Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Untangling Ron DeSantis’ Debate Anecdote About an Inconceivable Abortion Survival Story

When the subject of abortion got here up through the first Republican main presidential debate this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shared a perplexing anecdote a few girl he’d met who he mentioned had survived the process.

“I do know a woman in Florida named Penny,” DeSantis mentioned. “She survived a number of abortion makes an attempt. She was left discarded in a pan. Fortuitously, her grandmother saved her and introduced her to a unique hospital.”

Some accused the governor of fabricating the story.

“Let me see if I perceive this appropriately. Medical doctors tried to abort ‘Penny’ a number of occasions and discarded her in a pan, after which her grandmother took her to a different hospital? DeSantis lies like a toddler,” one particular person posted on X, previously referred to as Twitter.

Our analysis discovered {that a} girl named Penny, who tells an uncommon start story about an tried abortion, does exist.

We requested DeSantis’ marketing campaign for proof or extra info. The marketing campaign replied through electronic mail, sending solely a hyperlink to a Day by day Sign article that recognized “Penny” by her full title and recounted her story.

The lady DeSantis referred to is Miriam “Penny” Hopper, an anti-abortion activist who mentioned she survived an abortion try in Florida in 1955. Her declare, which is uncorroborated, has been featured on-line by Shield Life Michigan, an anti-abortion advocacy group.

In a video and in interviews, Hopper mentioned she had been delivered round 23 weeks gestation after her mom went to a hospital in Wauchula, Florida, whereas experiencing bleeding. In a 2013 interview with radio station WFSU, Hopper mentioned she believes an abortion had been tried at residence earlier than her dad and mom went to the hospital, which additionally could possibly be why DeSantis referenced “a number of” abortion makes an attempt.

Hopper mentioned the physician on the hospital induced labor, and she or he was born at 1 pound, 11 ounces, and was left in a bedpan. She instructed WFSU her grandmother later discovered her alive and was enraged about her being deserted. Then a nurse volunteered to move Hopper to what was then Morell Memorial Hospital in Lakeland, Florida, now the positioning of Lakeland Regional Well being Medical Middle. That’s about 40 miles north of the hospital the place Hopper mentioned she was born.

Her story has been used to assist “born alive” payments in state legislatures, which purpose to guard infants that survive an abortion, despite the fact that there are federal legal guidelines for that objective.

We have been unable to gauge the accuracy of Hopper’s account. We couldn’t discover data, corresponding to information experiences, courting to the Nineteen Fifties, and individuals who may corroborate the story, corresponding to her grandmother, are not dwelling. Hopper didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Medically talking, the state of affairs is doubtful.

From the Nineteen Fifties via 1980, “new child dying was nearly ensured” for infants born at or earlier than 24 weeks of gestation, the American Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynecology says on its web site.

Latest research have proven large variation in modern-day survival charges for infants born round 23 weeks, partly due to improved hospital practices for resuscitation and lively therapy.

A College of Rochester Medical Middle examine revealed in 2022 discovered that between 2013 and 2018 infants born at 23 weeks — who have been “actively handled” at educational medical facilities within the Nationwide Institutes of Well being-funded Neonatal Analysis Community — had practically a 56% likelihood of survival.

That is significantly increased than the 23-week survival fee at many different establishments, in addition to a earlier examine carried out from 2008 to 2012 in the identical community, which put the speed at 32%. (Lifesaving take care of infants born at 22 and 23 weeks varies by hospital coverage and doctor opinion, in response to a New York Instances article.)

Earlier than the Nineteen Seventies, most infants born earlier than 28 weeks’ gestation died as a result of they lacked the power to breathe on their very own for greater than a short while, and dependable mechanical ventilators for these infants didn’t but exist. That additionally makes it unbelievable that Hopper may have survived for lengthy with out medical intervention when born at 23 weeks within the Nineteen Fifties.

PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

This text was produced by KFF Well being Information, previously referred to as Kaiser Well being Information (KHN), a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points and is among the core working packages at KFF — the impartial supply for well being coverage analysis, polling, and journalism. 

KFF Well being Information is a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points and is among the core working packages at KFF—an impartial supply of well being coverage analysis, polling, and journalism. Study extra about KFF.


This story could be republished without spending a dime (particulars).

Back to top button