A Story You Won’t Hear in Florida – #4

Well it was a bad week for abortion rights advocates as Republican majorities in Nebraska and North Carolina continued to restrict abortion access.  Have you noticed that nowhere is this issue put up for a vote anymore.  Nah.  Put t to a vote and it gets defeated every time. The pro-life crowd is jubilant, out there saving babies.

So let me tell you a story.  Not too many folks have heard it.  Didn’t get a whole lot of attention.  Particularly here in Florida among the holier than thou crowd.

But it made the Washington Post and then got attention.  And it went down some 40 minutes from my home.

Milo Evan Dorbert drew his first and last breath on the evening of March 3. The unusual complications in his mother’s pregnancy tested the interpretation of Florida’s new abortion law.

Deborah Dorbert discovered she was pregnant in August. Her early appointments suggested the baby was thriving, and she looked forward to welcoming a fourth member to the family. It didn’t occur to her that fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a half-century constitutional right to abortion would affect them.

A routine ultrasound halfway through her pregnancy changed all that.

Deborah and her husband, Lee, learned in late November that their baby had Potter syndrome, a rare and lethal condition that plunged them into an unsettled legal landscape.

A fetus with Potter’s Syndrome lacks amniotic fluid in the womb, is born with no kidneys and woefully undeveloped lungs.  But it still had a heartbeat.

Without functioning kidneys, a fetus with Potter syndrome cannot produce the amniotic fluid that allows the lungs to expand and cushions the growing body. The babies who survive until birth typically have contracted limbs, club feet and flattened features from being compressed against the uterus wall.

The state’s ban at that time on abortion after 15 weeks has an exception for fatal fetal abnormalities. But as long as their baby’s heart kept beating, the Dorberts say, doctors would not honor their request to terminate the pregnancy. The doctors would not say how they reached their decision, but the new law carries severe penalties, including prison time, for medical practitioners who run afoul of it.

Instead, the Dorberts would have to wait for labor to be induced at 37 weeks.

For the next three months, the Dorberts did their best to prepare for their second son’s short life. They consulted with palliative care experts and decided against trying to prolong his life with high-tech interventions.

The day before inducement they told Milo’s older brother that he would not be coming home.  Tears.

But after Deborah’s 12-hour labor, Milo turned out to be 4 pounds and 12 ounces of perfection, with tiny, flawlessly formed hands and feet and a head of brown hair.

“When he came out you could hear him gasping for air. He was really trying to breathe. … He didn’t cry when he was born and he didn’t open his eyes at all. But I mean, he struggled.” – Deborah Dorbert.

“I thought I had my miracle,” said Peter Rogell, the baby’s grandfather, who attended the delivery. He allowed himself a moment of hope until the obstetrician cut the umbilical cord that for 37 weeks had performed the functions Milo’s underdeveloped lungs and missing kidneys would now take over.

“The most important thing for us was to let him know he was loved,” Deborah said.

Milo remained blue, swaddled in a blanket hand-knit by his great grandmother.

He never cried or tried to nurse or opened his eyes, investing every ounce of energy in intermittent gasps for air.

“That was the beginning of the end,” Rogell said, recalling the persistent gulps that he thought at first were hiccups but turned out to be his grandson’s labored efforts to inhale.

Lee read a book to his dying son – “I’ll Love You Forever,” and sang Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”

For 99 minutes that lasted a lifetime, they cuddled and comforted their newborn.

“The baby just went to my chest, and we just cuddled with him. … My parents held him for a little bit. And we kinda just gave him all the loving until he passed.” – Deborah Dorbert.

At 11:13 p.m., a doctor declared Milo dead.

The nurses took some photos, clipped a few pieces of Milo’s dark brown hair and made imprints of his hands and feet on the inside cover of a book before taking the infant down to the morgue. Milo’s organs were either missing or too damaged to be donated; his body was so small that even his heart valve could not be used to save another baby.

Two weeks later, about 40 of the Dorberts’ friends and family members gathered at Lakeland Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens for a service.

A three-inch-tall silver urn – delivered by Amazon the previous day after other child-sized urns turned out to be much too big – sat on a memorial table with two vases of flowers, carefully picked out at a nearby Publix supermarket, and a photo of Milo, wrapped in the hand-knit blanket and held by his parents in the hospital bed.

Grandpa Rogell lingered at the funeral home at the close of the ceremony, haunted by the sound of Milo gasping for air and the months of suffering he watched his daughter and her family endure.

“To me it’s just pure torture,” Rogell said. “The law has created torture.”

Like many Florida women and families, the Dorberts were financially unable to fly to another state to seek an abortion and had health insurance which would be inadequate in another state.

The mail brings reminders of the Dorberts’ new financial burdens, invoices for all the things they wish had never happened: $12,320 so far in medical costs – not including induction and delivery. More bills have arrived since the WP publication.  Then there’s the $7,000 for Milo’s cremation and burial.

Of course, none of the pro-lifers give a rat’s ass about the bills.  No help will be forthcoming.  They’re just moving on to save another baby.

The Florida Legislature has since passed and il Duce signed a bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Canady, R-Lakeland, that makes abortion illegal beyond six weeks of pregnancy. Health experts have said that many women don’t even know they are pregnant until that point or later.

There is a special place in hell for these folks.

May the Goddess Nemesis, she of retribution to those who succumb to hubris and arrogance before the gods bring a plague on all their houses.  And if you continue to vote for these heartless bastards, you will get no pity from me if you suffer grievous loss.

Much of the above by Frances Stead Sellers,Thomas Simonetti and Maggie Penman, (c) 2023, of The Washington Post


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to A Story You Won’t Hear in Florida – #4

  1. GP says:

    I suppose we need to remind our politicians of the division of church and state.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is just one heartbreaking experience of torture for babies and parents. It’s shameful and this law must be overturned to protect mothers fathers and innocent babies… and the doctors that are forced by threat of imprisonment to do the unthinkable, look the other way.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is sick, just sick. If something like this happens in the politicians’ families, maybe they’ll see the inhumanity of this. Or will they?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paolsoren says:

    What a travesty. There can be no justification for this at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beetleypete says:

    Such a tragic story, and one that will not be read by anyone who really needs to read it. They will not want to be faced with the harsh reality of their decisions.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. beetleypete says:

    Reblogged this on beetleypete and commented:
    This tragic story of the reality of the American abortion ban in some states is one that everyone needs to read. Even if you are not American, similar laws could well be coming to your country. Have some tissues ready, it is heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Don Ostertag says:

    Terrible! Why doesn’t Biden enlarge the Supreme Court and stop them from making horrendous decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is the most horrific story I’ve ever read. I don’t know what’s going on in the USA but it really is terrible.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Yetismith says:

    The Pro-lifers think they are so morally superior because of “all the babies” they save. It does not occur to them that a good proportion of those babies might choose not to be born unwanted. Many will have defects that will beggar the families and what of the child of rape? What of people like the family in this tragic story, put through months of staggering grief? I hope that some of the women who vote pro-life see their chickens come home to roost.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “There is a special place in hell for these folks.” Indeed 😔😔😔

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I heard this story on a national news program–MSNBC. That night I had terrible dreams and the story still haunts me. My wife heard the story and asked, “Why do they hate women and insist on torturer of both the mother and child?”
    Warmest regards, Ed

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Hi Ed. No one picked it up until the Washington Post. I Ilive 40miles away and didn’t hear about util I read it on line. The government has no right to be in our doctor’s office or our bedrooms. Regards

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. They also have no right doing a lot of other things your governor and legislature seem to want to do. They really ought to read our founding documents as originalists or textualists (take your pick, either would be an improvement over what them seem to think is a valid government function. Warmest regards, Ed

        Liked by 1 person

  12. TRAILBLAZER says:

    This is an interesting blog. Keep going and enjoy. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So tragic. Laws are usually made by men, who really have no idea about what it’s like to carry and give birth to a baby. Was the lady not able to travel to another state to have an abortion?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. olganm says:

    There are no words to describe such laws and heartless behaviour. (Well, there are many, but none quite cover it). Thanks for sharing this painful story. I couldn’t agree more with your final words.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.