Another woman has offered the harrowing details of how the Supreme Court’s decision four months ago, Roe v. Falling Wade put her life in danger.
CNN shared the stories of several women — including one from Houston, one from central Texas and one from Cleveland — and what they had to do to obtain medically necessary abortions.
Now a woman from Austin, Texas has come forward because she nearly died when she couldn’t get an abortion in time.
This is her story.
Amanda Eid and Josh Zurawski, both now 35, met in 1991 in preschool at Aldersgate Academy in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and dated in high school.
“Josh always tells me he’s had a crush on me since we were four years old,” Amanda said.
They married three years ago in Austin, Texas, where they both work high-tech jobs.
They tried to start a family but failed. Amanda had fertility treatments for a year and a half and eventually got pregnant.
“I am very pleased to announce that baby Zurawski is due in late January,” Amanda shared on Instagram in July. The post included a picture of her and her husband wearing “mommy” and “dad” hats, with Amanda holding a strip of ultrasound photos of her little girl.
“It was a miracle that we were pregnant at all and we were over the moon,” she said.
But then, 18 weeks — just four months — into her pregnancy, Amanda’s waters ruptured.
The amniotic fluid her baby depended on leaked. She says her doctor told her the baby would not survive.
“We found out we were going to lose our baby,” Amanda said. “My cervix dilated 22 weeks prematurely and I would inevitably miscarry.”
She and Josh asked the doctor to see if there was any way to save the baby.
“I kept asking, ‘Is there nothing we can do?’ And the answer was ‘no,'” Amanda said.
If a woman’s waters rupture, she is at high risk of developing a life-threatening infection. While Amanda and Josh’s baby — they named her Willow — was sure to die, she still had a heart attack, and so doctors said under Texas law, they couldn’t terminate the pregnancy.
“My doctor said, ‘Well, now we just have to wait because we can’t induce labor even though there’s a 100 percent chance you’re going to lose your baby,'” Amanda said. “[The doctors] because of the way the laws are written in Texas, have not been able to do their own work.”
Texas law permits an abortion when the mother “has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or resulting from pregnancy that puts the woman at risk of death or a serious risk of significant impairment of an important bodily function.”
But the Texas legislature hasn’t explained exactly what that means, and a doctor who breaks the law faces the loss of his medical license and a possible life sentence.
“They’re extremely vague,” said Katie Keith, director of the Health Policy and Law Initiative at the Georgetown University Law Center. “They do not accurately describe the situations in which an abortion can be performed.”
In September, CNN reached out to 28 Texas lawmakers who supported anti-abortion legislation, asking for their response to CNN stories about the Houston woman and the central Texas woman.
Only one legislator has responded.
“Like any other law, there are unintended consequences. We don’t want to see unintended consequences; If we do, it is our responsibility as lawmakers to remedy these shortcomings,” wrote Senator Eddie Lucio, who will leave the Senate at the end of the year.
The Zurawskis participated in an advertisement for Beto O’Rourke’s unsuccessful Texas gubernatorial campaign.
After her waters broke, Amanda’s doctors sent her home and told her to watch for signs of infection and that they would only terminate the pregnancy if she was “considered sick enough to put my life in danger.” said Amanda.
“My doctor said it could be hours, it could be days, it could be weeks,” she recalls.
Upon hearing “hours,” they decided there was no time to travel to another state for an abortion.
“The nearest ‘sanctuary state’ is at least an eight-hour drive away,” Amanda wrote in an online essay about The Meteor. “Developing sepsis — which can quickly be fatal — in a car in the middle of the West Texas desert or 30,000 feet above the ground is a death sentence.”
So they waited it out in Texas.
On August 26, three days after her waters broke, Amanda was shaking in the Texas heat.
“We had a heat wave, I think it was 105 degrees that day and I was freezing and shaking, my teeth were chattering. I was trying to tell Josh I wasn’t feeling well and my teeth were chattering so badly I couldn’t even get the sentence out,” she said.
Josh was shocked by his wife’s condition.
“To see her go from normal temperature to where she was in about five minutes was really, really scary,” he said. “Very fast, she went downhill very, very quickly. She was in a state I’ve never seen her in.”
Josh took his wife to the hospital. Her temperature was 102 degrees. She was too weak to walk alone.
Her temperature rose to 103 degrees. Eventually, Amanda was sick enough that doctors felt legally safe to terminate the pregnancy, she said.
But Amanda was so ill that antibiotics couldn’t stop the bacterial infection raging in her body. Even a blood transfusion didn’t heal her.
About 12 hours after terminating her pregnancy, doctors and nurses flooded her room.
“There’s a lot of excitement, and I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ and they said, ‘We’re moving you to ICU,’ and I said, ‘Why?’ and they said, ‘You’re developing symptoms of sepsis,'” she said.
Sepsis, the body’s extreme response to infection, is a life-threatening medical emergency.
Amanda’s blood pressure dropped. Your platelets fell. She doesn’t remember much from that time.
But Josh does.
“It was really scary watching Amanda fall,” he said. “I was really afraid that I would lose her.”
Family members flew in from across the country, fearing it would be the last time they would see Amanda.
Doctors put an IV line near her heart to give antibiotics and drugs to control her blood pressure. Eventually, Amanda turned the corner and survived.
But her medical ordeal is not over yet.
Amanda’s uterus was scarred by the infection and she may not be able to have more children. She recently had surgery to fix the scars, but it’s unclear if it will be successful.
This scares the Zurawskis — and angry that because of a Texas law, they may never have a family.
“[This] didn’t have to happen,” Amanda said. “That’s what’s so upsetting about all of this, that we didn’t have to go through all that trauma — we shouldn’t have.”
The Zurawskis say the politicians who voted in favor of the anti-abortion bill call themselves “pro-life” — but they don’t see it that way.
“Amanda almost died. This is not pro life. Amanda will have challenges in the future when she has more children. It’s not against life,” Josh said.
“Nothing about [this] feels pro-life,” added his wife.
In many ways, Amanda feels lucky. She wonders if she would still be alive today if her husband hadn’t taken her to the hospital and made sure she got the best possible care. And they have good jobs with good health insurance and they live in a big city with quality health care.
“All these things that I had for myself and still this was the result,” she said.
She and Josh worry about rural women or poor women or young single mothers in states like Texas. What would happen to them considering what happened to Amanda?
“These barbaric laws prevented her from getting medical care when she needed it until a life-threatening moment came,” Josh said.