Another woman offered how the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade four months ago put her life in danger.
CNN features the stories of several women — one from Houston, one from Central Texas and one from Cleveland — and what they had to do to get medically necessary abortions.
Now, an Austin, Texas woman is coming forward after she nearly died when she couldn’t get an abortion in time.
This is her story.
Amanda Eid, 35, and Josh Zurawski met in Kindergarten at Aldersgate Academy in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1991 and dated in high school.
“Josh always told me he’d been in love with me since we were 4 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. After a year and a half of fertility treatment, Amanda finally became pregnant.
“Excited to share 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 “mom” and “dad” hats, and Amanda holding an ultrasound of their baby girl.
“The fact that we were pregnant was a miracle, we were insanely happy,” she said.
But then, 18 weeks into her pregnancy (only four months), Amanda’s water broke.
The amniotic fluid that the baby depends on for survival is about to flow out. She said her doctor told her the baby would not survive.
“We found out we were going to lose our baby,” Amanda said. “My cervix was fully dilated 22 weeks early and it was inevitable that I would have a miscarriage.”
She and Josh begged the doctor to see if there was anything they could do to save the baby.
“I kept asking, ‘Is there anything we can do?’ and the answer was ‘no,'” Amanda said.
When a woman’s water breaks, she is likely to get a life-threatening infection. While Amanda and Josh’s baby — whom they named Willow — was certain to die, she still had a heartbeat, so doctors said they couldn’t terminate the pregnancy under Texas law.
“My doctor said, ‘Well, now we’ll just have to wait because we can’t induce labor, even though you’re 100 percent sure you’ll lose your baby,'” Amanda said. “[The doctors] They couldn’t do their jobs because of the way Texas law was made. ”
Texas law allows abortion when the mother “has a life-threatening medical condition aggravated, caused by, or arising from pregnancy that puts the woman at serious risk of death or serious impairment of major bodily functions.”
But Texas lawmakers have not spelled out exactly what that means, and doctors found violating the law could face revoked medical licenses and a possible life sentence.
“They’re very vague,” said Katie Keith, director of the Health Policy and Law Initiative at the Georgetown University Law Center. “They did not specify the specific circumstances under which abortion could be provided.”
In September, CNN contacted 28 Texas lawmakers who supported anti-abortion legislation, asking them to respond to CNN reports about women in Houston and central Texas.
Only one lawmaker responded.
“As with any other law, there will be unintended consequences. We don’t want to see any unintended consequences; and if we do, it is our responsibility as legislators to address these flaws,” the senators wrote. Eddie Lucio is leaving the Senate at the end of the year.
Zurawskis was featured in an ad for Beto O’Rourke’s failed Texas gubernatorial campaign.
After her water broke, Amanda’s doctors told her to go home and told her to watch for signs of infection and that they would only terminate the pregnancy if she was “deemed sick enough to be life-threatening,” Amanda said.
“My doctor said it could take hours, it could take days, it could take weeks,” she recalls.
As soon as they hear “the hour,” they decide they don’t have time to travel to another state for an abortion.
“The nearest ‘sanctuary’ state is at least an eight-hour drive,” Amanda wrote in an online article about the meteor. “Developing sepsis — which can be fatal quickly — in the middle of the West Texas desert or in a car 30,000 feet off the ground is a death sentence.”
So they wait in Texas.
On August 26, three days after her water broke, Amanda found herself shivering in the Texas heat.
“We had a heat wave, I think it was 105 degrees that day, and I was freezing like hell, and I was shaking and my teeth were chattering. I was trying to tell Josh I wasn’t feeling well, and my teeth were chattering, and I couldn’t even put it into words. In a word,” she said.
Josh was shocked by his wife’s condition.
“To see her go from normal body temperature to what she was in in about five minutes was really, really scary,” he said. “Very quickly, she’s going downhill very, very fast. She’s in a state that I’ve never seen before.”
Josh rushed his wife to the hospital. Her temperature is 102 degrees. She is too weak to walk by herself.
Her temperature rose to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. In the end, she said, Amanda was so ill that doctors decided it was legally safe to terminate the pregnancy.
But Amanda was so ill that the antibiotics couldn’t stop the bacterial infection from raging inside her. Blood transfusions did not cure her either.
About 12 hours after she terminated her pregnancy, doctors and nurses flooded her room.
“There was a lot of commotion, and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ They said, ‘We’re going to transfer you to ICU,’ and I said, ‘Why? They said, ‘You’re showing symptoms of sepsis,'” she said .
Sepsis, the body’s extreme response to infection, is a life-threatening medical emergency.
Amanda’s blood pressure plummeted. Her platelets dropped. She doesn’t remember much about that time.
But Josh knew.
“It was really scary to see Amanda crash,” he said. “I was really scared that I was going to lose her.”
Families flew in from all over the country because they feared this would be the last time they saw Amanda.
Doctors inserted an IV line near her heart to deliver antibiotics and medication to stabilize her blood pressure. In the end, Amanda turned the corner and survived.
But her medical ordeal wasn’t over.
Amanda’s uterus is scarred by the infection and she may not be able to have any more children. She recently underwent surgery to repair the scar, but it is unclear if it will be successful.
That left the Zurawski family terrified and angry that they might never have a family because of a Texas law.
“[This] It didn’t have to happen,” Amanda said. “That’s what’s so infuriating about all of this, we don’t have to — we shouldn’t — go through all this trauma. ”
Politicians who voted for anti-abortion laws called themselves “pro-life” — but they didn’t see it that way, the Zulawskis said.
“Amanda almost died. That’s not pro-life. Amanda will have challenges in the future to have more kids. That’s not pro-life,” Josh said.
“Nothing about [this] Feeling against abortion,” his wife added.
In many ways, Amanda feels lucky. She wonders if she would be alive today if it wasn’t for her husband, who rushed her to the hospital and made sure she got the best possible care. They have good jobs and good health insurance, and they live in a big city with high-quality health care.
“All of these things were done for me and it still turned out,” she said.
She and Josh worry about women in rural areas, or poor women, or young single mothers in states like Texas. What would happen to them, given what happened to Amanda?
“These brutal laws prevent her from getting any health care when she needs it, until her life is threatened,” Josh said.