After woman was denied abortion for baby with deadly diagnosis, attorney blames Louisiana's 'vague' laws
BATON ROUGE - The attorney representing a Louisiana mother whose fetus was diagnosed with a fatal abnormality wants Louisiana legislators to hold a special session clarifying its abortion laws after the woman was denied the procedure.
Attorney Ben Crump spoke alongside Nancy Davis, whose unborn child is diagnosed with acrania, a rare disorder that causes the fetus to develop without a skull. Davis says she's not allowed to terminate the pregnancy despite being told her baby will likely only live for "a matter of minutes."
Davis is currently 15 weeks pregnant and plans to travel out of state for the procedure.
"What the state legislators and the state itself is making Ms. Nancy Davis endure is inhumane," Crump said Friday. "She said it profoundly: 'They're making me carry my baby just to bury my baby.'"
A public letter signed by more than two dozen Louisiana lawmakers and released Thursday claimed the Baton Rouge hospital at the center of the controversy "grossly misinterpreted" the law and that Davis was "within the exception" of the state's abortion ban.
On Friday, Crump blamed the situation on the state's laws—which impose harsh penalties on doctors who perform abortions—for being too vague.
"What doctor is gonna take that risk on laws that are vague and ambiguous," Crump said. "To the Louisiana legislators who are glibly blaming the hospital for not understanding the language of the law, we say that's hypocrisy."
Crump is demanding that the governor and lawmakers hold a special session to better define Louisiana's trigger laws, which are at the center of an ongoing legal battle, before the next regular session scheduled for April 2023.
The governor's office would not comment on requests for him to call a special legislative session. Instead, the governor, a pro-life Catholic and Democrat, referred questions to the state health department.
A health department spokesperson said the state law is clear: "[The law] is clear and unambiguous, and the Louisiana Department of Health has complied with its legal obligations."
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