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More and more stories are emerging about women who are denied critical medical care because their doctors are worried about getting fined $100,000, losing their licenses, or worse yet, spending the next 99 years in prison.

A new Texas law banning abortion allows a doctor to administer the procedure only if he or she believes the woman has “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy” that puts the patient “at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.”

The law is vague and can be widely interpreted.

Amanda Żurawski was experiencing a miscarriage, she was in septic shock and urgently needed help, but her doctor could legally do nothing because the fetus still had a heartbeat. Zurawski spent the next 3 days in agony in intensive care and was then sent home. When it was apparent that she was dying, her husband brought her back to the hospital where doctors performed a surgical abortion, which they could finally do because the fetus’ heartbeat had stopped. As a result of her trauma, she is now unlikely to ever bear children.

Samantha Casiano learned early on that her unborn baby had a fatal condition called anencephaly and would not be able to survive outside the womb. Because of the law, she had to carry the fetus for another 13 weeks until it was born where the baby lived just a few minutes before it died. Casiano threw up on the witness stand as she described the horror she had to endure.

Ashley Brandt was pregnant with twins when she learned that one of them had another anomaly called acrania. Both would likely die unless the one fetus was removed, but the doctors in Texas refused. Brandt had to travel to Colorado at great expense to receive health care where the abortion took just a few minutes, thereby saving her life and that of the healthy twin.

All three women are now challenging the law in court.

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