It was nearly two months ago when five Texas women who were denied abortions despite grave risks sued the Lone Star State. The New York Times noted that their litigation marked “the first time that pregnant women themselves have taken legal action against the bans that have shut down access to abortion across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.”
As we discussed soon after, the women who filed the case actually wanted to be pregnant — until they learned about their tragic circumstances, including two fetuses that had no skulls.
Legal filings can sometimes be dry and technical, but this lawsuit was a qualitatively different kind of document. As my MSNBC colleague Jordan Rubin explained, the filing detailed “the gruesome reality of life in a post-Roe America, specifically in Texas.” The Times’ report added that one of the plaintiffs, Amanda Zurawski, “was told she was not yet sick enough to receive an abortion, then twice became septic, and was left with so much scar tissue that one of her fallopian tubes is permanently closed.”
“You don’t think you’re somebody who’s going to need an abortion, let alone an abortion to save my life,” Zurawski said. “If anybody reads my story, I don’t care where they are on the political spectrum, very few people would agree there is anything pro-life about this.”
This week, Zurawski testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on abortion policy, and as HuffPost noted, she at one point had a specific audience in mind: her own senators.
Amanda Zurawski tore into GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas at a Senate hearing on Wednesday over the state’s abortion ban, saying she “nearly died on their watch” after being denied care in a pregnancy crisis.
“I wanted to address my senators, Cruz and Cornyn, neither of whom, regrettably, are in the room right now. But I would like for them to know that what happened to me ... it’s a direct result of the policies that they support,” Zurawski said in gripping testimony. “I nearly died on their watch and furthermore, as a result of what happened to me, I may have been robbed of the opportunity to have children in the future.”
“I wasn’t permitted to have an abortion and the trauma and the PTSD and the depression that I have dealt with in the eight months since this happened to me is paralyzing,” Zurawski added. “On top of that, I am still struggling to have children.”
Cornyn and Cruz are both members of the Judiciary Committee, but neither Texas Republican was in the room when their constituent testified about her harrowing experience.
Here’s hoping someone brought the GOP senators up to speed on what they missed.
As for the pending lawsuit that Zurawski is a part of, revisiting our earlier coverage, it’s true that under Texas’ GOP-imposed law, physicians are able to terminate pregnancies after six weeks if there’s “substantial” harm to pregnant women. But since no one seems to know what exactly that means, doctors — fearing enormous financial penalties and possible prison sentences — have refused to treat many patients in need of reproductive care.
In fact, as a recent Times report added, some Texas physicians have been afraid to even mention the possibility of abortion, “or to forward medical records to another provider.”
The litigation asks the courts to help establish clear boundaries that Republican policymakers failed to create. The case is currently pending in state court. Watch this space.