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Dr. Emily Zajano Testimony in Opposition to HB 346

My name is Emily Zajano and I ask you to oppose HB 346.

I am a doctor, a mother of two living children, and as I shared yesterday, I am a woman who had two abortions due to complications during a pregnancy with twins. 

The first was due to uterine rupture. 

The second abortion was due to high risk of hemorrhage - again - and miscarriage before viability - born too early for medical interventions to save her life. 

If it had been different and she was born before viability, then let me hold her. 

Let me love her, let her feel my warmth and hear my voice. 

Let her father touch her skin and stroke her hair – he never got to feel her kick from the womb like I did. 

Do not force her into an incubator and medical procedures - with lines, and tubes, and scalpels; ventilators, and monitors, and sterile gloves. 

Let her time be with us, her family. 

And let us decide how that time is spent. Let us build memories of loving her, not watching her suffer.

Families in complex, unexpected, and often heartbreaking situations like ours deserve support, empathy, and options. 

We should be able to make difficult decisions with our doctors, including comfort care for babies who will not survive regardless of medical interventions.

As a mom, this needs to be allowed. This needs to be legal. This is not an appropriate place for political interference. These are impossible decisions to be made by parents, medical experts, the people in that room. 

With all due respect, it is not a decision for the people in a legislative committee room.

As a doctor, I urge you not to force doctors to deny families compassionate care. Don’t threaten them with years of imprisonment to do something that goes against their best medical judgment, against all the facts in front of them. 

I ask you to consider the Hippocratic oath which implores “first, do no harm.” A state mandate for medical interventions that will not change survival outcomes is the definition of harm. 

It denies families the opportunity to hold their baby before they pass - and piles up unnecessary, expensive medical bills for futile “care.” 

I have attended bereavement groups for pregnancy and infant loss. So many families have tokens of their beloved babies: foot prints, locks of hair, family photos. 

There is a woman who makes beautiful baby clothes for infants as small as half a pound, in order for families to be able to dress their loved ones before saying goodbye. 

There is a wonderful device called a CuddleCot, that cools a stillborn infant so the parents can extend their time together before leaving the hospital with empty arms and broken hearts. 

There are systems in place that support families in these unimaginable heartbreaking situations. 

Do not create a system that makes this terrible time worse. 

Please, reject HB 346.


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