Louisiana woman whose fetus had no skull travels 1,400 miles for abortion
A pregnant Louisiana woman whose fetus didn't develop a skull in her womb traveled 1,400 miles to New York to have an abortion after a Baton Rouge hospital denied her the procedure because of a new state law banning virtually all abortions.
The Guardian first reported Wednesday that Nancy Davis had an abortion at a Manhattan Planned Parenthood clinic on Sept. 1. USA Today Network has reached out to Davis and her attorney Ben Crump for comment.
Davis, whose story has generated national interest, was forced to seek donations for travel to a state where abortions are legal after Davis said she was denied an abortion at Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana's Legislature passed and Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a law this summer that outlaws virtually all abortions with exceptions only for the life of the mother or for "medically futile" pregnancies.
Opponents of the law have argued in court that its exceptions are too vague for ordinary citizens and even doctors to understand and that doctors and hospitals are afraid to take the legal risk of performing any abortion.
"Basically, they said I had to carry my baby to bury my baby," Davis said during a late August press conference at the Louisiana Capitol.
Attorneys for Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry have argued that Louisiana's "goes to extraordinary lengths to define the terms."
Democratic state Sen. Katrina Jackson of Monroe, who authored the law, told USA Today Network on Wednesday that the condition of the fetus should have qualified for an exemption.
"The physician made an error in the interpretation of the law," said Jackson, who said the hospital later offered to perform Davis' abortion but that Davis was uncomfortable with returning after she was initially denied.
"The law is very clear," Jackson said.
Shortly after learning she was pregnant, Davis was given the diagnosis of acrania for her fetus, which means no skull developed.
“This has truly been an emotional roller coaster,” Davis said during the press conference at the Louisiana Capitol with Crump and her partner Shedric Cole by her side.
Davis and Cole have children together ages 1, 13 and 16.
Crump and Davis called on the Legislature or Edwards to call a special session to clarify Louisiana's abortion ban and its exceptions.
"Imagine how many women may be affected before they come back into session," Crump said during the press conference. "How many more Nancy Davises will have to endure the mental anguish and the mental cruelty before the legislators clear up these vague and ambiguous laws?"
Davis was able to raise almost $40,000 through a GoFundMe for expenses related to her health and travel since the press conference.
She had originally planned to have the abortion in North Carolina before choosing the New York clinic for the procedure.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.