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Who is Jill Hartle? Former Miss South Carolina was forced to carry unviable fetus until 25 weeks

The former beauty queen said she learned her fetus had a severe heart defect at her 18-week scan
Jill Hartle was forced to carry a fetus with severe heart defect until 25 weeks (Screenshot/Ivy Grace Project YouTube)
Jill Hartle was forced to carry a fetus with severe heart defect until 25 weeks (Screenshot/Ivy Grace Project YouTube)

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: Jill Hartle, who was Miss South Carolina in 2013, was advised by her doctor at 18 months that her fetus' heart did not appear to be developing normally. However, because of Roe v Wade overturn, she would not have had the same options had she chosen to terminate her pregnancy, as her state of South Carolina had just passed a law banning abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.

Hartle, 35, revealed to People that her best friend had aborted a pregnancy years earlier after discovering an irreversible heart condition. Hartle was given the same prognosis at 22 weeks. She understood that it meant her fetus had little chance of surviving.


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Hartle had an abortion at 25 weeks in Washington, DC after waiting for a month for a follow-up scan and dealing with extended waits for out-of-state appointments. Hartle and her companion hail from "a conservative Christian family" and were raised in South Carolina, according to People. She said, "I was raised in a very conservative family and have always considered myself aligned with the Republican party, but I have always been pro-choice," she added, "We do come from a conservative Christian background, but we also come from a place of empathy and compassion and non-judgment."

Hartle claimed that she and her husband, Matt, were concerned for their future daughter when they learned that Roe v Wade had been reversed. When Hartle learned about her fetus' health issues, she was 14 weeks pregnant but hadn't thought about having the pregnancy terminated. Early scans had revealed a growing, healthy fetus. She found out she was having a girl about 12 weeks into her pregnancy. Hartle stated that the doctor informed her that "her heart is not what we want it to look like" at her subsequent examination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the OB-GYN stated that the fetus most likely had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), an incurable disorder where half of the heart is undeveloped. Hartle had to wait an additional month for a further scan to confirm the diagnosis. Prior to the overturning of Roe v Wade, she said that her doctors had recommended she wait. 

Hartle claims that after establishing the severity of her fetus' condition, her doctors informed her that infants with HLHS often need at least three open-heart surgery. The infant would still require a heart transplant even after those operations, and probably more down the road as donors' hearts don't survive forever. "We decided that the best thing for our particular case and our particular daughter, Ivy Grace, was to just give her the most peaceful possible way to heaven and to be healed and to be free and never feel a moment's pain," Hartle told People.

Hartle described the search for care as "excruciating" and "logistically insane," and she expressed hope that more people will be made aware of situations like hers, where even a planned pregnancy may result in abortion.