2023 Excellence in Social Justice Reporting, Single Story finalist

Doctors Warned Her Pregnancy Could Kill Her. Then Tennessee Outlawed Abortion.

About the Project

This article takes readers deep inside the story of a woman who was denied an abortion for a life-threatening medical condition after Tennessee’s strict abortion ban went into effect. Since Roe was overturned, many articles have documented cases of patients who were denied abortion care even when they faced dire medical complications. This story stands out because it captures in visceral detail the perspectives of both the patient affected and the doctors who cared for her, as well as the aftermath, to help readers understand the impact of abortion bans.

By writing deeply about the patient’s history and the reasons why she could not travel for an abortion, the story also provides a window into understanding the people most affected by abortion bans — women with precarious finances and possibly ensnared in the criminal justice or child welfare systems, who can’t afford another disruption to their lives.

The story also follows the patient and her baby after surviving the dangerous birth, to show the ongoing consequences of abortion denial. The story also provides history and context, to explain how an abortion ban with no exceptions was passed in the first place, and is visually impactful.