BOISE, Idaho — Earlier this year, Jennifer Adkins learned during a 12-week ultrasound that her second child — nicknamed “Spooky” because she was due near Halloween — was unlikely to survive her pregnancy.
Adkins said doctors told her the likely miscarriage could result in mirror syndrome, a rare disorder that would cause her to experience the same life-threatening symptoms as the fetus. Adkins recalled that her medical providers were “visibly distraught” when they told her Idaho law prevented them from performing an abortion. After traveling to Oregon for a legal abortion, Adkins said she and her husband struggled to pay their mortgage.
Now Adkins is suing the state alongside a group of doctors and three Idaho other women who were also denied abortions despite dangerous pregnancy complications. The legal complaint asks a court to clarify the circumstances that are grounds for a legal abortion in Idaho, which bans the procedure in all cases unless it was necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant patient.
“It isn’t safe to be pregnant in Idaho,” Adkins told reporters during a news conference Tuesday. “People in Idaho must be able to make informed decisions with their doctors, without the intrusion from politics. What I needed was an abortion, a safe and standard medical procedure that is often required to save lives and keep families intact.”
Abortion restrictions challenged in 3 states
Idaho is among three states targeted for legal challenges by the Center for Reproductive Rights, a national nonprofit that advocates for abortion rights. The group also filed complaints on behalf of women who were denied abortions and doctors in Tennessee and Oklahoma.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the nonprofit, said the eight women challenging their states’ abortion restrictions have experienced “unthinkable trauma.”
“Today they are holding their states accountable for the suffering that their laws have caused,” Northup said. “The abortion bans in Idaho, Tennessee and Oklahoma have forced these women to flee their own states just to survive.”