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READ: Under DeSantis’s Abortion Ban, Florida Mother Faces Heartbreaking Situation

Under Ron DeSantis’s abortion ban, a new report out today highlights how a Florida mother faces the heartbreaking situation to carry a fetus that has little chance of survival. Since signing Florida’s current ban into law, DeSantis has indicated support for the state passing an even stricter ban. 

WFLA: ‘Parent’s worst nightmare’: Lakeland woman must give birth despite baby having little chance of survival

Deborah Dorbert was excited to be a mom again.

When Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Florida banned abortions after 15 weeks, she did not think it would affect her.

“Never thought I would be stuck right in the middle of it, the laws changing,” she said.

At her 23-week appointment, she said her obstetrician noticed an abnormality. It was confirmed a week later by a maternal fetal medicine doctor. Her baby had “Potter Syndrome.”

Dorbert’s pediatrician, Dr. David Berger explained to News Channel 8 that the fetus is not developing kidneys or making amniotic fluid. Without amniotic fluid, the baby’s lungs will not develop correctly.

“I’m in a lot of pain and discomfort,” said Dorbert.

Doctors do not expect babies with Potter syndrome to survive longer than a few hours after birth. 

The diagnosis led to a decision Dorbert, a mother of one, never thought she would make. She wanted to terminate the pregnancy.


After consulting with her doctors at Lakeland Regional Health, Dorbert said, while supportive, they said they could not sign off on the procedure.

Florida law now bans abortions after 15 weeks.

There is an exception for fatal fetal abnormalities, if the fetus “has not reached viability,” according to the law.

“In my week 23 ultrasound, in the report, it says the baby is viable,” Dorbert said. 


Dorbert is now having to carry the baby to term.


But Dr. Berger, Dorbert’s primary care doctor, said in the medical field, fetus viability happens at 23-24 weeks, when Dorbert learned the news of her baby’s diagnosis.

“Pass a law that defines viability in the way she describes it. That’s not how the medical community determines it. Be more specific. Don’t have ambiguities in your laws,” said Dr. Berger.


She is planning a delivery, post-birth care and a funeral.


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