5 Women Sue Texas over Being Denied Abortions

March 7, 2023

Five women filed suit against the state of Texas on Monday, saying they were denied abortions despite grave risk to their lives or fetuses.

In their lawsuit, they ask a state court in Austin for a ruling clarifying that a doctor cannot be prosecuted for providing an abortion if in the doctor’s good faith judgment the abortion is necessary to end a threat to the patient’s life or health.

The Texas abortion code, the legal complaint asserts, “contains conflicting language across the different sections regarding physician discretion and intent. This leaves physicians uncertain whether the treatment decisions they make in good faith, based on their medical judgment, will be respected or will be later disputed.”

Texas is among 13 states with abortion bans that theoretically allow exceptions in cases of medical emergency. However, the lawsuit asserts that the unclear language in the Texas law has led doctors to refuse to perform abortions for fear of losing their licenses or facing up to 99 years in prison.

Texas banned abortion soon after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, which overturned Roe v Wade and the Constitutional right to abortion.

Four of the women suing Texas had to travel out of state to obtain abortions in order to avoid serious medical complications. A fifth woman was hospitalized in Texas with a premature rupture of membranes, which meant that her fetus could not be saved. However, she was not given an abortion until she developed a severe infection, according to the lawsuit.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had no immediate comment to the lawsuit.

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