Texas Judge Grants Temporary Reprieve: Abortion Ban Lifted for Complex Pregnancies


On Friday, a judge in Texas briefly permitted abortions for women with hazardous or complicated pregnancies, followed by emotional testimony from women at a hearing last month regarding the impact of the state’s restrictive abortion laws on their reproductive health. Judge Jessica Mangrum ruled in favor of a group of women and physicians who submitted a lawsuit in March to clarify the extent of the state’s abortion ban’s exception for medical emergencies.

In his ruling, Mangrum stated that uncertainty regarding the exceptions and the associated threat of implementation of Texas’s abortion bans produced a risk that doctors will be left with no choice but to bar or postpone the provision of abortion care to pregnant women in Texas for whom an abortion could avoid or alleviate a risk of fatal outcomes or risk to their health. The trial date was fixed for next March by the judge.

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A Potential Turning Point for Women with Medically Complicated Pregnancies

Photo by: Eric Gay via AP

This event is likely to be a turning point in the debate over the impact of abortion restrictions on women with medically complicated pregnancies. The state of Texas has one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, prohibiting the procedure at six weeks, which, according to experts, is before many women even realize they are pregnant. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit on the plaintiffs’ behalf, described the news as huge.

In a hearing held at the end of July, four women recounted their harrowing attempts to obtain medical care for complicated pregnancies that endangered their lives due to the state’s abortion prohibition. One woman revealed her near-death experience as she acquired sepsis after being turned away from the hospital, while the other said she was compelled to flee the state to protect her healthy twin after the other twin developed a fatal condition. A third of the women reported being compelled by state law to deliver a fetus without a complete cranium.

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Source: Washington Post, BBC News

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