Amanda Zurawski spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington on Wednesday as one of the witnesses called by Democratic senators to give testimony on the fallout felt throughout the country after the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion. Zurawski is suing the state of Texas after being denied an abortion last year. Eighteen months into fertility treatments, Zurawski became pregnant, and 17 weeks later learned her fetus could not survive. But all doctors could do for her at that point was wait until she went into labor or became ill, or there was no more fetal cardiac activity.
She was forced to wait until her life was in danger before doctors could act, causing further complications that required surgery to remove scar tissue from her uterus and resulted in the loss of one of her fallopian tubes. Zurawski’s tragic ordeal is the direct result of the draconian, anti-science, anti-women laws pushed by people in her home state, like Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
Zurawski directed her opening comments to those two men, who were conspicuously absent from the room while she spoke. “I wanted to address my senators, Cruz and Cornyn, neither of whom, regrettably, are in the room right now. I would like for them to know that what happened to me… it’s a direct result of the policies that they support. I nearly died on their watch.” She remarked that while a lot of time has been spent “talking about the mental trauma and the negative harmful effects on a person's psychological well-being after they have an abortion,” that same compassion and interest has not been afforded her, nor consideration for “the trauma and the PTSD and the depression that I have dealt with in the eight months since this happened to me,” adding that her experience has been “paralyzing.”
When Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was decided and effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, Cruz called it "nothing short of a massive victory for life," and Cornyn said, "This decision correctly returns the authority of states to decide the limits on abortion and will save countless innocent lives.” It’s important to note that for men like Cornyn and Cruz, “innocence” ends the moment you are on the books.
Zurawski said she came to Washington to tell her Texas representatives that “I nearly died on their watch,” and also to show that “what happened to me. I think most people in this room would agree was horrific, but it's a direct result of the policies that they support.”
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Zurawski, who had previously been to Washington as a guest of first lady Jill Biden in February at the State of the Union address, highlighted how she was “lucky” in her story of survival, considering the inequalities rampant in our country.
“I'm lucky that I have a husband that could take me to the hospital. I don't have other children that I had to worry about finding health care for. I have a job that was understanding, that allowed me to grieve for three days as I waited to almost die. What about all of the women that don't have those same opportunities? That don't have access to health care? That don't have health insurance? That don't have a partner? What about them?
Amanda Zurawski is not alone in her harrowing experience. Every hour there is a new story detailing the cruelties of Republican abortion bans. Less than 24 hours before Zurawski spoke in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reports were coming out of Oklahoma about Jaci Statton, whose cancerous molar pregnancy could not be aborted due to three contradictory abortion bans in the Sooner State. The 25-year-old Statton was told by medical staff that “The best we can tell you to do is sit in the parking lot, and if anything else happens, we will be ready to help you. But we cannot touch you unless you are crashing in front of us or your blood pressure goes so high that you are fixing to have a heart attack.”
Public health issues like abortion should not be a partisan football—and not only because they affect more than half of the country, regardless of who you voted for and where you live. Republicans can pretend this is not a losing issue. But the results are clear: Conservatives are losing elections as a direct result of these draconian policies and positions.
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The past week seems to have packed in a month’s worth of news. Markos and Kerry tackle it all, from Joe Biden’s big announcement to Tucker Carlson’s early retirement from Fox News.