oct 20, 2016

    Here Is What An Abortion At 22 Weeks Is Actually Like

    "No woman should have to have the state have a say in the most painful decision she will ever make."

    Meet Alyson Draper, a corporate attorney and mother of six living in the mountains of Midway, Utah.

    Alyson Draper / Facebook / Via

    Recently, Draper posted about her experience having a "late-term abortion" in a Facebook status — and it's going viral.

    Facebook: alyson.draper / Via Facebook: alyson.draper

    Draper's status has been shared almost 80,000 times on Facebook.

    When Draper was 40, she got pregnant with twins through in vitro fertilization. "This was the most wanted and planned pregnancy ever," she told BuzzFeed Health.

    The pregnancy came only 15 months after Draper said she had another pregnancy that resulted in a stillbirth.

    "Between the two of us, my husband and I had six kids at home from our first marriage but we desperately wanted a child together so these twins were so loved and wanted," she said.

    At around 22 weeks, Draper said she learned one of her twins had died and the other had a severe case of spina bifida which would result in death shortly after birth.

    Spina bifida is a disease that affects the development of the spinal cord and brain, and it ranges from mild to severe.

    "Our baby's case was so severe that the entire brain was pulled down and formed on the back, and the spine was exposed all the way down to the lumbar vertebrae at the bottom," she said.

    "We wanted to do anything we could to save this baby, but the doctors told us there was no hope, and carrying it to term was a hazard to my own health," Draper said.

    Draper said she and her husband went through a series of doctors to see if it was possible to correct the spina bifida in utero or do anything to save the baby's life.

    "I wanted this baby so badly that I would’ve gladly gone to term and risked my own life if there was any chance the baby would live," Draper said.

    In Utah, abortion is only legal if the fetus is not viable (able to live outside the womb), except under certain circumstances.

    Win Mcnamee / Getty Images / Via

    Those circumstances include cases where the abortion is necessary to save the mother's life or prevent "irreversible impairment" to her body; or if two doctors agree (in writing) that the fetus has "a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal."

    Since Draper's health was in jeopardy and her baby had no chance of survival after birth, doctors decided to perform an abortion by cesarean section — which she described as "the worst moment in her life."

    Draper and her husband made the decision along with her physician and with the guidance of her Mormon bishop who she said "reminded me I had six kids at home who needed their mother to live."

    However, before the procedure could be done it had to also be approved by an ethics committee at the hospital. "They decided that it was in fact being done to save my life (because the baby had no chance of survival) and not out of convenience, which made it legal under Utah law," Draper said. She also said they chose the procedure that was as gentle and humane as possible.

    Draper said she decided to share the post in light of Trump's comments about "late-term abortions" in the third presidential debate on Wednesday.

    Win Mcnamee / Getty Images / Via

    During the debate, Trump stressed that he is “pro-life” and would nominate like-minded justices for the Supreme Court to make sure the issue of abortion is decided at the state level.

    Trump went on to criticize "late-term abortions," a term many people use to describe abortions that occur after the first trimester. He claimed that the procedures “rip the baby out of the womb” up to a day before birth. “You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb on the ninth month,” Trump said.

    "What Trump described last night was a poorly done C-section," Dr. Jennifer Gunter, OB-GYN, told BuzzFeed Health. "No physician is doing nine-month terminations, it's ludicrous."

    According to the CDC, just 1.3% of abortions happen at 21 weeks or later. And most of those happen before 24 weeks of gestation, Gunter said.

    "As this case shows, every situation is unique and there are so many variables you have to take into account, so when you start legislating things you're taking away options and this could lead to serious complications and unfortunate circumstances," Gunter said.

    Draper said she hopes her story shows why "only parents of the baby and a physician should make this decision," not the state.

    Alyson Draper / Via

    "I struggled with PTSD for a long time and I've recovered, but when I heard Trump say those terrible things, all the hurt and pain came roaring back," Draper said.

    "I shared my story because I wanted people to understand that late-term abortions aren't what Trump described, and that women can end up in this terrible situation who desperately wanted a baby," Draper said.