Women and OB-GYNs sue Texas over vague abortion ban, citing cruelty | World News - Hindustan Times
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'Imprisoned in my own body,' Women and OB-GYNs sue Texas over vague abortion ban, citing cruelty

Jul 21, 2023 10:42 AM IST

Three women and two OB-GYNs are suing Texas over its abortion ban, claiming it is vague and cruel.

Three women and two OB-GYNs are suing the state of Texas over its abortion ban, which they say is vague and cruel.

Samantha Casiano and Luis Villasana stand outside the courtroom at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas on July 19, 2023. A Texas state court will hear arguments from both sides in Zurawski v. State of Texas, a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of thirteen Texas women denied abortions despite serious pregnancy complications. (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP)(AFP)
Samantha Casiano and Luis Villasana stand outside the courtroom at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas on July 19, 2023. A Texas state court will hear arguments from both sides in Zurawski v. State of Texas, a lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of thirteen Texas women denied abortions despite serious pregnancy complications. (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP)(AFP)

They are asking a judge to clarify what constitutes a medical emergency that would allow them to terminate their pregnancies.

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The lawsuit began with two days of hearings on July 19, where the women shared their stories of carrying nonviable fetuses and being denied abortions. One of them, Samantha Casiano, vomited on the stand as she recalled her ordeal.

Casiano testified that she was diagnosed with anencephaly at 20 weeks gestation. Anencephaly is a serious birth defect that causes a baby to be born without parts of its brain and skull, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Casiano said her doctor only gave her information about funeral homes and did not offer her an abortion. She said she considered going out of state for an abortion but feared losing her job or facing legal consequences.

“I felt like I was imprisoned in my own body,” she said.

Casiano went into early labor and delivered Halo, who died four hours later.

“I now have a psychiatrist,” Casiano said. “I now vomit a lot more. I’ve never vomited before like that, ever, before my pregnancy. My body’s never reacted that way.”

The judge called for a recess after Casiano threw up while reading a doctor’s note that described her pregnancy as high-risk. She said the memory of her trauma triggered her physical reaction.

Two other women — Amanda Zurawski and Ashley Brandt — also testified about their nonviable pregnancies.

Zurawski is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. She said she almost died from sepsis after her water broke at 18 weeks and she was not allowed to have an abortion.

Brandt is a woman from Dallas who said she had to travel to Colorado to have an abortion while pregnant with twins. One of the twins had acrania, a fatal condition that prevents the skull and brain from developing properly, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Brandt said the longer she carried the nonviable fetus, the more it endangered the other twin.

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Brandt said she “would have had to give birth to an identical version of my daughter without a skull and without a brain and hold her until she died.”

The women blamed Texas’s unclear abortion law for their suffering. Dr. Damla Karsan, an OB-GYN from Houston, also testified that she did not know how to interpret the law.

The hearings will continue on July 20 with more testimonies from doctors and experts.

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