AUSTIN, Texas - On Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by women who said their lives were put in danger because of the state’s multiple abortion bans.
It’s now up to the state’s top court to decide if the medical exceptions that allow patients to terminate a pregnancy are clear in Texas’ abortion ban laws.
"I place the blame firmly at the feet of the state," Lauren Miller, a plaintiff, said.
Miller is one of the plaintiffs suing the State of Texas with the Center for Reproduction Rights. Miller said she was denied access to life-saving abortion care in Texas.
Miller was pregnant with twins when she found out Baby B had Edwards Syndrome and the prognosis wasn’t good. She said it was risking the life of Baby A and herself. At 15 weeks pregnant, she went to Colorado and had an abortion. She’s since given birth to Baby A, named Henry.
"Without that lifesaving care, I don't think you would be holding your perfect baby boy," Dr. Austin Dennard, a plaintiff, said.
Statistics show the year before Roe v. Wade was overturned, more than 50,000 abortions were performed legally in Texas. After the decision, 44 were performed due to medical emergency.
"Protection for unborn babies should continue. This includes babies with a disability or fatal diagnosis in utero," Texas Alliance for Life Amy O’Donnell said.
The lawsuit is asking the court to clarify Texas’ abortion laws, alleging the vague language leaves doctors unable or unwilling to administer abortion care, forcing patients to seek treatment out of state or wait until their lives are in danger.
"While there are technically medical exceptions to the bans, no one knows what it means and the state won't tell us," Center for Reproductive Rights Molly Duane said.
"A woman is bleeding or has amniotic fluid running down her legs, the problem's not with the law, that's with the doctors, I mean, that would clearly qualify for the medical emergency exception," Beth Klusmann with the Office of the Attorney General said.
The state suggested medical malpractice claims.
"I know that's not satisfactory to someone who's pregnant at the moment and wants to seek clarity for the future, but that's again, another tool to bring clarity," Klusmann said.
"Here’s my doctor. That’s not the person I should be suing here," Miller said.
A decision should be issued by June 2024.