Five women are suing the state of Texas, saying they were denied an abortion despite dangerous risks to their health, and are pushing for the state to clarify the law’s exceptions.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was named a defendant for the lawsuit, along with the state medical board. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Paxton said he is “committed to doing everything in his power to protect mothers, families and unborn children, and he will continue to defend and enforce the laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature.”
The lawsuit against the state reads, “With the threat of losing their medical licenses, fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and up to 99 years in prison lingering over their heads, it is no wonder that doctors and hospitals are turning patients away — even patients in medical emergencies.”
The five women and two doctors suing the state are being represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights in a 91-page lawsuit.
Following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, when responsibility over abortion laws was returned to the states, Texas was one of the first states to implement a new law, SB8, that took effect in September 2021.
“The law enabled individuals to file civil lawsuits worth tens of thousands of dollars against anyone found to have provided an abortion, or helped a patient get one. The law includes limited exceptions for medical emergencies,” according to NPR.
The lawsuit says four of the five women went out of state to obtain emergency medical procedures.
The petition against Texas says that, “as a direct result of Texas’s abortion bans, Texas is in the midst of a health care crisis. Amanda Zurawski, Lauren Miller, Lauren Hall, Anna Zargarian, Ashley Brandt, and countless other pregnant people have been denied necessary and potentially life-saving obstetrical care because medical professionals throughout the state fear liability under Texas’s abortion bans.”
A PBS news report said, “The group wants clarification of the law, which they say is written vaguely and has made medical professionals wary of facing liability if the state does not consider the situation a medical emergency.”
Paxton said he will “continue to defend and enforce the laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature.”