Texas women give harrowing testimony on impact of state’s extreme abortion ban
Image: Samantha C outside the court in Austin, who was forced to give birth to a baby who died four hours later as a result of a fatal birth defect.
Texas women who were denied abortions took the stand and delivered harrowing testimonies of their experiences of carrying life-threatening pregnancies as a result of the state’s highly restrictive abortion laws. The women are part of a lawsuit filed in March 2023 by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is seeking clarification on which situations fall under the “medical emergency” exception in the Texas law. The lawsuit appears to be the first of its kind, in which women who were denied abortions are suing a US state since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
One woman, Samantha C, discovered her baby had anencephaly at 20 weeks but was offered only funeral home information by the hospital. Amanda Z developed sepsis after she was refused an abortion when her waters broke at 18 weeks. Her doctor told her that a miscarriage was inevitable, but because the fetus still had a heartbeat, they could not induce labour. She inevitably developed sepsis (because her cervix was open), and only then did the hospital act. She was left with scar tissue and a blocked fallopian tube.
On the second day of the hearing, physicians who practise medicine outside Texas testified that Texas’ abortion laws are confusing and make it difficult to provide necessary care to patients. They were joined by a physician in Texas, who was pregnant herself, and who delivered emotional testimony about having to go out of state to get an abortion.
The Texas abortion restrictions may be fuelling a sudden spike in infant mortality as women are being forced to carry non-viable pregnancies to term. Some 2,200 infants died in Texas in 2022 – an increase of 227 deaths, or 11.5%, over the previous year, according to preliminary data. Infant deaths caused by severe genetic and birth defects rose by 21.6%, reversing a nearly decade-long decline.
SOURCES: The Guardian, by Maya Yang, 20 July 2023 ; ABC News, by Nadine El-Bawab, 20 July 2023 ; CNN, by Isabelle Chapman, 20 July 2023 ;
19-year-old charged in Northeast Nebraska late abortion case gets 90 days in jail
A young woman, now age 19, was found guilty of having an illegal abortion at 29 weeks of pregnancy at age 17, on one count of removing/concealing/abandoning a dead human body, and was sentenced to 90 days in the County Jail. She agreed to a plea bargain that included two years of probation after serving time. Her mother was also on trial for helping her daughter to end her pregnancy, and then to burn and bury the fetus. Initially, she had been charged with performing an abortion by a non-licensed doctor and concealing the death of another person, but accepted a plea bargain as well. She was soon to be sentenced when this report was published.
SOURCE: KTIV, by Dean Welte, 20 July 2023