AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amanda Zurwaski burst into tears just as she boarded her flight to go visit her brother heading into the weekend.
This happened as she received news a Texas judge issued a temporary injunction over exceptions to state abortion laws. The ruling blocks elements of Texas’ abortion ban for people with severe pregnancy complications.
Zurwaski was one of the five plaintiffs who sued the state after they said they were denied abortion access, despite having pregnancy complications that risked their lives or the life of their baby.
“We’re just so excited and proud that a court of law acknowledged and ruled that we were harmed and this is wrong, and it shouldn’t be happening,” Zurwaski said.
The ruling clears things up for doctors on when they can provide abortions. Those cases include medical conditions that pose a risk of infection or unsafe pregnancy that could pose a risk to the mother’s health, medical conditions that are exacerbated by pregnancy and fetal conditions where the fetus is unlikely to survive.
In October 2022, Zurawski spoke to KXAN about what she described as a near-death experience.
“Had been through about a year and a half of fertility treatment, so it was just beyond exciting to be carrying my first baby,” she said. “Then, I was diagnosed with a condition where I was dilating prematurely and that condition would lead to an inevitable miscarriage. But rather than being able to intervene, my doctors could not provide an abortion because the baby’s heart was still beating, and my life wasn’t considered at risk…We just had to wait for one of those things to change before they could provide health care.”
From there, Zurawski said her body went into septic shock, and she spent a week in the hospital. Just months later, she became a primary plaintiff in the lawsuit, Zurawski v. State of Texas. She’s taking on the state, fighting for women like herself.
“The Court finds that there is uncertainty regarding whether the medical exception to
Texas’s abortion bans… permits a physician to provide abortion care where, in the physician’s good faith judgment and in consultation with the pregnant person, a pregnant person has a physical emergent medical condition,” the ruling states.
A hearing in July lasted two days, and women shared vivid testimonies of their experiences that they said put them in dangerous situations because of Texas’ new abortion laws.
“The hearing was horrific,” Zurawski said. “It was extremely traumatic, it was excruciatingly painful. “[But], I would do it all over again in a heartbeat because it got us to where we are today.”
In March, the Center for Reproductive Rights sued the state on behalf of two OB-GYNs and 13 women after they said they were denied abortion access, despite having pregnancy complications that risked their lives or the life of their baby.
Texas’ overarching law will remain in place. That means most Texans will still be unable to get abortions in the state. The injunction is temporary until this case can go to trial in March 2024.
“We would love if the the ruling that the judge laid down yesterday was permanent,” Zurawski said. That’s what we’re asking for…but on a larger scale, I hope that this is giving a voice and giving courage to folks in other states who might be under similar restrictions, similar bands, and that will be able to fight a similar fight…we’re very hopeful that this is just the beginning of a bigger movement.”