Should Mothers Be Forced to Bear Disabled Children Against Their Will?

Twenty-week abortion bans compel women to carry profoundly disabled children to term.

Washington, DC, USA --- Human fetus at National Museum of Health and Medicine
National Journal
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Oct. 10, 2013, 5 p.m.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — On their way to the ul­tra­sound ex­am, Ab­bey and Kyle Sanders stopped at Ba­bies”R”Us. They picked out a navy sun­dress with white flowers for a girl, navy shorts with white stripes for a boy. Close friends were in­vited over for a “gender re­veal” party the next day. Ab­bey was nearly 20 weeks preg­nant.

“It’s a little girl,” the ul­tra­sound tech­ni­cian said. Ab­bey star­ted cry­ing. “You’re hav­ing a daugh­ter!” she said to Kyle. Ab­bey texted her moth­er: healthy baby girl. Kyle no­ticed that the poker-faced tech­ni­cian didn’t of­fer any re­as­sur­ance about the baby’s health.

The doc­tor walked in. “I’m very con­cerned,” he said, and Ab­bey’s tears turned to sobs. He re­ferred the couple to a high-risk fetal-medi­cine spe­cial­ist, who did a more soph­ist­ic­ated ul­tra­sound and found that the fetus’s brain was fail­ing to di­vide and was grow­ing out­side the skull, a cham­ber was miss­ing from the heart, and there was a prob­lem with the kid­neys.

“Is there any chance of the baby sur­viv­ing?” asked Kyle, an Air Force pi­lot. “No. This baby will not sur­vive to term” was the re­sponse.

The new­ly­weds were dev­ast­ated. The baby’s kicks now felt like a tor­tur­ous re­mind­er that they would nev­er be par­ents to this child. She was dy­ing. The right thing to do, the mor­al thing to do, Ab­bey and Kyle be­lieved, was to ter­min­ate the preg­nancy. A suc­tion abor­tion this late in preg­nancy could have dam­aged 29-year-old Ab­bey’s cer­vix, so four days after the second ul­tra­sound, a doc­tor in­jec­ted the baby with a heart-stop­ping drug.

And then they waited. For nine days, they barely left the house. Ab­bey spent most of the time curled up in bed. She felt what she thought were con­trac­tions and went to the hos­pit­al, but was told to come back the fol­low­ing day. Ten days after the in­jec­tion, Ab­bey checked in­to the ma­ter­nity ward. She was barely show­ing, un­like all the oth­er fully dis­ten­ded moth­ers around her.

She was giv­en a drug to ac­cel­er­ate the con­trac­tions and an epi­dur­al for the pain dur­ing labor. In con­trast to the cries she and Kyle heard down the hall, their still­born baby was si­lent. They held the 8-ounce in­fant wrapped in a pink blanket and cried. They were asked if they wanted a pic­ture or hand­print. No, thank you, they said, head­ing home to grieve.

Her name was Amelia. The date was Aug. 3, 2012.

Sev­en months later, the Arkan­sas Le­gis­lature banned wo­men from get­ting abor­tions after 20 weeks of preg­nancy. Ab­bey had been a day or two over that line when her preg­nancy ended. The law in­cludes ex­cep­tions for rape and in­cest vic­tims and for health emer­gen­cies in­volving the wo­man, but not for fetal ab­nor­mal­it­ies.

Had the law been in place last year, Ab­bey would have had to con­tin­ue an ag­on­iz­ing preg­nancy, pos­sibly for weeks, and any doc­tor will­ing to end it would have risked a felony charge. An early ul­tra­sound and a blood test had de­tec­ted noth­ing wrong. Ab­bey had asked for the second scan at 19 weeks, ex­cited to find out the baby’s gender, but the doc­tor’s of­fice urged her to wait a few days. Ul­tra­sounds are typ­ic­ally done at 20 weeks to get a clear look at de­vel­op­ing or­gans, es­pe­cially the heart. It can take sev­er­al days, even weeks, to sched­ule ad­di­tion­al tests, weigh the res­ults, and ar­range for an abor­tion. There’s only one clin­ic in Arkan­sas that provides second-tri­mester abor­tions, aside from some private hos­pit­als.

Ab­bey, a nurse who comes from a con­ser­vat­ive Chris­ti­an fam­ily in Ok­lahoma, nev­er labeled her­self “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” Now she pic­tures thrust­ing her sono­gram and med­ic­al files at the law­makers who voted for the abor­tion ban. “Would you let your own baby die slowly like that?” she would ask them. “If your wife was in these cir­cum­stances, would you force her to carry that baby?” She adds now, “I don’t think I could have gone on any longer, and any wo­man who was forced to would have lost her mind.”

Twelve states, as well as the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, have voted to out­law abor­tion after 20 weeks — the ex­act mo­ment when some par­ents are just learn­ing about severe or even fatal de­fects. Only Geor­gia, Louisi­ana, and Texas in­clude ex­cep­tions for fetal impair­ment. And while these 20-week bans af­fect a tiny frac­tion of abor­tions — only 1.3 per­cent oc­cur after 21 weeks, the bench­mark used by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment — they pre­dom­in­antly tar­get wo­men who are car­ry­ing gravely im­paired ba­bies or whose preg­nan­cies are put­ting their own health at risk. With very few ex­cep­tions, these are wo­men who had every in­tent to carry their ba­bies to term un­til forced, at five months preg­nant, to make a swift and ex­cru­ci­at­ing de­cision.

“Our ex­per­i­ence has been that par­ents who have gone through this don’t talk about it,” Kyle says. “We wanted to tell our story for the people who didn’t feel like they could. A fam­ily friend said it was like join­ing a secret club that no one wants to join.”

Ban­ning abor­tions after 20 weeks rep­res­ents the new fron­ti­er of the an­ti­abor­tion move­ment, aimed at push­ing past the bound­ar­ies set by the Su­preme Court in 1973. The Roe v. Wade de­cision leg­al­ized abor­tions un­til a fetus is vi­able out­side the womb, around 24 weeks. The an­ti­abor­tion move­ment’s case for earli­er re­stric­tions is that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, but the ul­ti­mate goal is much more sweep­ing: to send a leg­al chal­lenge to the Su­preme Court that would over­turn Roe. 

The con­sti­tu­tion­al im­plic­a­tions aren’t lost on Ab­bey, who em­phas­izes that she lives in Arkan­sas only be­cause her hus­band is sta­tioned there. She’s also seen him through de­ploy­ments to Ir­aq and Afgh­anistan. “I would have had to leave the state as a mil­it­ary spouse to get an abor­tion,” Ab­bey says. “That seems un­fair when I don’t have a choice about where I live. I think it’s un­con­sti­tu­tion­al, and my hus­band sup­ports and de­fends the Con­sti­tu­tion on a daily basis.”

There are also pub­lic-policy con­sequences. Half of the dozen states that have passed 20-week abor­tion bans — Alabama, Arkan­sas, Geor­gia, Louisi­ana, Ok­lahoma, and Texas — are in the South, which has the highest poverty and un­in­sured rates and the low­est me­di­an in­comes in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the Census Bur­eau. That means fam­il­ies in these states are among the most dis­ad­vant­aged when it comes to caring for un­wanted and dis­abled chil­dren. Arkan­sas, for ex­ample, ranks near the bot­tom in un­in­ten­ded and teen preg­nancy rates (46th), num­ber of doc­tors per res­id­ent (44th), and pub­lic health as meas­ured by obesity, smoking, and dia­betes (48th), ac­cord­ing to data from non­profit or­gan­iz­a­tions and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Nearly one in five people in Arkan­sas have no health in­sur­ance. About the same pro­por­tion are liv­ing be­low the fed­er­al poverty line.

“The very same folks who are adam­ant about wo­men not hav­ing choice [on abor­tion] are not equally as adam­ant about mak­ing sure the safety nets are in place for the par­ents and the chil­dren,” says Demo­crat­ic state Rep. Joyce El­li­ott, who rep­res­ents a pre­dom­in­antly low-in­come, black dis­trict near Little Rock. “There is a mor­al im­per­at­ive to en­sure such safety nets are there.”


The gen­es­is of the 20-week ban on abor­tion was the 2009 murder of one of the only late-term abor­tion pro­viders in the coun­try, Dr. George Tiller. He was work­ing as an ush­er Sunday morn­ing at his church in Wichita, Kan., when an an­ti­abor­tion act­iv­ist shot him in the head. A friend and col­league who as­sisted him part time in Wichita, LeRoy Car­hart, vowed to pick up the torch by per­form­ing late-term abor­tions at his own clin­ic in sub­urb­an Omaha, Neb. Ground zero of the abor­tion battle moved one state to the north, as con­ser­vat­ive law­makers feared Neb­raska was be­com­ing the late-term abor­tion cap­it­al of the Mid­w­est.

Enter Mary Spauld­ing Balch, a soft-spoken, Pep­perdine-trained law­yer who has worked at Na­tion­al Right to Life for 25 years. After hear­ing about the con­cerns in Neb­raska, Balch draf­ted a bill called the Pain-Cap­able, Un­born Child Pro­tec­tion Act. To abor­tion-rights act­iv­ists, the bill was par­tic­u­larly dan­ger­ous be­cause it moved the needle to­ward over­turn­ing Roe v. Wade by tap­ping in­to pop­u­lar dis­com­fort with late abor­tions. A United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll in Ju­ly found that a plur­al­ity, 48 per­cent, of Amer­ic­ans, sup­por­ted a ban on abor­tions after 20 weeks, ex­cept in cases of rape and in­cest. Re­cent sur­veys by Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity and ABC News/Wash­ing­ton Post found even high­er, ma­jor­ity sup­port for cut­ting off abor­tions after 20 weeks.

“The idea of the un­born child’s pain was something we knew the Amer­ic­an people could em­brace,” says Balch, hailed as the ar­chi­tect of the 20-week strategy. “My job is to hu­man­ize the un­born child, and if this is the tool that does that, I’m happy to be part of it.” 

Her mod­el le­gis­la­tion was cir­cu­lated around the coun­try, and three years later, 12 states have ad­op­ted bans on abor­tions after 20 weeks. Court chal­lenges have blocked the re­stric­tions in Ari­zona, Geor­gia, and Idaho. (A court has also blocked an Arkan­sas law that bans abor­tion after just 12 weeks of preg­nancy, passed in the same le­gis­lat­ive ses­sion as the 20-week ban, which still stands.) In Ari­zona, Mari­copa County At­tor­ney Bill Mont­gomery has asked the U.S. Su­preme Court to con­sider a fed­er­al Ap­peals Court rul­ing that struck down that state’s 20-week ban. The an­ti­abor­tion es­tab­lish­ment wel­comes the leg­al battles. “We are open to a chal­lenge be­cause we think it’s one we can win,” Balch says.

While sty­mied at the fed­er­al level by the Demo­crat­ic Party’s con­trol of the White House and the Sen­ate, an­ti­abor­tion act­iv­ists have staked out friendly turf with­in state cap­it­als since the Re­pub­lic­an wave of 2010. In Arkan­sas, Re­pub­lic­ans net­ted a num­ber of le­gis­lat­ive seats that year, and in 2012 won con­trol of both cham­bers for the first time since Re­con­struc­tion.

The im­pact was dra­mat­ic and im­me­di­ate. In 2011, 10 of 11 an­ti­abor­tion bills failed, many of them blocked by the Demo­crat­ic chair­wo­man of the House Pub­lic Health Com­mit­tee, Linda Tyler. She lost a state Sen­ate bid the fol­low­ing year to a fiddle-play­ing, tea-party con­ser­vat­ive, Jason Rapert. Two weeks after the start of the 2013 le­gis­lat­ive ses­sion, the newly min­ted state sen­at­or in­tro­duced a bill mak­ing it a crime to per­form an abor­tion if a fetal heart­beat could be de­tec­ted. That threshold can come as early as six weeks in­to a preg­nancy.

Rapert, an or­dained min­is­ter and the own­er of a fin­an­cial-ser­vices com­pany, doesn’t sug­ar­coat his view of wo­men’s motives in seek­ing abor­tion. “Amer­ica, quit us­ing abor­tion as birth con­trol,” he ad­mon­ished dur­ing an in­ter­view in his le­gis­lat­ive of­fice.

The 41-year-old fath­er of two daugh­ters, who has a buzz cut and fa­vors dark, pin-striped suits, wiel­ded in­cen­di­ary com­par­is­ons to make his case. Abor­tion op­pon­ents are like ab­ol­i­tion­ists, he said. Roe v. Wade is like the 1857 Su­preme Court’s Dred Scott de­cision, which denied cit­izen­ship to Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans. Abor­tion is one of the worst at­ro­cit­ies in hu­man his­tory, com­par­able to the re­cent gass­ing of in­no­cent ci­vil­ians by Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar al-As­sad.

“When you think of tra­gedies, you think of gen­o­cide, of the Holo­caust “¦ you think of Rwanda, you think of 9/11, but what about us?” Rapert de­mands. “What about in­sert­ing a device in­to a wo­man to suck and tear apart a fetus in her womb? Who’s the mon­sters? We are leg­ally tak­ing the lives of in­no­cent chil­dren.”

By the time Rapert’s bill passed, the dead­line was amended from de­tec­tion of a heart­beat to 12 weeks, still leav­ing it one of the most re­strict­ive in the coun­try. Demo­crat­ic Gov. Mike Beebe ve­toed that bill as well as the 20-week ban, ar­guing that their un­con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity would cost the state in leg­al fees; the Le­gis­lature over­turned both ve­toes. In one of the most suc­cess­ful le­gis­lat­ive ses­sions ever for an­ti­abor­tion act­iv­ists, Arkan­sas also banned in­surers in the ex­change cre­ated by the new health care law from cov­er­ing abor­tion, re­quired abor­tion clin­ics to re­port child ab­use and to pre­serve fetal tis­sue from abor­tions on minors un­der 14, gave preg­nant wo­men the right to use deadly force to de­fend their un­born child, and ex­pan­ded the fetal-hom­icide law to cov­er an en­tire preg­nancy (so that a drunk driver, for ex­ample, who kills a preg­nant wo­men could also be charged with killing a fetus less than 12 weeks old).

“Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen Arkan­sas be­come one of the most pro-life states in the na­tion,” says Jerry Cox, founder of the Arkan­sas Fam­ily Coun­cil, a lead­ing an­ti­abor­tion group. “It took a lot of hard work, go­ing up to the Cap­it­ol year after year, time after time.”

The nat­ive Arkansan in a short-sleeved plaid shirt poin­ted to memen­tos of his achieve­ments in his small, wood-paneled of­fice: the pen former Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Mike Hucka­bee used to sign a law re­quir­ing wo­men to get in­form­a­tion about the med­ic­al risks of abor­tion; a let­ter signed by former Demo­crat­ic Gov. Bill Clin­ton sup­port­ing a law re­quir­ing minors to no­ti­fy their par­ents. Cox’s earli­est vic­tory was a 1988 amend­ment to the state con­sti­tu­tion that bans pub­lic fund­ing for abor­tion and de­clares: “The policy of Arkan­sas is to pro­tect the life of every un­born child from con­cep­tion un­til birth, to the ex­tent per­mit­ted by the Fed­er­al Con­sti­tu­tion.” That means Arkan­sas is well po­si­tioned to en­act even stricter abor­tion lim­its if Roe v. Wade is re­versed, says Cox, who backed both the 12-week and 20-week bans passed by the Le­gis­lature. “Let’s throw whatever we can against the wall and see what sticks,” he says.

Bet­tina Brown­stein is on the oth­er side of that fight. The South­ern Cali­for­nia nat­ive looks the part of a pro­gress­ive act­iv­ist with dark-framed glasses and sil­very spiky hair. She’s the Amer­ic­an Civil Liber­ties Uni­on law­yer rep­res­ent­ing the state’s lone sur­gic­al abor­tion clin­ic in chal­len­ging the 12-week ban, which has been tem­por­ar­ily blocked.

“It is such a no-brain­er that this is not con­sti­tu­tion­al,” Brown­stein says over a bur­ger and fries, be­tray­ing the wear­i­ness she feels from 25 years of fight­ing for abor­tion rights in Arkan­sas. She’s con­fid­ent that the 20-week ban is also un­con­sti­tu­tion­al but con­ceded, “It’s more sens­it­ive in terms of the mes­saging.” That law has not been yet chal­lenged in court.

The 12-week ban would have a much lar­ger im­pact than the 20-week ban. Of the 3,782 abor­tions re­por­ted to the Arkan­sas Health De­part­ment last year, the vast ma­jor­ity — 3,148 — oc­curred in the first tri­mester. Only 64 came at 20 weeks of preg­nancy or later.

“It’s like a wave across the coun­try with all of these Re­pub­lic­an le­gis­latures mov­ing in­to that thin edge of the wedge,” Brown­stein says. “I don’t think they can over­turn Roe v. Wade, but they will drive out the abor­tion pro­viders. There’s the leg­al — and then there’s the prac­tic­al.”

Case in point: Neb­raska’s law ban­ning abor­tion after 20 weeks worked ac­cord­ing to plan, even­tu­ally for­cing LeRoy Car­hart to be­gin see­ing pa­tients in­stead in Mary­land, a state far more pro­tect­ive of abor­tion rights, and leav­ing wo­men in the Mid­w­est seek­ing second- and third-tri­mester abor­tions in the lurch.

Among the dis­orders that can go un­detec­ted un­til 20 weeks or af­ter­ward, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­ic­an Con­gress of Ob­stet­ri­cians and Gyneco­lo­gists, are anen­cephaly, a fatal con­di­tion in which the brain is miss­ing; ren­al agen­es­is, in which miss­ing kid­neys also cause death be­fore or shortly after birth; limb-body wall com­plex, in which the or­gans are out­side the body cav­ity; hy­dro­cephaly, in which ex­cess­ive flu­id ac­cu­mu­lates with­in the brain; and oth­er severe brain and heart de­fects.

To abor­tion op­pon­ents like Cox, ex­cep­tions for wo­men such as Ab­bey Sanders who re­sort to a late-term abor­tion be­cause of un­fore­seen com­plic­a­tions are not jus­ti­fied. “The dif­fi­culty with fetal ab­nor­mal­it­ies is that there’s a slip­pery slope for the med­ic­al com­munity and par­ents,” he said. “Is Down syn­drome an ab­nor­mal­ity? Spina bi­fida? Doesn’t that cre­ate a search-and-des­troy sys­tem where only the per­fect chil­dren get to be born, and the im­per­fect ba­bies are abor­ted?”

Cox con­cedes, however, that the safety net for wo­men who would be forced to carry un­wanted or dis­abled ba­bies is “very lim­ited.” An an­nu­al re­view by the An­nie E. Ca­sey Found­a­tion that ex­am­ines eco­nom­ic prosper­ity, edu­ca­tion, health, and fam­ily sta­bil­ity ranked Arkan­sas chil­dren 40th in the coun­try. The costs of rais­ing a dis­abled child — in­clud­ing dir­ect, out-of-pock­et costs and the in­dir­ect im­pact on the fam­ily’s earn­ing po­ten­tial — can run as much as $30,500 a year, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished by a col­lab­or­a­tion between the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion and the Woo­drow Wilson School of Pub­lic and In­ter­na­tion­al Af­fairs at Prin­ceton Uni­versity. The costs vary widely de­pend­ing on the type of dis­ab­il­ity and the pub­lic re­sources avail­able for dis­ad­vant­aged chil­dren.

Yet the over­lap between states with tough­er abor­tion re­stric­tions and lower stand­ards of liv­ing is rarely men­tioned in the well-worn de­bate that pits wo­men’s re­pro­duct­ive free­dom against the rights of the un­born. One study cited by the Guttmach­er In­sti­tute, a re­search group that sup­ports abor­tion rights, es­tim­ated that more than 4,000 wo­men were denied abor­tions in 2008 be­cause of gest­a­tion­al age lim­its and were forced to carry un­wanted preg­nan­cies to term. Most of the wo­men said they were delayed by the costs of abor­tion, in­sur­ance prob­lems, and lack of ac­cess to med­ic­al care.

The 20-week abor­tion ban that passed the House in June did not in­clude an ex­cep­tion for fetal ab­nor­mal­it­ies. Three months later, the House voted to slash $40 bil­lion over the next dec­ade from the food-stamp pro­gram; nearly half of the pro­gram’s re­cip­i­ents are chil­dren.

“However you feel about abor­tion, you can an­ti­cip­ate high­er costs if you pre­vent it, and I don’t think states are pre­pared to deal with that,” says Dean Baker, cofounder of the non­par­tis­an Cen­ter for Eco­nom­ic and Policy Re­search. “If these states aren’t pre­pared to in­crease fund­ing for Medi­caid and for chil­dren with dis­ab­il­it­ies, someone is go­ing to suf­fer.”


Arkan­sas law­makers nev­er got to hear Ab­bey Sanders’s story be­fore they passed the 20-week ban. She wasn’t ready to speak pub­licly earli­er this year. Le­gis­lat­ors heard an equally emo­tion­al story, however, from the bill’s spon­sor, state Rep. Andy May­berry, and his wife, Ju­lie, at a key House com­mit­tee meet­ing — a story that had a pro­foundly dif­fer­ent out­come.

Ju­lie May­berry de­scribed her­self as a former abor­tion-rights sup­port­er who be­came a born-again Chris­ti­an after mar­ry­ing Andy 16 years ago. “I had a hus­band who prayed for me,” ex­plained the at­tract­ive former tele­vi­sion broad­caster in an in­ter­view. She was 19 weeks preg­nant when they were told their baby had spina bi­fida, an open­ing in the spin­al cord that can cause severe phys­ic­al and men­tal dis­ab­il­it­ies. As the doc­tor ex­plained their op­tions, Andy and Ju­lie stopped him be­fore he got to abor­tion. They wouldn’t con­sider it.

“Without chal­lenges, we don’t have cham­pi­ons, and if you abort these ba­bies be­fore they even have the right to life, you have not giv­en the op­por­tun­ity for all of us to see what God had planned for this child,” Ju­lie tear­fully told the House com­mit­tee in Janu­ary. “Some of those, un­for­tu­nately, it will end up that that child may die, but that’s when God says I’m ready to take this child home with me. It gives clos­ure to those fam­il­ies when they give birth to these ba­bies and they see them and they can hold them and they can have a prop­er buri­al for them.”

The couple held a joint press con­fer­ence one month ago to an­nounce his cam­paign for lieu­ten­ant gov­ernor and her cam­paign to suc­ceed him in the Sen­ate. She runs a non­profit that of­fers dance and mu­sic classes for kids with dis­ab­il­it­ies, while he serves on the board of Arkan­sas Right to Life.

Their daugh­ter Katie is now 11. She’s in a wheel­chair and faces myri­ad health prob­lems that have war­ran­ted 16 sur­ger­ies. She’s also a former Little Miss Wheel­chair Arkan­sas, a straight-A stu­dent, and a mem­ber of her church youth choir. They have three oth­er daugh­ters, ages 14, 9, and 7.

“I think every life has value, and I be­lieve it is the gov­ern­ment’s re­spons­ib­il­ity to stand up for the most de­fense­less and in­no­cent among us,” says Rep. May­berry, sit­ting next to his wife in a booth in the state Cap­it­ol’s cafet­er­ia. He said the gov­ern­ment also has an ob­lig­a­tion to provide a safety net for poor and dis­abled chil­dren once they are born; he’s work­ing on pla­cing a nurse in every pub­lic school.

Un­like the Sanderses, the May­berrys were nev­er told that their baby was go­ing to die. Still, after hear­ing the story of Ab­bey Sanders’s preg­nancy, they main­tained that abor­tion is nev­er the right choice, adding that doc­tors are some­times mis­taken about a baby’s pro­gnos­is. ” ‘Value life and the mo­ments that you have with them, and make the most of it.’ That’s what I would be telling that moth­er,” Ju­lie says. ” ‘Turn this around. Are we go­ing to look at a glass and say it’s half empty or half full? I like to ex­pect mir­acles.’ “

The Sanderses are just as cer­tain about the choice they made as the May­berrys. Ab­bey and Kyle are look­ing for­ward to hav­ing an­oth­er baby, and there’s little chance of an­oth­er rare, chro­mo­somal de­fect. But Ab­bey is clear about one thing: She will not get preg­nant again in Arkan­sas. The couple won’t try again un­til Kyle’s re­as­sign­ment to Col­or­ado goes through. Start­ing a fam­ily will have to wait.