A friend introduced her to her sister, Callie Lingo, at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. Callie remembers that when she and Cade met, it was “a connection at first sight.”
A month after college graduation, Callie and Cade married in Marble Falls, Texas. They both pride themselves on being Texan native – Callie’s family has lived there for generations and Cade’s ancestors are among the “Old Three Hundred” of Texas, the original family that joined Stephen Austin to settle the area in the 1800s Were.
At the time, both DeSpains were completely anti-abortion.
“I was just your quintessential pro-life Texan,” Kelly, 29, told CNN in a recent interview.
“I was raised in central Texas by extremely Republican parents and grandparents,” said 31-year-old Cade. “One hundred percent pro-life.”
A year after their marriage, Callie miscarried at 16 weeks and was hospitalized for serious complications, including blood clots and infection. It was one of three abortions that occurred in the early years of their marriage.
“It made me realize that pregnancy can be dangerous,” she said. “It made me think about my younger sisters, and I wished they might have a choice if they ever had to do something like this.”
Last September, when a restrictive anti-abortion law went into effect in Texas, Kelly took to Facebook to request people to contact their elected representatives to protect abortion rights.
In November, Callie and Cade were overjoyed to learn that she was pregnant. Filled with hope, he posted ultrasound photos and a video of a penis showing a cannon shooting blue confetti. They named their child Finlay.
Then about three months later, they learn that Finlay has heart, lung, brain, kidney and genetic defects and will either be dead or die within minutes of birth. Carrying her at term put Kelly at higher risk for serious pregnancy complications, including blood clots, preeclampsia, and cancer.
Still, he could not get an abortion in Texas and fled to New Mexico.
Callie said through tears, “I’ve never felt more betrayed than in a place I was ever so proud of.”
“How can you be so cruel as to pass a law that you know will hurt women and you know that babies will be born in pain?” He added. “How human is he? How is he saving someone?”
CNN emailed Texas lawmakers who wrote or sponsored the state’s anti-abortion laws. Neither of them responded to CNN’s questions.
a serious prognosis for their child
When Callie and Cade found out she was pregnant, they were expecting a “sticky baby”—a pregnancy that would last after her three miscarriages.
One of his doctors told him, “Some of these things can be cured, but all of these things together — it can’t be cured,” recalls Callie.
But the doctor said she couldn’t offer them an abortion in Texas. She said the only option to get one was to travel out of state.
Callie’s life in danger
Callie’s life could be in danger if Finlay was pregnant.
Callie said she considered risking her life to lead Finlay to term.
“I [wanted] to say goodbye,” she said. “I [wanted] chance to catch him.”
But then he wondered how Finlay would suffer if he struggled to breathe.
“He’s going to suffocate, he’s going to die, and I’m going to see him do it,” she said.
For Cade, there was only one option: There was no point risking his wife’s life to have a child, who was sure to die quickly.
Cade told Callie “‘I’ll support you whatever decision you make, but I really don’t want to lose both of you,'” Callie recalls.
The DeSpains didn’t have enough money — Callie said she was docked at work because she had too many sick days — so Cade asked a relative to give her $3,500 as “the epitome of a Trump fanboy.” calls for. , The relative softened when Cade said without an abortion, he might end up a widower at age 30.
Cade said he didn’t like asking for money, but “my job as a husband is to protect my wife and love her. If I’m not fighting to keep her here, I’ve failed.”
Callie had a miscarriage in March when she was 19 weeks pregnant.
‘I’m still very angry and hurt’
While legislators did not respond to CNN’s questions about Kelly’s case, the president of Texas Right to Life did.
John Seago said that “Texas law is very clear under what circumstances abortion can be performed” and “what happened [Kailee] And the response of his physicians was a complete misinterpretation of the law. And this should never have happened.”
“They don’t exactly describe the situations when an abortion can be provided,” Keith said.
Callie said her doctors told her they could abort her only if she was at imminent risk of dying — essentially if she was “‘dying on the table.’ ,
If a physician is found to be in breach of the law, there can be harsh punishments: hefty fines, loss of their medical license and potentially life in prison.
Also, citizens can file lawsuits against physicians they believe have performed illegal abortions, and if they win, they could receive a $10,000 reward. If the doctor is at wrong and the doctor wins the lawsuit, the doctor still has to pay his own legal fees, as Texas law specifically prohibits doctors from charging a plaintiff.
“Facing the potential of becoming a criminal and facing life in prison just for trying to care for patients has been horrifying and I would be lying if I said I had not considered leaving the state,” Dr. Leah Tatum, a spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who practices in Austin, Texas, and has treated patients in conditions similar to Kelly’s since the passage of Texas’s anti-abortion laws.
Callie says the last time she saw her obstetrician, he advised her not to get pregnant in Texas.
“She said ‘It’s not safe,'” remembers Callie. “She said, I need to look at you. I need you to understand that if you get pregnant in Texas and if you have complications, I can’t intervene until I can prove it.” Give that you’re going to die.” ,
The DeSpains say they are thinking of leaving Texas, but leaving their jobs and their families will be difficult.
Callie said she’s sharing her story in hopes of raising awareness so that “stories like mine can change enough voters’ perspectives.”
CNN’s Nadia Kaunang and John Bonifield contributed to this report.