Lindsey And Matt
Photographer Lindsey Paradiso and her husband Matt live in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Paradiso posted pictures about her abortion at 23 weeks, back in October of 2016, and the post was shared over 100,000 times.
She explains how she chose to abort a pregnancy that she wanted, explaining how it wasn’t a way out or a form of birth control, but just heart breaking.
At 18 Weeks
In February, Paradiso had already named her 18 week old fetus, choosing the name Omara for their daughter. It was during this ultrasound that doctors found something was wrong with the baby. A tumor called teratoma was found on her neck and an MRI was ordered. Three weeks later Paradiso got the horrible news that the tumor had tripled in size and had grown into the baby’s head, chest, lungs, and eyes. Worst yet. It was inoperable. “The doctor told us it was in our best interest to terminate the pregnancy because her dying was pretty inevitable… but we didn’t want our baby to die… we wanted to give Omara a fighting chance,”
Paradiso did not want to terminate, and chose to wait until she was at the 27 week mark to deliver her and give her a fighting chance, even though it might mean she could risk infertility. “We had to have her delivered early by an EXIT procedure, which is basically like a larger and riskier C-section, because her tumor was so massive that at 27 weeks she would be too big to deliver vaginally,”
Before Paradiso could get to the 27 week mark, doctors told her that the tumor would kill Omara. “I was willing to risk never having kids again with the EXIT procedure if it meant Omi could survive, but now that we knew she would probably die before viability, the thought of also being infertile was too much for us,”
Paradiso decided to have a lethal injection to deliver her baby before 27 weeks, just so she could hold her. She endured 40 hours of painful labor just to be able to say goodbye. The baby’s heartbeat stopped on February 26th, and Paradiso delivered her on February 28th.
In this picture, the tumor had been drained, but you can still see how massive it was.
Legalities Of Abortion
Because Omara was given a lethal injection in order to induce a vaginal delivery, saving Paradiso from the risk of becoming infertile through an EXIT procedure, it was considered an abortion. In Virginia, first trimester abortion is legal, but second trimester abortions are legal only at licensed hospitals, while third trimester abortions can only be done under certain circumstances.
Paradiso has joined a pro-choice advocacy group called NARA “I testified in front of the general assembly in Richmond last week in support of two women’s reproductive rights bill because the best way to affect legislation is to tell personal stories of how that legislation would’ve affected you had it been in place.”