AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amanda and Josh Zurawski have been trying to have a baby for more than a year now. So when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Texas’ abortion ban went into effect, they never anticipated they were going to be directly impacted.
That is until Amanda experienced complications in her pregnancy that meant she was inevitably going to have a miscarriage. It also put her life at risk. Because of Texas’ abortion law, which bans almost all abortions in the state, the family had no choice but to wait until Amanda miscarried or until she was sick enough doctors thought she could die.
“I was struggling enough with the news that I was going to have to lose my daughter,” Amanda said. “Then on top of that, knowing that I was going to have to wait for days or weeks until the ordeal could be over was … it felt cruel.”
Dr. Leah Tatum, an OBGYN at the Austin Regional Clinic, said while Amanda is not her patient, this is something she’s seeing happen more often than one might think.
“The biggest problem and the reason that she had kind of an inevitable miscarriage is because the sack of water is ruptured when the fetus was pre-viable,” said Tatum. “This is something that comes up frequently in the world of obstetrics. So Amanda’s story is not surprising to me. It’s not unique.”
A few days after the news, Amanda got an infection — sepsis. She was finally sick enough that doctors deemed an abortion medically necessary to save her life.
“I’ve seen her in plenty of different shapes in her life, both the good stuff and the bad stuff and this was the scariest moment for sure,” Josh said. The pair have known each other since childhood.
So what’s being done? In an interview with WFAA, a Dallas news station, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addressed situations like this, saying treatments for women with ectopic pregnancies and certain cases of miscarriage are legal in the state.
“Our goal is to make sure to protect the lives of both the mother and the baby, and there’s been too many allegations that have been made about ways in which the lives of the mother [sic] are not being protected,” Abbott said.
Abbott said the law needs to be clarified to protect the mother and the baby. But to get that done, he pointed to the Texas legislature, which won’t be in session again for months.
Nexstar’s KXAN reached out to Abbott for comment on this story and to ask why he did not call a special session to address the issue and has not heard back.
“I don’t know an obstetrician that wants to be the first person to face felony charges in a situation like this,” Tatum said. “‘At what point can we act?’ is the question.”
For Amanda and Josh, that question mark for doctors could have huge implications for their family’s future. Amanda is still waiting to see if the lasting impacts of her infection will strip the couple of their choice to get pregnant again.
“It feels infuriating because it feels like I may have been robbed of the opportunity to carry my own children in the future and it didn’t need to happen,” said Amanda. “It could have been prevented.”