A Missouri hospital is being probed for denying a woman an abortion despite the fact that she was facing a medical emergency.
The Missouri Health and Senior Services launched an investigation into Freeman Hospital West for allegedly refusing to help Mylissa Farmer.
On August 2, Farmer, 41, was rushed to the hospital’s emergency room after her water broke just 17 weeks and five days into her pregnancy.
Child Had “Zero Chance Of Survival” But Came 39 Days After Roe V. Wade Was Overturned
She had lost all of her amniotic fluid, and the baby – who she already named Maeve – had “zero” chance of survival, she told the Springfield News-Leader.
Doctors told her that “awaiting a medical emergency may put her at further risk for maternal mortality,” according to medical records. However, waiting to do so could have also risked her having to get her uterus removed.
Unfortunately for Farmer, her medical emergency came just 39 days after the state banned abortions following the Supreme Court overturning Roe. v. Wade back in June.
Mylissa Farmer was forced to go across state lines after a hospital in her home state of Missouri refused to perform an emergency abortion.
— Health Care For America Now! (@HCAN) November 2, 2022
Despite doctors’ warnings, they were unable to perform the abortion in Missouri due to the fact that the fetus still had a heartbeat, and that her condition didn’t meat the state’s definition of a medical emergency, she said.
“My doctors said it was an emergency, and I felt it was an emergency,” she told Kaiser Health News.
Doctors Told Her That Federal, State Law Overrides Their Medical Opinion And Were Unable To Terminate Pregnancy
According to medical records from that day, doctors told Farmer that state and federal law overrides their medical opinion.
“Contrary to the most appropriate management based (on) my medical opinion, due to the legal language of MO law, we are unable to offer induction of labor at this time,” doctors reportedly told her.
Farmer said that although doctors were unable to terminate her pregnancy, “they were telling me to basically get out of the state to get the care that I needed.”
She ultimately was able to have the procedure done out-of-state in Illinois, after a clinic there deemed her case “urgent.”
According to KHN, the investigation is the first one to be confirmed under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
The probe, which is being carried out by the state, was authorized by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the outlet reports, citing officials.
Missouri Among 13 States To Have Done Away With Most Abortion Rights, Doctors Unsure Of What Constitutes Medical Emergency
Since the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe, 13 states, Missouri included, have done away with most if not all abortion rights.
But the Biden administration has repeatedly warned healthcare providers that the procedure must be offered to pregnant woman facing medical crises, as well as ones that may develop into such an emergency.
Those who don’t comply with federal laws face civil fines alongside termination from Medicaid and Medicare programs.
While the abortion ban in Missouri includes exceptions for such medical emergencies, hospitals and physicians maintain they are unsure of exactly what that means and what exactly constitutes a medical emergency.
In Farmer’s case, hospital spokesperson Liz Syer said they do not comment on patient care, and did not immediately return a request for comment on the investigation.