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'I Carried Her For Almost 20 Weeks': Minnesota Mom Shares Her Story Of 2nd Trimester Abortion Following Dire Diagnosis

Originally published on May 3

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Emily Richter and her husband, Bryce, couldn't wait to see their baby during her prenatal anatomy scan.

"We were excited first time parents," Richter said. "We were excited to find out she was a girl, I had this feeling she was a girl."

The ultrasound confirmed the baby was a girl. But during that routine appointment on March 13 of 2020, their lives changed forever.

Emily Richter
(credit: CBS)

"You could see the tech she was quiet, she was suddenly quiet," Richter said. "They got to her head, she turned the whole machine off and said I need to get your OB."

Richter's daughter was diagnosed with a serious birth defect called anencephaly, which causes a baby to grow without parts of the brain and skull. Babies with the condition are stillborn or die shortly after birth. There was also a hole in this baby's heart.

Richter was 19 weeks pregnant.

"We were devastated," Richter said. "It's still the worst news we've received in our lives."

In this case, Richter's life was also at risk.

"Because of the severity of our case, my amniotic fluid was at risk of sepsis," she said.

Labor induction was not recommended by doctors. She made the decision to terminate the pregnancy she had so badly wanted.

"She was still my baby, and I carried her almost 20 weeks by the time procedure could be scheduled," Richter said.

Richter did go on to get pregnant again and the couple now has a 1-year-old boy. She hopes sharing her story helps others understand the different reasons someone may have an abortion. She says having an abortion saved her life.

Emily Richter
(credit: CBS)

Richter is most concerned about the impact of a possible overturning of Roe v. Wade and the impact it would have on marginalized communities. She noted that she would have the money to go out of state to find access to care but others may not.

"Removing access to this type of care for women is devastating," Richter said. "For any birthing body honestly this could be anyone."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in every 4,600 children are born with anencephaly every year.

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