Here are some people whose lives are really in danger that you should meet
Zurawski is another Texas woman who wanted the child she was carrying, who had a miscarriage at 18 weeks and became sick with sepsis because she couldn’t have an abortion to complete the miscarriage. “It took three days at home until I became sick ‘enough’ that the ethics board at our hospital agreed we could begin medical treatment; three days until my life was considered at risk ‘enough’ for the inevitable premature delivery of my daughter to be performed; three days until the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals were allowed to do their jobs,” Zurawski wrote. She was near enough to death that her family and friends rushed to the hospital. She had to recover from the procedure in the ICU because she was so dangerously ill.
“The scar tissue in my uterus is so severe that they have to go in to surgically remove it,” she says. “And that is a result of the infection that I developed because I had to wait three days to get healthcare.” She continues: “We don’t know the extent of that damage. We don’t know if I’m permanently damaged to the point that I can’t carry children, that my eggs are harmed.”
This Texas cosmetics company founder and YouTuber had a miscarriage and had to carry the dead fetus inside of her for two weeks before she could find a doctor who would help her. “I felt like a walking coffin,” she said. “You’re just walking around knowing that you have something that you hoped was going to be a baby for you, and it’s gone. And you’re just walking around carrying it.”
“I get so angry that I was treated this way because of laws that were passed by men who have never been pregnant and never will be,” Stell told her followers. “I’m frustrated, I’m angry and I feel like the women here deserve better than that. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence that you want to sit on, laws like this affect all women regardless of what situation you’re in and it’s not right.”
This 14-year-old in Arizona was denied medication for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases because the drug she takes, methotrexate, can also be used to induce abortions in ectopic pregnancy. Her pharmacists refused to fill the prescription for medication that had changed her life, she said. “My entire life, I was in and out of the hospital,” Emma said. “I was never able to stay in school until this past year. I was never able to ride a bike or get on the monkey bars like other kids could.”
“The pharmacist didn’t look at my history,” Emma said. “She just denied my prescription because of my age.”
“It’s not right,” she said. “They’re trying to make any girl who’s on this medication drop a pregnancy test when they get their medicine, and I feel like it’s really unfair.”
This Tennessee high-risk obstetrician cared for a patient in her second trimester carrying a fetus that had just been diagnosed with fatal genetic abnormalities. Her blood pressure was rising, and kidney failure was beginning. Zahedi-Spung had to send the woman on a six-hour ambulance ride to North Carolina to save her life. “She kept asking if she was going to die,” Dr. Zahedi-Spung said. “I kept saying, ‘I’m trying, I’m trying, we’re going to make it happen. We just need to get you to the right place where you can be taken care of.’” She lived, despite the best efforts of Alito and Tennessee lawmakers to let her die.
Another Texan who discovered several months into pregnancy that the fetus she was carrying, which she and her husband had already named Finley, “had heart, lung, brain, kidney and genetic defects and would either be stillborn or die within minutes of birth” and that continuing to carry him would risk Kailee’s life. She and her husband drove 10 hours to New Mexico for an abortion, borrowing money from family for the procedure and trip. Kailee’s obstetrician has told her not to get pregnant again in Texas.
“She said, ‘this is not safe,’” Kailee remembers. ”She said, ‘I need you to look at me. I need you to understand that if you get pregnant in Texas and that if you have complications, that I cannot intervene until I can prove that you’re going to die.’”
Another Texan who dreamed of being a parent. Another woman who had to wait until she was near death before doctors would consider aborting her dying fetus, continually being told she just wasn’t quite sick enough yet for the life-saving procedure. ”I was just laying in bed, you know, wondering: Am I pregnant or am I not pregnant? And it’s this stupid, like, distinction that you’re just making in this grief. You’re trying to understand exactly what’s going on. Because at this point, I’m in survival mode. I’m trying to understand. I’m trying to mentally survive this.”
“It’s just really unimaginable to be in a position of having to think: How close to death am I before somebody is going to take action and help me?”
Again, in Texas, who was treated for a miscarriage both pre- and post-abortion ban. The first time she received an abortion along with compassion and a remembrance of the fetus she lost from hospital staff. “It was so sweet because it’s such a hard thing to go through,” Amanda said. The second time, after the ban, she knew what was happening and went to the same hospital for the same treatment. “She reports having a lot of pain” and “she appears distressed,” Amanda’s hospital records said. “This appears to be miscarriage in process,” the records noted. She was advised to go home and wait, and come back in a week for a follow-up.
Once home, Amanda said, she sat on the toilet digging “fingernail marks in my wall” from the pain. She then moved to the bathtub, where her husband held her hand as they both cried. “The bathtub water is just dark red,” Amanda recalled. “For 48 hours, it was like a constant heavy bleed and big clots.”
“We are not going to try and conceive anymore,” Amanda said. “We don’t feel like it’s safe in Texas to continue to try after what we went through.”
The Missouri woman was diagnosed with a blighted ovum, a fertilized egg that implants but won’t develop. “My body wouldn’t release it” on its own, she said. Her doctor prescribed misoprostol, which didn’t work the first time. Gabriela needed a second round. “The pharmacist at Walgreens told me she couldn’t give it to me if I was pregnant. I was able to stutter out that I was having a miscarriage, and she gave it to me. I couldn’t help but cry in front of all the people at Walgreens because I felt like I was being treated like a bad person for picking up a medication to prevent an infection.”
Multiple anonymous Ohioans
At least three minor victims of sexual assault, forced to leave the state for abortions, including the 10-year-old from Columbus; three women who were suicidal; two cancer patients who could not receive treatment while pregnant and couldn’t receive abortions; three people carrying fetuses that would not survive and were putting the mothers’ lives at risk; and three cases in which “debilitating vomiting was caused by pregnancy—so bad in one case that a woman couldn’t get off the clinic floor.”
Sharon Liner, medical director of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio in Cincinnati, said in an affidavit challenging Ohio’s ban, “We have had at least three patients threaten to commit suicide. Another patient said she would attempt to terminate her pregnancy by drinking bleach. Another asked how much vitamin C she would need to take to terminate her pregnancy.”
“A woman with a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy sought emergency care at the University of Michigan Hospital after a doctor in her home state worried that the presence of a fetal heartbeat meant treating her might run afoul of new restrictions on abortion.”
“[I]n Wisconsin, a woman bled for more than 10 days from an incomplete miscarriage after emergency room staff would not remove the fetal tissue amid a confusing legal landscape that has roiled obstetric care.”
A hospital told a doctor with a patient carrying an unviable ectopic pregnancy that it shouldn’t be treated until it ruptured.
Again in Texas. “I knew how dangerous it was for me to get on a plane and go get an abortion,” she told us, “but I knew that it was still the safer option for me than sitting in Texas and waiting, and I could potentially get sicker.” She said her obstetrician told her, “If you labor on the plane, leave the placenta inside of you. You’re going to have to deal with a 19-week fetus outside of your body until you land.”
In Florida, another child victim of incest was forced to travel out of state for an abortion, because it was past the 15-week cut off. “To not be able to provide that service because of the restriction for a patient in such a terrible and violent situation is horrible,” Dr. Shelly Tien, an OB-GYN said. “This patient was sent to another health center in another state … but that is another delay and barrier that that young girl should not need to face.”
Again in Florida and another young teen, who had fled to Florida because abortion is still legal there. “The girl arrived without shoes and basic necessities but wasn’t able to get an abortion as she was also over 15 weeks pregnant. Employees at the center bought the patient shoes and other things her family needed.”
“The more we talked the more scared and frustrated she became,” Tien said of the child. “Trying to find the words to calm her and support her when I knew I couldn’t help her, I have to tell you, that was extraordinarily difficult.”
all the people who have had abortions for all the reasons
Of course the horror stories and all of the endangered lives—and there are so many more—are the headlines. But no one seeking an abortion should be made to feel that the only justification for it is to save their own lives. Abortion is essential for many people to be able to fulfill their goals, to lead productive lives, to eventually become parents on their own terms.
This mother of three, who told her story in a podcast from Bustle, perfectly expresses that. “I loved my family just the way it was and I loved myself and who I was becoming in my late 30s,” she said. “I chose abortion at age 38, and it changed my life. Now I talk about abortion every single day. I help other people process their abortion … It’s become a gift in my life to be able to understand something that I never anticipated being a part of my experience.”
That’s the kind of freedom every person in this country should enjoy, one that the extremists on the Supreme Court blithely denied for the tens of millions of people in this country at risk of getting pregnant in a state that bans essential health services.
But, yes, Justice Alito, please tell us some more about how you are the victim here.