Photographer Lindsey Paradiso first shared her story about her experience with late-term abortion in October of last year, but amidst the current political climate, she's sharing it again to educate others. After Virginia began considering a ban on abortions after 20 weeks in December, Paradiso's story began trending on Facebook again, and she spoke to BuzzFeed this week about the heartbreaking reasons she underwent a late-term abortion. Her original Facebook post, which has now been shared more than 116,000 times, shows how much families can go through when deciding to terminate a pregnancy. Paradiso revealed that their daughter, Omara, had developed an inoperable brain tumor in the womb and would not live until birth. The tumor, discovered during an 18-week ultrasound, was monitored until Paradiso was 23 weeks along, when doctors discovered that it had tripled in size and had grown into Omara's chest, lungs, head, and eyes.
"It was aggressive lymphangioma, and it was three times the size of her head by now and they were 99% sure it was fatal," Paradiso told BuzzFeed. Paradiso's doctors believed that the tumor would kill Omara at 27 weeks, forcing Paradiso to carry her deceased daughter. She and her husband then made the decision to have doctors perform a procedure during which a lethal injection is administered to the baby, and labor is induced afterwards. "If we had waited past the window of a legal abortion and she died in my womb, I would have had to carry her body (while my body began breaking it down) before being scheduled for a D&C or EXIT procedure (due to the size her tumor would have been)," Paradiso wrote in her Facebook post. "We opted to end the pregnancy early, relieve the suffering that she and our family were experiencing and deliver her through labor fully intact. Because of this decision we were able to hold her and say good-bye." Though abortion is legal in Virginia during the first trimester, it is illegal during the third trimester unless it would result in the "death, physical or mental impairment of mother.” Paradiso told BuzzFeed, "if there was an abortion ban, I worry that I would've been forced to carry her and never been able to hold her in my arms." Paradiso first shared her story after Donald Trump made incorrect statements about "partial-birth abortion." Now, she's hoping that her story shows people the heartbreaking reality of late-term abortions, and just how dangerous an abortion ban can really be.