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Five women sue Texas following denial of life-saving abortions

The women seek clarity on “medical emergency” exception after being denied abortions despite facing life-threatening health risks.

Five women have filed a lawsuit against Texas after being denied abortions due to the state’s near-total abortion ban while facing life-threatening health risks.

Four of the five women stated they had to travel out of state to obtain abortions to avoid fatal medical complications. The fifth was not given access to abortion until she developed a severe infection that put her in intensive care. She had already lost the fetus.

The Center for Reproductive Justice represented these five women in the Zurawski v. State of Texas case. The lawsuit is the first on behalf of women denied abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Doctors and hospitals in Texas can face up to 99 years in prison and fines of at least $100,000 for carrying out abortions. The lawsuit proposes that the fear of prosecution is deterring them from carrying out the procedure, even in medical emergencies. According to the Center, the state has yet to provide clear guidance on the ban despite requests from healthcare providers.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Amanda Zurawski, said, “Texas officials claim the bans they passed protect ‘life,’ but there’s nothing pro-life about them. I nearly died as a direct result of the anti-abortion restrictions in Texas. What’s more, they put the lives of my potential future children at risk, as the damage done to my body has already had a negative impact on my reproductive health.”

Dr. Damla Karsan, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, joined the lawsuit as plaintiff. She stated the Texas bans prevented her and other doctors from providing the medical care that their patients need.

“As an OB-GYN, I have been providing maternal healthcare to Texans for many years. Abortion has always been a critical component of that care…But since Texas’s abortion bans took effect, my hands are tied in many situations… We need clarity on what kinds of patients we can help without losing our license or ending up in jail,” said Karsan.

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Center Sues Texas on Behalf of Women Denied Abortions After Facing Dangerous Pregnancy Complications | Center for Reproductive Rights