You are hereDesMoines Register: Her baby wasn't expected to live, but Nebraska law banned abortion

DesMoines Register: Her baby wasn't expected to live, but Nebraska law banned abortion


By FZ - Posted on 09 March 2011

March 5, 2011- Danielle Deaver cradled her daughter, knowing the newborn's gasps would slowly subside, and the baby would die.

Through tear-blurred eyes, she looked her daughter over for physical defects.

Deaver, 34, of Grand Island, Neb., wanted to see something, anything to validate the news doctors delivered eight days before: Her baby had virtually no chance of survival. And if she lived, she would be severely disabled.

What Deaver saw was perfection: A tiny but beautiful child. Ten toes. Ten fingers. Long eyelashes.

Her baby tried desperately to inhale.

With her husband, Robb, at her side, Deaver sobbed, gently kissing her daughter's forehead and hoping her baby wasn't in pain. That fear - that the baby would suffer before its predestined death - compelled the couple to seek an abortion. But a new Nebraska law that limits abortion after the 20th week of gestation prevented her from getting one. The Iowa Legislature is considering a similar law.

A nurse at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital in Hastings instructed the couple to closely monitor their daughter's breathing so when it stopped the staff could accurately record the death.

The clock ticked.

At 3:15 p.m. Dec. 8, 1-pound, 10-ounce Elizabeth Deaver - named in memory of Robb's grandmother - made one final attempt to breathe.

Her life struggle, 15 minutes outside the womb after 23 weeks and five days of gestation, was over.

"Our hands were tied," Danielle Deaver said. "The outcome of my pregnancy, that choice was made by God. I feel like how to handle the end of my pregnancy, that choice should have been mine, and it wasn't because of a law."

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