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