Louisiana: A woman whose fetus developed a rare, almost always fatal condition has been thrust into the national spotlight after she said she was denied an abortion in Louisiana. Her ordeal comes as the fight over abortion rights continues at the state level, with some states making it almost impossible to access the procedure. 

Nancy Davis has three children and planned for one more. But she said her happiness turned to heartbreak earlier this month when her fetus was diagnosed with acrania, a rare condition in which the skull doesn’t develop. 

The prognosis is grim: most who have acrania are either stillborn or die soon after. Doctors advised Davis to terminate her pregnancy — but a hospital in Baton Rouge denied her request to have an abortion there. 

Women carrying a fetus without a skull to seek abortion in another state following the Louisiana ban

“I was very heartbroken,” Davis told CBS News. “And the only thing I could replay in my head was, I was carrying my baby to bury my baby.” 

Her attorney, Ben Crump, pointed to Davis’ case as an example of Louisiana’s vague and ambiguous laws that dictate which abortions are allowed. He called on state legislatures to declare a special session to clear up the confusion. 

“Ms. Davis was among the first women to be caught in the crosshairs of confusion due to Louisiana’s rush to restrict abortion. But she will hardly be the last,” he said. 

Louisiana is one of 11 states with the nation’s toughest laws, banning almost all instances of abortion with few or no exceptions. All of the states that surround it have similar restrictions — meaning people must decide between traveling far or carrying a non-viable fetus to term. 

“These last few weeks have been very traumatizing,” she said. “Um, it’s been very, you know, emotional.” 

Louisiana woman says she was denied an abortion after the fetus developed a rare condition: “I was carrying my baby to bury my baby”

The Louisiana Department of Health said its guidelines are evolving and that it plans to add acrania to its list of conditions that would allow someone to have an abortion — but that may come too late for Davis. She told CBS News she plans to travel next week to seek the procedure in another state. 

Nearly a year after Hurricane Ida slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast and devastated bayou communities on the southern end of Louisiana, the hard-hit city of Houma is still struggling to recover.

“Unfortunately, it looks apocalyptic out there,” said Jonathan Foret, 45, the executive director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center in Houma. “It feels like you’re on the set of a movie and the zombies are coming out. It’s disheartening.”

Louisiana woman denied an abortion for fetal anomaly calls for the special legislative session

In this city of roughly 30,000 people southwest of New Orleans, locals confront a dismaying landscape: boarded-up storefronts, half-collapsed office buildings, roofless homes draped in sun-baked tarps, and Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers parked on the outskirts of town.

Houma and other storm-beaten areas in Terrebonne Parish have made some progress since Ida crashed into Louisiana as a Category 4 storm on Aug. 29 last year, becoming one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the state since Katrina in 2005. Ida was responsible for the deaths of 87 people in the United States, including 30 in Louisiana, according to a National Hurricane Center report.

But locals say rebuilding efforts have been hampered by supply chain woes, inflation, a shortage of qualified building contractors, conflicts with insurance companies, and other vexing issues.

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Louisiana is a state in the Deep South and South Central regions of the United States. It is the 20th-smallest by area and the 25th most populous of the 50 

Top stories

Louisiana woman says she was denied an abortion after fetus developed rare condition: “I was carrying my baby to bury my baby”

‘I have to carry my baby to bury my baby’: woman denied abortion for fetus with fatal condition

In one Louisiana bayou city, Hurricane Ida is still wreaking havoc

Louisiana woman seeking abortion demands special legislative session to clarify ban

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