Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt pledged to sign “every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk.” He has kept that promise, and then some. Currently there are three overlapping abortion bans, each with different and sometimes contradictory definitions and exceptions. One of the bans comes with criminal penalties including felony charges and up to five years in prison for anyone who administers, prescribes, or “advises” a woman on an abortion, so the stakes for interpreting the laws correctly are high, if not impossible for doctors and hospitals.

Take the case of Oklahoma resident and mother, Jaci Statton. She and her husband are pro life and would never consider having an abortion, and believed Oklahoma’s severely strict laws would never affect them.

Jaci, who is a mother of three children, became pregnant early this year. Of course, they were excited and elated, even to the point of thinking up names for their future family member.

Then around the 8th week of her pregnancy, Jaci Statton was in her kitchen, when she felt like she was going to faint. “I just looked down and there is blood everywhere,” she says. “My husband grabbed the kids, grabbed me, went to the emergency room.”

At first, doctors believed she was having a miscarriage. But a follow-up with her OB-GYN the next day, she was told she actually had a partial molar pregnancy. Jaci says her doctor told her: “It is non-viable. It is potentially cancerous.”

On the ultrasound, the doctor showed Jaci how the pregnancy tissue was bean-shaped and surrounded with cysts. “One of them had ruptured, causing me to bleed.” Her doctors told her if more ruptures occurred, she could bleed out and die.

In a normal world, or at least one before the draconian “Dobbs” decision last year, the medically necessary course would be uncomplicated. The pregnancy was not viable. In fact, it is medically certain that the embryo would never develop into anything resembling a baby. The treatment is a dilation and curettage or D&C — an abortion procedure that clears pregnancy tissue out of the uterus.

But at the Catholic hospital where she was in Oklahoma, it was discovered that there was some “cardiac activity.” So, the hospital refused to perform the procedure.

She then went to another hospital.

Jaci went to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. While there, doctors confirmed the partial molar pregnancy diagnosis and were all set to do a D&C, but Jaci says an ultrasound tech from the emergency department objected because he detected fetal cardiac activity. Under Oklahoma law, being involved in that procedure might send the tech to jail.

The D&C didn’t happen. Instead, she was sent to a 3rd hospital, this time to Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.

At Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, she says the medical staff gave her even more dire news. “You at the most will last maybe two weeks,” she remembers them telling her. But still, cardiac activity was detectable, and the doctors would not provide a D&C.

They said, ‘The best we can tell you to do is sit in the parking lot, and if anything else happens, we will be ready to help you. But we cannot touch you unless you are crashing in front of us or your blood pressure goes so high that you are fixing to have a heart attack.”

That’s right — wait in the parking lot and if you reach death’s door, then maybe we can do something. Otherwise, you are on your own Jaci — good luck.

After being refused a meeting with the hospital’s ethics board to discuss the matter, Jaci and her husband took matters into their own hands and went out of state to Wichita, Kansas.

The physician who treated her there was Dr. Shelly Tien. “I remember that she is a lovely, sweet patient with great sadness because this was a desired pregnancy,” she says. “She was navigating the loss of a very much wanted child, the complexities of a rather rare medical diagnosis, and then also the insult of not being able to be cared for by her own physician in her own home and familiar surroundings.”

Dr. Tein and her staff did the D&C and also put an IUD birth control device inside her to prevent the situation from occurring again. It is very dangerous for women who go through what Jaci Statton went through to get pregnant again for a period of time. The IUD would keep her safe until her body would be ready to conceive again.

America has an abysmal infant mortality rate compared to much of the world and Oklahoma is usually at or near the bottom of the barrel in this country for such metrics. Cases like Jaci’s show us why that is. Between the fears of medical professionals being imprisoned for caring for women like Laci and “religious objections” further gumming up the works, women, post Dobbs, are literally given up as sacrificial lambs.

It is shameful.