The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit Monday challenging Texas’ abortion ban on behalf of five women and two obstetrician-gynecologists, the organization announced Tuesday.
The women bringing the lawsuit each claim they were “denied necessary and potentially life-saving obstetrical care” because medical professionals allegedly fear potential penalties of providing treatment under the ban. Because of the “uncertainty” regarding medical emergency exceptions to the ban, the plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction preventing enforcement of the laws, according to the lawsuit.
Since the ban took effect in September 2021, the plaintiffs claim “millions of people of reproductive capacity in Texas and beyond have been denied dignified treatment as equal human beings.”
“Pregnant people in Texas and throughout the country have suffered unnecessary physical and emotional pain and harm, including loss of their fertility,” the lawsuit states. “These pregnant people are not hypothetical. They are not unknown. They are real people with families, many with children already, and some of them are plaintiffs in this action.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights is a legal advocacy organization that advances abortion worldwide through litigation. It’s also a partner in a program called the Abortion Defense Network, a collaboration between advocacy groups and law firms that works to provide women seeking abortions with legal advice.
Amanda Zurawski, one of the plaintiffs on the case, says she was “forced to wait until she was septic” to receive an abortion, resulting in “one of her fallopian tubes to become permanently closed.”
Last month, Zurawski attended the State of the Union as one of Vice President Kamala Harris’ guests. VP Harris released a statement Tuesday touting her record of defending abortion and voicing the administration’s support for the lawsuit.
“Many extremist ‘so-called’ leaders espouse ‘freedom for all,’ while directly attacking the freedom to make one’s own health care decisions,” Harris said. “Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, the President and I believe women – in consultation with their doctors – should be in charge of their reproductive health care, not politicians.”
1) A lawsuit was just filed against Texas’ #ProLife laws. 5 women argue they were denied abortions when their pregnancies endangered their lives. These are tragic situations that we take seriously. In reality is that the law is clear that Drs can intervene immediately… #txlege
— Texas Right to Life (Text ProLife to 40237) (@TXRightToLife) March 7, 2023
“These are tragic situations that we take seriously,” Texas Right to Life said in a statement on the case, still noting that the doctors handling these women’s cases “misunderstood or were [misled]” on Texas law.
Delaying treatment for a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or medical emergency is “malpractice” that is “completely inconsistent” with Texas law, the organization said.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office similarly pointed to a guidance letter he released following the overturn of Roe v. Wade last summer, which explicitly notes an exception to the ban where the mother has “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places [her] at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless the abortion is performed or induced.”
“Attorney General Paxton is committed to doing everything in his power to protect mothers, families, and unborn children, and he will continue to defend and enforce the laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature,” Jarrod Griffin, Press Secretary for Attorney General Paxton, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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