League City family in 'nightmare' situation under Texas abortion law

Courtney Carpenter Image
Thursday, September 29, 2022
League City family in 'nightmare' situation under Texas abortion law
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A pregnant woman shares her story exclusively with ABC13 after learning at 15 weeks that her baby will not survive the pregnancy, but Texas laws will not allow an abortion.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Joy quickly turned to heartbreak for a League City woman and her family.

"She's not only dealing with the fact that she can't even grieve or mourn, that this is what's happening with her child, she also has to deal with the physical (aspect)," explained the woman's sister.

We agreed not to reveal the family's identity given the personal nature of the situation and the family's fear of backlash.

At a recent ultrasound, a 25-year-old woman, excited to be 15 weeks pregnant with her first child, found out devastating news. Her family says doctors told them there's more than a 90% chance the baby will not survive the pregnancy as she has fetal hydrops condition, which is an abnormal accumulation of fluid, as well as Turner syndrome, and other genetic abnormalities.

"They were told that, normally, somebody that would be getting this kind of news would immediately go have an abortion," the woman's mother explained.

The family says they are also concerned about the health of the mother as doctors believe she may be developing what they call Mirror syndrome, which is rare and potentially life-threatening.

"It has been really traumatizing. It's a nightmare for us as a family," the woman's sister said.

In addition, she is also dealing with severe swelling, high blood pressure, and liver enzymes more than double what they should be.

However, under the Texas Heartbeat Act, abortions are illegal past six weeks unless the mother's life is in danger.

"When asked, 'What will be enough, to make her sick enough, to warrant a procedure?' We were told basically a liver failure. Basically, a stroke. Basically, a 911 call," the woman's mother said.

Situations like this are what Lee Bar-Eli, a Houston-area family physician who is not this patient's doctor, says she feared when this law took effect.

"What's terrifying about this is that it is not the standard of care. OBGYNs in Boston would have offered her an induction, and we can't live in a country where OBGYNs in Boston offer someone an induction and OBGYNs in Texas are sitting around asking lawyers and ethics committees, 'At what point is she sick enough that her life is in jeopardy? Can I now offer an induction?'" explained Bar-Eli.

Texas Senate Bill 8 is a law she says is ambiguous and unclear. This family says it has them in a state of heartbreak and worry.

"I am concerned that time is of the essence. Every door we keep trying to open here in Texas, in our hometown, every door we keep trying to hope helps us gets closed on us. It's one of those cases that has really slipped through the cracks. When they created this law, they didn't think about the grey areas of someone in this particular situation," the woman's mother said.

ABC13 reached out to Houston Methodist to find out more about the process when patients and doctors are in this particular type of situation.

"We cannot go into specifics about any patient's care, but can confirm that Houston Methodist follows all state laws, including the standards for abortions as required bY SB 8. We also provide a multidisciplinary medical ethics committee that reviews these cases to help our physicians and patients make these complex decisions," Houston Methodist responded in a statement.

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