Several women who say Texas’ abortion bans posed significant risks to their health have sued the state this week, opening a new front in the legal battles that have emerged since the Supreme Court overturned national abortion rights protections last year.
Five women allege in the lawsuit that uncertainty around when medical emergency exemptions in Texas’ abortion laws apply exacerbated medical emergencies that put their lives, health and fertility in danger.
“To the extent Texas’s abortion bans bar the provision of abortion to pregnant people to treat medical conditions that pose a risk to the pregnant person’s life or a significant risk to their health,” the lawsuit says, “the Bans violate pregnant people’s” rights under the state constitution’s provisions protecting fundamental rights and the right to equality.
The lawsuit is not seeking to block Texas’ abortion bans outright. Rather, the women – who are joined by two medical providers in the lawsuit – ask the court to clarify that abortions can be performed when a physician makes a “good faith judgment” that “the pregnant person has a physical emergent medical condition that poses a risk of death or a risk to their health (including their fertility).”
The women’s complaint details harrowing stories of being denied abortion care when they faced emergency complications in their pregnancies, which were all wanted. They filed the lawsuit in state court in Austin, Texas.
Texas, its Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Texas Medical Board and its Executive Director Stephen Brint Carlton are listed as defendants in the lawsuit. Neither Paxton’s office nor a spokesperson for the state medical board responded to a request for comment from CNN. Gov. Greg Abbott’s office also did not immediately respond to CNN’s inquiry.