For Philly woman, Trump's abortion claim is a personal affront

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Cecily Kellogg, whose blog post was about the fact that abortions late in pregnancy can be a matter of life and death.

Pundits and fact-checkers pounced at the moment Donald Trump declared in the presidential debate Wednesday that without the federal ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, "in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip it out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby."

Cecily Kellogg also went on the attack -- but for her, the issue is deeply and angrily personal.

The Philadelphia marketer and social media manager was deathly ill with a pregnancy-related condition called preeclampsia when she underwent an abortion at 23.5 weeks, she wrote Thursday on medium.com.

"Once I was admitted to the hospital, I started getting sicker," she wrote in an impassioned, obscenity-laced post. 

"I started vomiting. My blood pressure soared. My head hurt so badly I thought it would kill me. I stopped producing urine as my organs began to shut down. I was moments away from seizures, comas, and death -- yes, DEATH -- when a team of doctors surrounded my bed and told me I had to terminate the pregnancy or my son and I would BOTH die."

Kellogg, 48, has written repeatedly about her harrowing 2004 abortion at Pennsylvania Hospital "because people keep saying s- like what Trump said in the debate last night."

During the debate, Trump was asked whether he supported the federal ban on the procedure known medically as "intact dilation and evacuation."  He used the opportunity to blast opponent Hillary Clinton's abortion stance. (Clinton voted against the ban because it did not have an exception to save the health of the pregnant woman.)

"Based on what she's saying, and based on where she's going, and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable," Trump said during the third and final debate.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research center that supports abortion rights, 43 states prohibit abortions after the fetus could survive outside the womb, usually with exceptions to  preserve a woman's health. Fewer than 2 percent of abortions in this country happen after 21 weeks, late in the second trimester. During the national debate over dilation and extraction a decade ago, opponents of the ban conceded that some procedures were done on healthy women with healthy fetuses.

But Kellogg's blog post was about the fact that terminations occurring very late in wanted pregnancies  may be a matter of  life and death.

Kellogg wrote that she "fought like hell to get pregnant," resorting to in vitro fertilization with her husband because of infertility problems. They were thrilled when she became pregnant with twins. But during a routine ultrasound appointment at 23.5 weeks -- the edge of viability, when a fetus can survive outside the womb -- doctors discovered that one twin had died.

Kellogg herself was so sick, with dangerously high blood pressure, that she was hospitalized immediately.

In an interview Friday, Kellogg said, "The doctors hoped that getting me on magnesium and fluids, encouraging my organs to work again, they could keep me going a couple weeks" so the surviving twin could be delivered.

Instead, her condition worsened. Doctors ruled out inducing labor as too dangerous. A cesarean section was also rejected. The only alternative, she said, was to abort the second twin. Doctors told her he would not survive if born, and she could lose the ability to have another child.

"They worried that I would lose my uterus if I had a c-section," Kellogg said. "I'm so glad they didn't risk it.  My daughter was born in 2006."

Over the years, she said, writing about her abortion has become a chance to educate women about preeclampsia, connect with others who suffered late pregnancy terminations -- and explore common ground with abortion opponents.

"I've heard from people who are very pro-life who were able to see some gray in an issue they used to see as black and white," Kellogg said. "Even some people I'd never agree with have become Facebook friends."

She has not had any reaction to her latest post from Trump, who is quick to tweet about perceived insults.

"That would be really hilarious," she said. "If he were to communicate with me, I would screen-shot the hell out of it" and share it on social media.