The former Miss South Carolina was forced to carry a non-viable fetus after Roe V. Wade was overturned.

Former Miss South Carolina Jill Hartle was forced to carry a non-viable fetus for 7 weeks and now she is telling her story in hopes of spreading awareness about the trauma she suffered.

When Row v. Wad Jill and her partner were overturned in June Matt Hartley were 14 weeks pregnant with their daughter, Ivy Grace. The couple was furious Supreme CourtHis decision – as everyone with basic empathy was and still is – but little did they know that the revolution would directly affect them. Said the pageant queen People Friday, even though she was raised conservative and mostly aligns herself with the Republican Party — she’s strongly pro-choice:

“My husband walks out of the room and he’s beet red furious.” We said to each other, “We can’t believe this is happening” – thinking about our daughter and her future. I was raised in a very conservative family and have always considered myself aligned with the Republican Party, but I have always been pro-choice. We may come from a conservative Christian background, but we also come from a place of empathy and compassion and non-judgment.”

At the couple’s 8-week scan, everything looked fine – but sadly, around 12 weeks, they discovered their unborn daughter was suffering from developmental problems:

“The doctor said, ‘Her heart is not what we want it to look like,'” says the salon owner. “I said, ‘My best friend had a baby with left heart syndrome.’ And she said, ‘That’s what we’re looking at.’

If you’re not familiar, HLHS is a birth defect that affects the normal blood flow to the heart. The fetus was nonviable – their child would most likely never live outside the womb, and if it did, the suffering and surgeries the family would have to go through would be unbearable. And neither Hartle wanted it:

“We decided that the best thing for our particular case and our particular daughter, Ivy Grace, was just to give her the most peaceful possible path to heaven and to heal and be free and never feel a moment of pain.”

But because Row v. Wad, a month earlier, South Carolina law banned abortions after 6 weeks — with a few exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother — but none for birth defects. The couple were immediately sent to Health University of South CarolinaUniversity Medical Center who advised them to wait another month to see the severity of the condition. They agreed, but unfortunately they only got worse news after the exams.

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An amniocentesis and echocardiogram confirmed that their baby’s case of HLHS was severe—and they also found additional complications of the aortic valve. And with what Jill said at the sale – none of the options they got were very humane:

“The doctors just kept talking about the surgeries. They basically explained that every child with HLHS—whether it’s the least severe case or the most severe case—must have three open heart surgeries at a very young age. The first open heart surgery is performed in the first week of life. The second open heart surgery is at six months. And then there is the third open heart surgery and finally waiting for a transplant. And if they’re lucky enough to get a heart and if the body accepts it, then every 10 years after that, they’re back on the heart transplant list because hearts last 10 to 15 years. So even the best scenario was still a very bleak prospect.

Just horrible – no infant should have to suffer like this and no parent should have to see their child go through that.

Fortunately, the couple had a supportive family to help them figure out what to do next – but they noticed that no one at the hospital was there to help:

“It was almost like, ‘You have to plan this whole thing.’ You have to go and figure it all out.”

The former pageant contestant was also experiencing heartbreak like no other, as she couldn’t move on until it was over:

“Every time I felt her move it was like a dagger to the heart. And the mental toll: I was grieving the loss of my baby while still carrying her and also waiting to be cared for so I could begin the healing process.

Just annoying. If this type of health care was more accessible, women like Jill wouldn’t have to go through such mental anguish! Democrats have been saying this for decades.

At 25 weeks pregnant, however, she was able to undergo the operation. Which was not an easy task because she had to go all the way to Washington DC and come back home right after:

“I had to get on a plane after giving birth, in full contractions because my uterus was shrinking. The worst thing I’ve ever done was get on a plane to travel home the day after I dropped it off. All of these things are structurally insane.”

Miss South Carolina said the place she went to originally had a 2 week wait – but now it’s an 8 week wait! More women need these procedures (and before they reach a certain gestational age) and they cannot get them in time.

Because of this sad truth, Jill and Matt started The Ivy Grace Project to draw attention to issues such as these:

“All you hear about in this conversation is rape, incest, protecting the mother’s health if she is at risk. Well, there is no mention of fetal damage. No one even knows what a fetal abnormality is unless you have known someone who has had one and or heard a testimony from a woman who has had one. But I want to be clear: There are a lot of people walking this earth with HLHS. There are many moms out there who have children with HLHS. And I don’t want to remove them in any way. These children, their stories should be written, they should be where they are. And that is their story. This is just my experience and story.”

If you want to learn more about the cause, you can click here.

Thoughts, Perezcious readers?

[Image via Instagram/jillperryhairstudio]

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