Brave Woman Escapes Texas To Safeguard Healthy Twin In Utero With Abortion Procedure

Lauren Miller could tell her second pregnancy was different from her first. She was in a bad mood. As per the news she wrote in her journal on August 20, 2022. “I started throwing up at five yesterday morning and it won’t stop. It is now the afternoon, over a full day later. I can’t even keep down crackers, water, tea.

She was concerned about dehydration and went to an emergency room near her home in Dallas. She received a bag of IV fluid and medication for nausea and was told she had hyperemesis gravidarum – severe morning sickness. The ER doctor also performed an ultrasound. “That’s when we found out about the twins,” she says.

8 Weeks: Two-For-One

“I was just completely shocked because we have no history of twins on either side of our family,” she says. Jason and Miller, 35, have a 1-year-old son. However, twin pregnancies cause severe morning sickness.

She was overwhelmed by the preparations for twins: a bigger car, another crib, and more baby gear. “But within a few days we were getting excited – I always wanted three [kids] so it’s kind of like I got a two-for-one special,” she laughs.

13 Weeks: She Can’t Talk

“Today is September 23rd and it’s not a good day,” she wrote in her journal. At her 13-week prenatal appointment, “Baby B”—the twin farther from her cervix—measured much smaller than the other. Its head had two cystic hygromas.

She and Jason anxiously awaited the results of a blood test for several common genetic conditions.

Monday, September 26 at 9 a.m., she received the email. She journaled, “It’s so much worse than I imagined.” “18. EDS.” She read online that 90% of trisomy 18 fetuses die before birth, and those that survive only live a few days. “I just want to throw up. I can’t even come up with words to describe how devastating this is,” wrote.

A genetic counselor called her hours later. “It gets worse,” she wrote after that conversation. “Basically, every day that Baby B continues to develop, he puts me and his twin at greater risk for complications, preterm birth, etc. But she can’t say much – she was careful about what she even said.”

She sitting with her husband
She sitting with her husband

The genetic counselor told Miller that doctors would do a “single fetal reduction,” Miller recalls, though she didn’t explain what that procedure was, only that “you can’t do that in Texas now.”

Miller believed she understood the genetic counselor’s ambiguity. Selective reduction aborts multiple fetuses. Doctors can abort one fetus while others develop. The selective reduction can improve the odds of live births in multiple pregnancies.

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Texas now bans most abortions. Three state laws prohibit abortion. One was 1857 old. After Roe was overturned, abortion in the state carries a life sentence. SB-8 allows civil charges for “aiding or abetting” Texas abortions.

Miller felt the laws prevented her doctor and genetic counselor from clearly explaining her options. “With the bounty hunter system in Texas, doctors will err on the side of caution,” she says. Journaling: “So now we have to scramble – I don’t even know what we’re doing, but we have to make plans. And I just feel blind and confused and scared and I hate all of this.”

14 Weeks: Nothing Can Be Done In Texas

Miller saw another high-risk OB-GYN the following day for a trisomy 18 test.

She had another ultrasound. She calls Baby B’s scan “heartbreaking” while Baby A’s was fine. An incomplete abdominal wall, heart abnormalities, and larger cystic hygromas were concerning. The doctor had trouble getting the diagnostic tissue sample. Miller recalls throwing his gloves away after several attempts.

Lauren Miller bought a little brother onesie to let the grandparents know she's expecting a boy
Lauren Miller bought a little brother onesie to let the grandparents know she’s expecting a boy

She left Texas for an abortion. “We knew Baby B was not viable, and so we needed to look at what to do to protect his twin and me,” Miller says. “And we knew we needed to act fast just because of how sick I was.”

Planned quickly. Colorado doctor was referred by a friend. Early October was her appointment week. She and Jason prepared by booking a flight, and hotel, and having their son stay with the family.

As the news spread, people all over the internet started talking about the matter. Here is a Tweet related to the matter.

“Packing was weird, like a secret mission,” she says. “Which was so surreal. I’m from Texas – I’m an 8th generation Texan – and to be feeling like I need to escape the state was just a bizarre sensation.”

16 Weeks: Talking In Code

Miller says “You don’t know where anybody stands, so it feels like we’re all kind of talking in code,”.

“I’m pretty sure they knew we’d gone out of state for an abortion. We knew we’d gone out of state for an abortion – nobody’s saying that. Everybody’s dancing around it: ‘Well, it appears that Baby B has passed.'”

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35 Weeks: I’m Still Pregnant.

Lauren Miller’s abortion was nearly five months ago. Between caring for her one-year-old and preparing for the new baby, she’s been processing it at home in Dallas.

She says “Honestly, overall, I’ve been so overwhelmed by just anger at how much additional stress we’ve had to go through,”. There were additional costs. She estimates it cost more than $3,000 to travel to Colorado for the abortion, knowing most people can’t afford that much money on short notice.

Miller says her anger is offset by relief that she got the abortion, is healthy, and only lost one twin. “I’m still pregnant – I’m still coming out of this with a baby.”

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