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Mindy and Adam were happily expecting their second child. Weeks into the pregnancy, they were told that the baby suffered a number of severe anomalies, and at 20 weeks, Mindy’s water broke. The baby was not going to live, and Mindy’s health was at risk.

The doctors told Mindy that waiting to miscarry could lead to hemorrhage and infection – complications that could threaten Mindy’s future fertility and even her life. Because the hospital operated under religious restrictions imposed by the Catholic Church, the doctors refused to induce labor to help Mindy end her pregnancy and avoid these risks. The restrictions meant that Mindy would need to be really sick before the doctors could help her.

Mindy and Adam tried to go to a secular hospital a few hours away for a labor induction, but they could not get coverage for the procedure, nor could they afford to pay out-of-pocket. The barrier to insurance coverage seemed to result from the religious hospital’s failure to provide the records that showed the procedure was medically necessary and thus was covered under Mindy and Adam’s insurance. Without other options, Mindy and Adam went home to wait.

A few weeks later, Mindy woke up bleeding. She went to her local hospital, which also follows the Catholic health care restrictions. The doctors there told her she was not sick enough for them to induce labor and that she should come back if she was bleeding a lot more or if she had a fever. They did not talk to her about other options or help to facilitate care at another institution. With nowhere else to turn, Mindy returned to the same hospital, bleeding and seeking care, 4 different times over a 5 week period. At 27 weeks, they decided she was sick enough and induced delivery. Mindy gave birth to a baby boy who never gained consciousness and died within a few hours. Mindy and Adam suffered needlessly for weeks.

No family should have to suffer like this.