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Abortion rights group sues on behalf of women denied emergency care

  • The group has filed complaints in Tennessee, Idaho and Oklahoma
  • It represents patients who say they were denied emergency care
  • Doctors are asking for clarity on exceptions to protect mother's lives

Demonstrators hold signs as they rally outside the Supreme Court building during the Women’s March in Washington, Saturday, June 24, 2023. Abortion rights and anti-abortion activists held rallies Saturday in Washington and across the country to call attention to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling on June 24, 2022, which upended the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

(NewsNation) — An abortion rights group is filing lawsuits on behalf of women who were denied abortions in emergencies and doctors who say guidance in anti-abortion laws is unclear.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed lawsuits in Idaho and Tennessee and a federal complaint in Oklahoma. The efforts are not meant to overturn laws restricting abortion but are asking courts to clarify when exceptions that protect the mother’s life apply.

The laws restricting abortion are written by lawmakers, not doctors, and the doctors represented in the lawsuits are seeking clarity on how close to death a patient has to be before it becomes acceptable to perform an abortion.

Women who were unable to get abortions in emergencies are also represented.

The lead plaintiff in the Tennessee lawsuit is Nicole Blackmon, who said she was forced to carry a pregnancy despite being high-risk and having ultrasounds that showed the baby’s organs weren’t developing properly.

Blackmon couldn’t afford to travel out of state for an abortion and eventually gave birth to a stillborn fetus at seven months.

One of the women in the Idaho lawsuit is Jennifer Adkins, who was told her baby had many defects, and she was at risk for a condition called mirror syndrome, where the mother’s body begins to mimic the defects of the fetus. She eventually traveled to Oregon for an abortion.

The Oklahoma complaint focuses on the case of Jaci Statton, who experienced a molar pregnancy that was cancerous. Molar pregnancies do not develop into a viable fetus, but the hospital told her she would need to wait in the parking lot until she was crashing before they would be allowed to perform an abortion.

Statton eventually drove to Kansas for a procedure to clear the cancerous tissue from her uterus.

The Center has previously filed a similar lawsuit in Texas. Supporters of laws that ban or heavily restrict abortion say the group is using scare tactics and that state laws clearly allow abortions to be performed to save a mother’s life.


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