My Baby Would Have Died Under the Stupak Amendment


I always considered myself pro-choice, but was never involved in the movement until South Dakota’s State Legislature passed an abortion ban and Governor Mike Rounds signed it into law.

Pro-Choice Activists joined forces and The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families was formed.  According to the SDCHF website in less than 10 weeks, the organization successfully collected more than twice the number of petition signatures required to refer that abortion ban to a vote of the people using an all-volunteer force. With the help of our volunteers and supporters throughout the state, the abortion ban was defeated by a wide margin- – 11 points!

As a resident of South Dakota I followed news reports on the ban and the grassroots efforts to defeat the ban. I was hoping the ban would be defeated, but hadn’t given it much thought because as a married mother of two beautiful children, I knew we would welcome a third child and would never need an abortion, so the law wouldn’t affect me.

In 2006 I became pregnant and was thrilled.  After landing in the hospital with a severe kidney infection at 19-weeks gestation, I received my first ultrasound, leaving us shocked and thrilled to see we were expecting identical twin boys.

The joy didn’t last when our babies were diagnosed with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  Webmd.com describes Twin-Twin transfusion syndrome as “the most serious complication of identical twins. It starts in the womb when one twin gets too much blood and the other not enough. The outcome for both twins is grim.”

Severe TTTS has a 60-100 percent likelihood of fetal or neonatal mortality rate.  We were sent to one of the premier fetal care centers in the country and told our only hope for saving this pregnancy was to have a selective termination on the one of the babies, and hope the other twin would survive.

At my next doctor appointment when I asked my perinatalogist if the termination we had would be allowed under the abortion ban.  He said no. 

I was outraged and felt violated, how a group of individuals dare think they can make life-altering medical decisions for me.  If I hadn’t had the termination, I would have buried two babies instead of only one.  I contacted the SDCHF and the next day I was giving my first interview with Newsweek. 

In 2008 the same anti-choicers were back attempting to ban abortion.  They gained enough signatures to put Initiated Measure 11 on the ballot.   I once again shared my story with the world in the hopes that South Dakota voters would vote against Initiated Measure 11 and keep a women’s right to choose in place. For the second time in two consecutive elections, voters rejected an attempt to ban abortion in South Dakota.

I never thought I would have to once again open deep wounds and share my deeply personal story, but then the Stupak-Pitts Amendment was added to the House version of the Affordable Health Care for America Act.  The selective termination that saved my baby’s life would not be covered under the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. 

The total bill from the fetal care center was just over $220,000.  Add the care for the entire pregnancy and the cost was well over $500,000.  We were fortunate that our insurance covered 80% of the costs.  Had they not, I’m not sure what we would have done.  Why should I have to choose between having a life-saving procedure that will most likely put us into bankruptcy while at the same time forcing me to choose between the best interests of our much wanted unborn child versus the best interests of our other two children?  After three years we have finally paid off our share of bills from that pregnancy. 

TTTS doesn’t pick wealthy families to affect. I was fortunate to have a husband with a good job and insurance.  Many women are not as fortunate and it is because of these women I am once again fighting against anti-choice attempts to limit a women’s right to reproductive health care.

My fellow activist friends and I decided to use Facebook to get the word out about the devastating effects of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.  We started a Facebook group, Stupak Amendment REVOLT.  After only two weeks we have 3,052 members.  We have a website where you can donate to help get as many activists to Washington D.C. for the December 2nd rally-lobby day.  We also have an online petition you can sign and members of Stupak Amendment REVOLT will be delivering them Dec. 2nd.  In only two days we have collected 635 signed petitions!  I hope you will join us for the rally/lobby day, but if you can’t please consider making a donation to our cause and signing our online petition. 


To make a donation please visit:
http://www.stupakrevolt.com/To sign our on-line petition please visit:

http://stupakrevolt.com/stupakREVOLT/petition.cfm

To join Stupak Amendment REVOLT Facebook group please visit:

http://www.facebook.com/notifications.php#/group.php?gid=170766567967&ref=ts

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • progo35

    Tiffany-
    I am very sorry for your loss. Since there are many centers in the country that terminate pregnancies, particularly under circumstances that you described, why did you NEED to get it done in South Dakota? Moreover, the Stupak amendment wouldn’t have any effect on your baby’s survival because you had insurance with which to cover the procedure. So, I fail to see how the Stupak ammendment would have resulted in the death of your son.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • rhapsodyingreen

    Thank you, Tiffany, for standing up for the right of mothers to choose.
    @Progo35 To your first question, Tiffany didn’t say she HAD to get it done in South Dakota, she said she was referred to "one of the premier fetal care centers in the country." As to your second question, the Stupak amendment seeks to eliminate abortions from health insurance and goes hand in hand with attempts to ban abortion altogether. Hence, if Tiffany had not been allowed to selectively abort one fetus, both would have died. And, like it or not, for the majority of Americans, that $220k out of pocket bill just for the abortion services would render that decision unfeasible. The thought of knowing that my babies were being killed inside my body and there was nothing I could do about it because of the decisions other people had made makes me sick and terrified. Violated is a very good adjective.
    So, Progo, the Stupak amendment would have made it impossible for Tiffany to have acquired the selective abortion to save one of her children, and, because of their disease, both children would have died, and Tiffany would still have had to pay for the entire pregnancy and emergency care for children she knew were doomed. Makes me sick to my stomach.
    @Tiffany, I’m so sorry you had to go through it and have had to relive it so many times.
    An open mind and an open heart lead to open doors.

  • christie

    I could be mistaken, but I believe she was trying to say that if the Stupak amendment had been in effect, she would have been forced to carry to term and would have likely lost both babies.

     

    Christie

     

    http://www.ourheartbreakingchoices.com

     

  • grayduck

    The old adage "don’t believe everything you hear" applies here. Anybody can say anything on the internet.

     

    The few claims masquerading as verifiable facts in this article are quickly shown to be false. For example, the WebMD claim is false.

     

    http://www.webmd.com/parenting/twin-twin-transfusion-syndrome

     

    "Severe TTTS has a 60-100 percent likelihood of fetal or neonatal mortality rate."

     

    What is your source? Online sources make contradictory claims.

     

    "In severe cases, if TTTS is not treated, there is a 60 to 100% chance that both babies can die in utero."

     

    http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/fetalsurgery/ttts/

     

    With certain treatment, at least one fetus will survive in 82 percent of cases.

     

    http://www.umm.edu/ttts/which_therapy.htm

     

    "If the twin-to-twin transfusion is mild, full recovery is expected for both babies. However, severe cases may result in the death of a twin."

     

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001595.htm

     

    "The outlook for twins with TTTS was hopeless over 20 years ago, but now we have the ability to diagnose the condition early (with ultrasound scans) and implement treatments that will ultimately lead to most of the twins surviving and being healthy."

     

    http://www.tttsfoundation.org/help_during_pregnancy/summary.php

     

    "We were sent to one of the premier fetal care centers in the country and told our only hope for saving this pregnancy was to have a selective termination on the one of the babies, and hope the other twin would survive."

     

    To which "premier fetal care center" are you referring?

     

    "If I hadn’t had the termination, I would have buried two babies instead of only one."

     

    See the odds listed above.

     

    "The total bill from the fetal care center was just over $220,000."

     

    What does that claim have to do with Stupak-Pitts?

     

    "Why should I have to choose between having a life-saving procedure that will most likely put us into bankruptcy while at the same time forcing me to choose between the best interests of our much wanted unborn child versus the best interests of our other two children?"

     

    Does anyone understand this question? What are the two options to which she is referring? How does Stupak-Pitts relate to anything in the "question?"

     

    "…the devastating effects of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment."

     

    What devastating effects of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment? It would not outlaw the procedure you underwent. Nor would it prevent you from becoming insured for it.

     

    This article is just an attempt at contriving a compelling need for government-funded abortion. In reality, nearly all the abortion paid for by government would be purely elective and result because either a man chose to engage in sexual intercourse without being fully committed to being a good father and husband or a woman chose to engage in sexual intercourse without being fully committed to being a good mother and wife or both. Selfishness and irresponsibility are not health care and promoting them is not a good use of the nation’s health care spending.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • crowepps

    Anybody can say anything on the internet.

    Yep, especially when they post it under a pseudonym like “Grayduck”

     

    On the other hand, some people post under their identifiable actual real name like “Tiffany Campbell” after which a person can easily use Google to research them and find stories like this in the archives:

     

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/44408/page/5

    What is your source? Online sources make contradictory claims.

    As I understand the article, her source was her actual doctors who treated her and saved the life of one of her children.

    Does anyone understand this question? What are the two options to which she is referring? How does Stupak-Pitts relate to anything in the “question?”

    Stupak-Pitts would remove ‘abortion’ from health care insurance regardless of why it was needed. Her options then would be to come up with half a million dollars out of pocket, beggering herself and her children who were already born, or let both fetuses die.

    In reality, nearly all the abortion paid for by government would be purely elective

    In reality, the Hyde Amendment would prevent the government from funding ANY purely elective abortion, just as it does now, while Stupak-Pitts would go further and ensure that insurance policies would no longer cover anything which the claims department could possible define as ‘abortion’, possibly including ‘D&X abortions’ when the fetus is dead and ‘D&C abortions’ after miscarriage. We all know just how picky those claims departments are, don’t we?

    Selfishness and irresponsibility are not health care

    So are the next things they’re going to refuse to cover lung cancer from selfish, irresponsible smoking, cirrosis of the liver from selfish, irresponsible drinking and diabetes from selfish, irresponsible obesity?

  • catseye71352

    The "selfish, irresponsible" people here are those who insist they know better than those women who suffer unusual circumstances as to how their situations should be handled.

     

    Catseye  ( (|) )

  • crowepps

    To paraphrase Tina Brown, there’s nothing so confidant as total ignorance of the facts.

  • cha-ching

    I am happy that you were able to save one of your babies, but I’m sure that you would have been happy never to have had to deal with this situation.

    Amazing isn’t it? I always considered myself pro-choice, but never became militant until the issue slapped me across the face.

    Ladies, if you click on “Gray Duck”‘s profile above, you’ll find that the coward actually put HIS name in his profile.

    So BRIAN, how is it that you know more than Tiffany’s doctors? And why is it that you and so many men are so concerned what go on in our uteruses?

    This situation has nothing to do with women being IRRESPONSIBLE. This was a woman in a loving, committed marriage who needed to do what was best for her entire family. And you’re judging her for that? You are a sanctimonious ASS.

    So can we assume from your screed above that you fully support women having access to sex education while in school instead of being taught worthless abstinence education? Or that you want reliable birth control offered through government insurance programs? After all, those irresponsible men out there who aren’t fully committed to fatherhood have their Viagra covered.

    No? Thought so.