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Texas Abortion Ban Confusion: Doctors Blamed Amid Legal Uncertainty

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled against plaintiffs in the Zurawski v. Texas case, a significant decision involving over 20 women who claimed that the state’s abortion ban endangers women with pregnancy complications.

The plaintiffs argued the law is too vague about when necessary medical exceptions are allowed. However, the all-Republican court said the law was broad enough and that doctors would be misinterpreting the law by declining an abortion when the mother’s life is in danger.

The case was spearheaded by Amanda Zurawski, who nearly died from septic shock due to pregnancy complications after her doctor stated that Texas law prohibited providing an abortion.

Zurawski said she was forced to wait until she was diagnosed with a life threatening case before being approved an abortion.

“Ms. Zurawski’s agonizing wait to be ill ‘enough’ for induction, her development of sepsis, and her permanent physical injury are not the results the law commands,” the court wrote.

The court also blamed doctors for the decision.

“A physician who tells a patient, ‘Your life is threatened by a complication that has arisen during your pregnancy, and you may die, or there is a serious risk you will suffer substantial physical impairment unless an abortion is performed,’ and in the same breath states ‘but the law won’t allow me to provide an abortion in these circumstances’ is simply wrong in that legal assessment,” the court wrote.

However, critics have long said the law is not clear enough and that doctors fear consequences for providing an abortion. Plaintiffs have also asked for the law or the Texas Medical board to clarify the cases when an abortion can be provided.

The court’s ruling also impacted a similar challenge from Kate Cox, a Dallas woman who argued that her life and future fertility were at risk due to the abortion ban when her fetus was diagnosed with Trisomy-18, a severe genetic disorder. The court stated that abortion is not permitted solely based on a fetal diagnosis but must consider the mother’s physical health in context.

“I am outraged on behalf of my fellow plaintiffs who the Court deemed not sick enough,” Zurawski told the Associated Press. “We all deserve bodily autonomy. Every day, people in Texas are being told that they have no options. It’s sickening and wrong.”

The Texas Medical Board is expected to provide further clarification on medical exceptions.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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