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US: Texas women denied abortions sue state

March 8, 2023

The Texas law is one of the strictest in the country and like many other US states with a near-blanket ban, it only allows doctors to perform abortions for women with grave health risks.

Women standing behind a podium
In their lawsuit, the women are seeking more clarification on the abortion law in Texas Image: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images

Five women have sued the state of Texas after they were denied abortions despite serious risk to their lives.

In their lawsuit filed on Monday, the women are seeking more clarification about the consequences for doctors in case they provide abortions. The lawsuit said the doctors are denying abortions to women with health complications because they fear they will be prosecuted for it.

This is the first case of women suing the state since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the US Supreme Court last year in June.

The Texas law is one of the strictest in the country and only allows abortions when doctors find grave risks to the life of the women.

The lawsuit argues that the Texas law is unclear and provides grounds for doctors to believe they will lose their licenses and face up to 99 years in prison which leads them to denying abortions even if exceptions apply.

"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 representing the women.

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Voicing her support for the women, US Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday said the lawsuit, "includes devastating, first-hand accounts of women's lives almost lost after they were denied the health care they needed."

Women share their ordeal

One of the plaintiffs, Amanda Zurawski, was  denied abortion even when she was hospitalized with a premature rupture of membranes which meant her fetus was not going to survive.

"I cannot adequately put into words the trauma and despair that comes with waiting to either lose your own life, your child's life or both," the 35-year-old said.

She was forced to wait for an abortion until she developed an infection and lost a fallopian tube.

The other four women had to travel out of the state to get an abortion.

mf/jsi (AP, AP, Reuters)