Tennessee’s Anti-Abortion Laws Leave Her Infertile and Grieving; Denied Abortion of Fetus with Unattached Brain

Tennessee's Anti-Abortion Laws Leave Her Infertile and Grieving; Denied Abortion of Fetus with Unattached Brain

Tennessee’s anti-abortion rules caused the loss of an ovary, a fallopian tube, and the woman’s hopes for having a big family.

“The state of Tennessee took away my ability to have children,” 34-year-old Breanna Cecil told The Independent. She also said that the state lawmakers “took away my chance to have a family like my own biological family because they made these very bad laws.”

The mother of one said she hasn’t felt the same since her doctor told her in January 2023 that her unborn child has aconnania, a disease that is fatal and means the baby doesn’t have any skull bones.

At that time, Ms. Cecil was 12 weeks pregnant and getting her first scan. She went to the meeting by herself, so when the doctor told her the foetus would not survive outside of the womb, she had no choice but to ask what she should do.

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But she didn’t have many choices. The state has a very strict law against abortions that says someone can’t have one if there is still a heartbeat, which her foetus had.

The law doesn’t make any exceptions for conditions that could kill, and doctors who do the treatment without one of the allowed exceptions are also breaking the law.

The doctor put her in touch with an expert, who did another ultrasound on her. She says that the second scan was harder because she could see how sick the foetus was. According to Ms. Cecil, “I could see the brain not attached.”

A doctor could only tell her that if she had a second child, the first one would “most likely die inside of me before 20 weeks” and she would have to deliver a stillborn child.

It was terrible news because Ms. Cecil said she could see that she was pregnant. People were asking her about the baby’s due date and sex, but she couldn’t “mentally handle” them. She also said she couldn’t be a “good mum to [her] little boy” if she had to carry the pregnancy to term and deliver the stillborn child.

She chose to have an abortion.

In an effort to get an appointment, she finally succeeded after “crying out to receptionists” at about 20 offices and hospitals. A spot was open at a hospital in Chicago. Medical professionals did a dilation and curettage treatment on February 3.

Six days after going back to Tennessee and feeling like the worst was over, Ms. Cecil got a fever and back pain. Even though the doctor gave her medicines, something was still wrong.

When she got another scan, the doctor saw that there was still tissue from the foetus, which can be very bad. Doctors did one more surgery on Ms. Cecil in the hopes that it would be the last one.

She went back to the hospital two days later because her fever wouldn’t go away. Doctors there found a nine-centimeter abscess in her belly that covered some of her reproductive organs.

She needed surgery right away, and doctors took out her right ovary and fallopian tube.

After a hard 10 days in the hospital, Ms. Cecil went home.

It had taken Ms. Cecil and her husband almost a year of trying to get pregnant. “It’s really hard to go through infertility and pregnancy on its own,” she said, adding that the couple thought they were past the hard part.

The young mother also said that pregnant women who want to have an abortion shouldn’t feel like they have to beg politicians who aren’t doctors for permission.

Ms. Cecil said that women in these situations often “decide if we want our child to suffer” after they are born or “wait until they die inside of us.”

She also said that more than a year after giving birth, she still doesn’t feel normal. There is a scar on her body that goes from her belly button to her hip bone. This scar has moved her fat around. She told him, “I feel bad all the time because I think about that baby.”

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