Lawsuits filed over abortion bans that endangered women

Left: Nicole Blackmon. Right: Jennifer Adkins. (Images via Center for Reproductive Rights/Splash Cinema.)

Eight women with dangerous and potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications forced to endure extreme hardships — including giving birth to a stillborn baby, waiting in a hospital parking lot until a medical emergency reached near-death levels, and leaving their home states to obtain abortion care for non-viable pregnancies — have filed three separate legal complaints over three states’ harsh abortion bans.

The women and four OB-GYNs filed lawsuits against the states of Idaho and Tennessee, as well as an administrative complaint against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the actions of an Oklahoma hospital, according to a press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights. All three states have banned abortion, with few exceptions, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, rolling back decades of abortion rights.

The Idaho and Tennessee lawsuits seek clarity on what qualifies as a “medical emergency” exception to the states’ respective abortion bans.

“The confusing language and non-medical terminology in these bans have left doctors uncertain when they are legally able to provide abortion care,” the press release says. “It’s unclear how sick or near-death a patient must be before a doctor can intervene. There is also no exception in Idaho or Tennessee for situations where the fetus has a fatal condition and would not survive. The lawsuits ask the courts to clarify that the exceptions include such fatal diagnoses, which jeopardize pregnant people’s health.”

Lawsuits filed over abortion bans that endangered women

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