Women sue Texas over abortion ban, say it risked their lives
AUSTIN, Texas — Five women who said they were denied abortions even when pregnancy endangered their lives are suing Texas over its abortion ban, the latest legal fight against state restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
The lawsuit filed Monday in state court said the Texas law, one of the strictest in the country, is creating confusion among doctors, who are turning away some pregnant women experiencing health complications because they fear repercussions.
“Nobody should have to wait until they are at death’s door to receive health care,” said Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is providing legal representation for the women.
Similar legal challenges to abortion restrictions have arisen in states across the country since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. As clinics have shuttered in Republican-dominant states with strict abortion bans, some patients have had to cross state lines.
According to the Texas suit brought by the five women and two doctors, one woman, Amanda Zurawski, was forced to wait until she developed blood poisoning before being provided an abortion. The four others had to travel out of state to receive medical care for pregnancy-related complications after doctors recommended an abortion because of the deteriorating condition of the woman, the baby or a twin — care that could not be legally provided in Texas.
“My doctor could not intervene as long as her heart was beating or until I was sick enough for the ethics board of the hospital to consider my life at risk and permit the standard health care I needed at that point,” Zurawski said Tuesday at a news conference, recalling her pregnancy after 18 months of fertility treatment with a baby she named Willow.
The group wants clarification of the law, which they say is written vaguely and has made medical professionals wary of facing liability if the state does not consider the situation a medical emergency.