By ACACIA CORONADO
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Five women who said they were denied abortions even when pregnancy endangered their lives are suing Texas over its abortion ban, the latest legal fight against state restrictions since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
The lawsuit filed Monday in state court said the Texas law, one of the strictest in the country, is creating confusion among doctors, who are turning away some pregnant women experiencing health complications because they fear repercussions.
Similar legal challenges to abortion restrictions have arisen in states across the country since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. As clinics have shuttered in Republican-dominant states with strict abortion bans, some patients have had to cross state lines.
According to the Texas suit brought by the women and two doctors, one of the women was forced to wait until she was septic before being provided an abortion and four others were forced to travel out of state to receive medical care after their health was endangered by their pregnancies.
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.
In an email Tuesday, a spokesman for Texas Attorney General Ken 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.”
Doctors in the state now face felony criminal charges if they perform an abortion in all but limited cases in which they life of the patient is in danger.
According to the lawsuit, one of the doctors, Damla Karsan, “has seen that physicians in Texas are even afraid to speak out publicly about this issue for fear of retaliation” and has witnessed how “widespread fear and confusion regarding the scope of Texas’s abortion bans has chilled the provision of necessary obstetric care, including abortion care.”
“As a direct result of Texas’s abortion bans, Texas is in the midst of a health care crisis,” the lawsuit said.