New, untested abortion bans have made doctors unsure about treating some pregnancy complications, which has led to life-threatening delays and trapped families in a limbo of grief and helplessness. Elizabeth Weller never dreamed that her own hopes for a child would become ensnared in the web of Texas abortion law…. The facts were grim. At 18 weeks, the watery, protective cushion of amniotic fluid was gone. There was still a fetal heartbeat, but it could stop at any moment. Among other risks, both the fetus and Elizabeth were now highly vulnerable to a uterine infection called chorioamnionitis.
The ob-gyn, who said she could not speak to the media, laid out two options, according to Elizabeth. One option was to end the pregnancy; that’s called “a termination for medical reasons.” The other option is called expectant management, in which Elizabeth would stay in the hospital and try to stay pregnant until 24 weeks, which is considered the beginning of “viability” outside the womb…. For a fetus at 18 weeks, the chance of survival in that state is almost nonexistent, according to Peaceman: “This is probably about as close to zero as you’ll ever get in medicine.”