After losing baby due to medical issues, Ridgefield woman worried about future of abortion rights

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RIDGEFIELD — When Staci Pambianchi heard the recent news about the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the court could overturn Roe v. Wade, it really hit home for her and her wife, Emily.

Three months ago, when Pambianchi, a Ridgefield resident, was 10 weeks pregnant, she had an emergency dilation and curettage.

Two weeks later, her insurance company labeled her procedure “a surgical abortion.”

“I found it incredibly hard to take after I had gone through IVF (in vitro fertilization) to get this baby,” said Pambianchi, who is 30.

While Connecticut law protects women’s right to an abortion, if Roe v. Wade — the 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States — is struck down by the Supreme Court, Pambianchi has concerns about the safety of other women and potential penalization in certain states that don’t have a law similar to this state’s.

Her procedure was considered an abortion because the fetus was surgically removed from her body.

“She (the fetus) was not removing herself from my body on her own,” Pambianchi said.

If Pambianchi didn’t have the procedure done, doctors told her she could have died.

“She had passed inside me. Her brain stopped developing and so her heart stopped,” she said. “I could have had severe complications and an infection.”

The road to pregnancy

Pambianchi said while the road to getting pregnant has been hard, she and her wife won’t give up on their dream of becoming parents.

“We’ve been trying. We got married a little over a year ago. We’ve been together for about three years and really early on, we decided we wanted kids,” Pambianchi said.

Through a fertility clinic, they learned Pambianchi has genetic condition called a terminal deletion.

“This means I can get pregnant with a male but (the child) would be severely disabled and may not make it through the pregnancy because of where the deletion is on my chromosomes,” she said.

“So, we did IVF,” she said.

Six embryos took. However, five were genetically not normal.

If overturned, there are concerns about access to IVF for those looking to grow their family, especially in certain states depending on how fertilization is defined.

“So if (it’s overturned) that would have meant that all those babies that were not viable for life, I would have still have to carry,” she said. “They would have died, unfortunately, just like my normal tested baby. They wouldn’t have developed properly and they would have died in the womb.”

Pambiachi said her experience has affected her and her wife very deeply.

“It’s awful,” she said. “In light of everything going on, my wife decided to go through IVF and we do have three embryos waiting for us when we decide to try again.”

She said “a very hard part” about those who go through fertility and changes to Roe v. Wade “is obviously the babies are very wanted and they’ve tried for for years.”

“I can’t begin to express how many shots and pain and procedures that I have gone through and my wife has gone through,” she said. “I respect anybody who wants a choice with their body. If they don’t want to carry a baby. It’s okay, they shouldn’t have to be forced to carry a baby.”