'Pure torture': Florida family says DeSantis-backed abortion law put them through hell
Young woman patient lying at hospital bed feeling sad (Shutterstock)

Deborah and Lee Dorbert's life was turned upside down by an abortion ban signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, reported The Washington Post on Friday — despite them desperately wanting to have a child, and suffering one of the worst nightmares expectant parents can have.

"Deborah Dorbert discovered she was pregnant in August. Her early appointments suggested the baby was thriving, and she looked forward to welcoming a fourth member to the family. It didn’t occur to her that fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a half-century constitutional right to abortion would affect them," reported Frances Stead Sellers, Thomas Simonetti, and Maggie Penman. "A routine ultrasound halfway through her pregnancy changed all that."

It turned out that the fetus growing inside her had Potter syndrome, a condition where there is not enough amniotic fluid to support the pregnancy. Babies who develop in this condition rarely survive.

"The state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of gestation has an exception for fatal fetal abnormalities. But as long as their baby’s heart kept beating, the Dorberts say, doctors would not honor their request to terminate the pregnancy," said the report. "The doctors would not say how they reached their decision, but the new law carries severe penalties, including prison time, for medical practitioners who run afoul of it. The hospital system declined to discuss the case. Instead, the Dorberts would have to wait for labor to be induced at 37 weeks."

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The family sought advice from palliative care experts and tried to go about their business as normal, said the report. Then, "the day before Milo was born, the Dorberts sat down with their son Kaiden to explain that the baby’s body had stopped working and that he would not come home. Instead, some day, they told Kaiden, they would all meet as angels," said the report. "The 4-year-old burst into tears, telling them that he did not want to be an angel."

When Milo was finally born, without properly functioning lungs or kidneys, "He was really trying to breathe. ... He didn’t cry when he was born and he didn’t open his eyes at all. But I mean, he struggled," said Deborah.

After doctors cut the umbilical cord, he rapidly deteriorated.

As Milo gasped for air, the Post reports, "Lee read a book to his dying son — 'I’ll Love You Forever,' a family favorite that the Dorberts had given Kaiden for Valentine’s Day — and sang Bob Marley’s 'Three Little Birds'" as the family tried to make him as comfortable as possible. He survived for just 99 minutes.

Peter Rogell, the father of Deborah Dorbert, blamed Florida's abortion law for the suffering his family endured.

“To me it’s just pure torture,” Rogell told the Post. “The law has created torture.”

This year, DeSantis signed another, even harsher bill, reducing the 15 week gestational ban on abortion to just six weeks — which is not only before almost every fatal birth defect can be detected, but before many women even know they're pregnant.