Powell Co. woman forced to travel out of state for abortion

We sat down with the mother, who says she’s being forced to live out her worst nightmare.
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 4:25 PM EDT
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POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A Powell County woman is being faced with an impossible decision: give birth to a child who will likely be born stillborn or travel hours away across state lines for an abortion.

We sat down with the mother, who says she’s being forced to live out her worst nightmare.

Last year, Heather Maberry married the love of her life.

They were excited to grow their family and got pregnant in October. Only to suffer a miscarriage.

“Knowing that there are other women who have been through this has made me stronger,” Maberry said.

Then earlier this year, they were ecstatic to learn they were expecting another child.

Maberry struggled with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a pregnancy complication where she battles severe nausea. She’s been on bedrest ever since.

At ten weeks, they learned their baby was a girl.

By 12 weeks, all blood work came back normal. She would be a perfect fit for her three sisters.

At a 20-week ultrasound, doctors noticed concerns on the monitor.

“I see my baby that has no brain, that has no life and it hurts,” Maberry said.

Baby Willow was diagnosed with anencephaly—a fatal condition where a major portion of the brain, skull and scalp is not developed.

The couple even got a second opinion at UK, hoping they were wrong.

Her rainbow baby was now her angel baby.

“We were destroyed, like what do we do? My doctor, we went back to him the next day, and there was nothing he could do because of Kentucky state laws,” Maberry said.

She tells us she has to leave the state to seek abortion care because, at this point in her pregnancy, terminating isn’t an option in the State of Kentucky.

“The lawmakers are not women,” she said. “Most of them aren’t. They will never have a baby growing inside of them to be told, that child is not going to live. They will never know what it feels like to have your baby kick and to be told that baby doesn’t have a brain, that baby is not living and then be told that you have to continue to carry a dead child. It’s wrong.”

The only exception is if the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

“We’ve been called hypocrites. We’ve been told that they hope we have to carry this baby to term and be made to,” Maberry said. “Those people that say that; they don’t know our story, they don’t know our pain and I hope to God, they never have to.”

Maberry’s only wish was to hold her daughter, an experience she won’t get in Chicago.

“I just hope that one day I’m going to get to meet her,” Maberry said. “I’m not going to get that in this lifetime, but hopefully, I will in the next.”

Maberry tells us her doctor says he has two other patients in the same situation. One has the means to travel out of state for care; the other will have to carry their baby to term.

Maberry has started a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of the procedure.