In First-of-Its Kind Legal Challenge, Texas Women Say State Abortion Ban Endangered Their Lives

Common Dreams – By Julia Conley – Mar 7, 2023

Five Texas women are scheduled to speak on the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday about the life-threatening risks posed by the state’s abortion ban and their struggles to obtain necessary healthcare since it went into effect, a day after filing an unprecedented lawsuit challenging the law.

While a number of abortion rights groups, religious organizations, and healthcare providers have filed legal challenges to state abortion bans, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which is representing the plaintiffs, called the lawsuit “groundbreaking” because it has been filed by people who claim an abortion ban put them at risk.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this in the nation, having people with pregnancy complications having to sue the state,” Nancy Northup, president of CRR, toldThe New York Times. “It puts a face on the reality of what it means when you criminalize abortion care. It shows that abortion care is healthcare.”

The five women—Amanda Zurawski, Lauren Miller, Lauren Hall, Anna Zargarian, and Ashley Brandt—are suing officials including state Attorney General Ken Paxton and state medical board executive director Stephen Brint Carlton, and are calling on a state court in Travis County to confirm that the state’s abortion ban allows medical professionals to provide abortion care in cases where the pregnant person has a “physical emergent medical condition” or “where the pregnancy is unlikely to result in the birth of a living child with sustained life.”

The near-total ban on abortion care that went into effect in Texas after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022 ostensibly includes “exceptions,” allowing abortion care to prevent a pregnant patient’s death or “substantial impairment of major bodily function.”

The women represented by CRR say they were denied care despite being pregnant with fetuses that had significant abnormalities, and in some cases developing life-threatening medical conditions.

With Texas doctors desperate to avoid a potential prison sentence, a $100,000 fine, and the loss of their medical license that would result from providing an abortion illegally, journalist Jessica Valenti said the stories of Zurawski and her co-plaintiffs “don’t just demonstrate how dangerous abortion bans are—but that abortion ‘exceptions’ ARE NOT REAL.”

According to the Times, outcry over the impact of abortion bans on women whose lives were threatened “helped build momentum for legalized abortion in heavily Catholic Ireland and in South America.”

The women in the Texas lawsuit are scheduled to speak about their experiences at the state Capitol at 1:30 pm ET on Tuesday.

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Posted by Teri Perticone


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