Jessica and Erick Davis learned that their unborn son had holoprosencephaly, a condition that meant he could not survive his first year and would suffer great pain. "He would never walk, lift his head," said Jessica, 23, to MSNBC.
Jessica didn't like the idea of abortion but decided it was the only possible choice. "I could let my son go on and suffer," she said. Or she could "do the best thing for my baby."
Then they learned that the termination was impossible in their state, Oklahoma.
They traveled over 200 miles - from Oklahoma City to Dallas - to show their unborn son "mercy." They borrowed money from relatives for the $2,800 procedure and spent another $700 on travel, including a rental car for the trip, where they slept the night after Jessica's termination. Her termination took 3 days. "It took everything we had so that our son would not suffer," Jessica said.
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, where Jessica received her son's diagnosis, once offered later abortions for women like Jessica, whose babies were diagnosed with lethal conditions in utero. Those procedures were barred by a 2007 law banning abortions in public hospitals.
A 2011 law banned all abortions after 20 weeks - with no exceptions. That law meant that Jessica had leave Oklahoma for her termination. Ironically this law was passed to protect unborn fetuses from pain. Jessica's son would certainly have suffered great pain as a result of being born.
Oklahoma has some of the strongest anti-abortion laws in America, and lawmakers are constantly trying to make them stronger. Since 2010, "the state legislature has passed at least sixteen laws relating to abortion." Some pro-choice Democrats are so afraid of angering the state's pro-life voters, they vote for anti-abortion laws in the hope they will later be overturned by the courts.
"It's sickened me about the state of Oklahoma, period," Erick Davis told MSNBC. "I don't even want to be in this state."