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Austin couple moves out of Texas to start family following Roe v. Wade overturn and miscarriages

Rachel and Jared Bentley have experienced several miscarriages and a stillbirth, which risked Rachel's life. They say they aren't taking any more risks.

AUSTIN, Texas — Jared and Rachel Bentley say the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June pushed their decision to leave Texas to start a family, and they feel safe about it.

"We've been trying to start a family since January 2021," Rachel Bentley said.

Movers have already come for the couple's belongings, emptying their Austin apartment they had hoped to stay in a little longer. The Bentleys moved here six years ago, and have since grown a community of friends-turned-family.

"We were absolutely expecting to start our family here," Jared Bentley said. "It feels weird and sad driving down South Lamar and some of the back streets, knowing it's for the last time."

The Bentleys are moving to Virginia, where both grew up in a small towns and are high school sweethearts. Their families still live there, but moving to Virginia was not really in their cards until later in life.

"[We moved here] for a change of pace and scenery. We wanted to see what else was out there. So we visited Austin once and immediately loved it, so we moved here," Rachel Bentley said.

Since the start of last year, she has experienced several miscarriages. Her most recent one was just this month.

"I had a positive test and several days later I had the miscarriage. It was a chemical pregnancy," she explained.

But in March of 2022, the Bentleys discovered they were pregnant. Later, they learned they were having a girl. In June, things took a turn.

Rachel Bentley was diagnosed with incompetent cervix, which is when weak cervical tissue causes or contributes to premature birth or the loss of an otherwise healthy pregnancy.

“The cervix just starts to open too early, it’s like the pressure from the baby, the placenta ... your cervix just can’t hold it,” she explained.

The day after, she went into labor and had an acute placental abruption. Doctors gave her an epidural, but her labor slowed and did not make progress for 18 hours. She began hemorrhaging.

Jared Bentley said for those 18 hours, he watched his high school sweetheart bleed and her blood pressure spike, then go dangerously low. He said her doctors were too scared to step in to help, because of the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade at the time.

"I feel like I had no skillset to help her other than sit beside her," he said. "To watch this and then be told, 'We have to call lawyers because we have to make sure your wife isn’t going to die,'… it was shocking.”

Rachel Bentley said that because her daughter still had a heartbeat, doctors couldn't do anything without making phone calls to see what they were allowed to do.

“I’m lucky I went into labor like I did because otherwise I likely would’ve just bled out. And I know the law states if the mother is in distress or if her life is on the line, but I mean, at what point do you make that decision?” she said.

On June 20 at 4:29 p.m., Rhone Willow Bentley was delivered stillborn. 

The Bentleys believe Rhone's life could have been saved if doctors had stepped in sooner, knowing more today about incompetent cervixes than they did when they experienced it.

On June 24, the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade. It was this that would push the Bentleys to leave the capital city of Texas that they love so much.

“I don’t want to be in a situation like that again where I might not make it that time," she said.

Her husband agreed.

"It’s not worth the risk in any capacity," he said.

The couple said they have mixed feelings packing up the last of their belongings.

“We’ve had three pregnancies in this apartment and I just feel like this is the only place we’ve ever really been a family," she explained through tears.

The Bentleys said they found healing through donated pregnancy loss books they read while in the hospital over the summer. Now they have a box of their own books to donate that they say were "paramount" to their healing.

The Bentleys are hopeful for their future in Virginia. They already have a new team of doctors there to help them begin growing their family.

“When we finally have living kids ... changing diapers, a baby crying, like, that to me will be the happiest thing," she said.


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