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Texas | Five women testify after being blocked from having abortions in their state



(Austin) “It kills me that my own state doesn’t care if I live or die”: in an unprecedented complaint and during a rare public speaking, five Texan women told on Tuesday how they had been denied a abortion despite serious complications.

These women have gone to court in this conservative American state to ask it to clarify the “medical exceptions” to the laws which prohibit local doctors from performing pregnancy terminations, under penalty of heavy fines and imprisonment.

According to the organization Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents them, this is the first complaint filed by American women who have been refused abortions since the United States Supreme Court blasted the right to abortion in June. ‘abortion.

Beyond the legal aspect, it is also a question of showing Americans “the concrete implications” of the restrictive laws adopted by fifteen states after this historic judgment.

The complaint “contains frightening, direct testimonies from women who nearly lost their lives after being denied treatment,” said Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris in a statement.

“In 2023, in the United States, these stories are shameful and unacceptable,” added White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, denouncing “the extremist efforts of Republicans to take away women’s freedom of choice”.

” Russian roulette ”

At a press conference in Austin, in front of their state parliament, the plaintiffs explained that they experienced a first trauma when they discovered, after a few weeks of desired pregnancy, that their fetus was not viable.

When the bag of waters broke, months before the end, “my heart broke into millions of pieces”, confided, very moved, Anna Zargarian, 33 years old.

“I wanted to curl up and cry,” added Lauren Miller, who, pregnant with twins, learned in the second trimester that one of the fetuses had fatal malformations. “But I couldn’t because I had to arrange to have an abortion outside of my state, to give the other baby a chance to survive,” the 35-year-old explained.

Both took a flight to Colorado, where it is possible to abort late in a pregnancy. It was “the most frightening experience of my life”, assured Anna Zargarian: “it was like playing Russian roulette: I could have a hemorrhage, an infection or go into labor at any time”.

They were able to receive the desired care and Lauren Miller, who appeared in front of the media with a very plump belly, is due to give birth at the end of the month.

” Despair ”

At 18 weeks pregnant, Lauren Hall had discovered that her fetus had no skull and could not survive. She had traveled to Seattle to have an abortion at a clinic where she was greeted by “protesters who called me a killer by holding up posters of dead babies”.

Pregnant again, she said “to be afraid of everything”, “to watch every little pain for fear of finding herself in this unbearable situation again”.

For her part, Amanda Zurawski, 35, successfully terminated her pregnancy in Texas, but had to wait three days after her water broke because her hospital refused to intervene until she showed signs of infection.

Texas laws, which provide for up to 99 years in prison for doctors performing abortions, provide for exceptions, but only “in the event of danger of death or serious handicap for the mother”.

Because of this delay, Amanda Zurawski had sepsis, spent several days in intensive care and lost one of her tubes. For her, “there are no words to describe the trauma and despair of having to wait to die, or having to wait for the death of your child, or both”.

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