Over a Dozen Women Suing Texas Over Abortion

"The Texas government must answer for their laws that have nearly killed these women."


Fifteen women are now suing Texas over the state's abortion bans, seeking an injunction to its restrictions in an effort to protect women's health.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the original lawsuit in March, said some of the women it is representing were denied abortions in Texas despite dangerous pregnancy complications.

(Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for the Center for Reproductive Rights)

Announcing eight additional plaintiffs to the case Monday, the organization is asking the court for a temporary injunction to block Texas’ abortion bans as they apply to pregnancy complications while the case proceeds.

“After filing this case two months ago, dozens of women reached out to us to share their similar and harrowing stories,” said Molly Duane, senior staff attorney at CRR, in a press release.

Duane said abortion is a vital part of maternal health care and that decisions around this should be left to patients and doctors, not politicians.

"The Texas government must answer for their laws that have nearly killed these women and that put more lives at risk every day," she said.

Doctors and patients living in fear

Some of the plaintiffs in the Zurawski v. State of Texas case (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for the Center for Reproductive Rights )

The original case, Zurawski v. State of Texas, was filed on March 6, 2023.

The CRR said it is suing Texas to get clarity on what counts as exceptions to the ban, as well as to give doctors the power to make patient-care decisions without fear of prosecution.

Among the state's abortion restrictions is a so-called 'trigger law', which prohibits all abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, but other laws remain including prohibiting abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization and during the third trimester.

The CRR claims that these bans have no exceptions for rape or incest, and the lack of clarity around emergency situations has caused a lot of uncertainty.

Doctors can face up to 99 years in prison, at least a $100,000 fine and the loss of their license, if they violate the state's abortion bans.

Women share impacts of abortion laws' effects

Dr. Austin Dennard, an OBGYN joining the case Monday, found out 11 weeks into her pregnancy that her baby had anencephaly — a condition she knew would make the baby's survival unlikely.

"For me, abortion was the right choice, and having to flee my own state in order to receive one felt absolutely surreal," Dennard said. "Texas has stripped me of my own reproductive rights while simultaneously disassembling the most important foundation of a doctor-patient relationship: trust and open, honest communication."

Plaintiff Jessica Bernardo found out after 14 weeks of pregnancy that her baby had multiple complications and wouldn't survive birth. She also faced the possibility of illness due to her pregnancy.

"My life was on the line, and I might not have made it without an abortion," Bernardo said. "Yet I had to flee my own state and felt like I had to speak to my doctor in code. I was made to feel like I was doing something wrong, but I was just trying to save my own life. The other option was to stay in Texas and possibly die.”

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