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Texas Abortion Law Brings In Emotional Testimonies

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty reports on the emotional testimony from women who faced pregnancy complications and now are suing the state for its abortion law.
On the second day of a hearing over a lawsuit filed against the state of Texas, an anti-abortion doctor who practices in the state testified Thursday in support of the ban, stating “the law is clear” and that if doctors believe they cannot provide proper care, it’s because they misunderstand the law.

Meanwhile, two physicians who practice medicine outside the state testified for the plaintiffs, arguing that Texas’ abortion laws are confusing and would make it difficult to provide necessary care to patients.

They were joined by a physician in Texas who was pregnant herself and delivered emotional testimony about having to go out of state to get an abortion.

The hearing is part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of 15 women in the state of Texas alleging that the state’s abortion laws put their lives in jeopardy.

The testimony was given during a court hearing that began Wednesday as part of plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order on abortion bans, permitting women to receive lifesaving emergency abortions.

MORE: 8 women join suit against Texas over abortion bans, claim their lives were put in danger
Lawyers are asking the court to provide a “remedy applied to patients whose life, health or fertility is at risk from an emergent medical condition,” Molly Duane, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead attorney on the case, said during opening statements Wednesday.

Dr. Austin Dennard, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and an OB-GYN who had to travel out of state to receive abortion care for a nonviable pregnancy, took the stand Thursday. Dennard — who is currently pregnant again — testified that she and her husband made the “very difficult decision” to abort a pregnancy in 2017 after the fetus was diagnosed with a very rare genetic disorder.

In emotional testimony, Dennard testified that she found out she was pregnant in June 2022.

At her second ultrasound appointment, Dennard — who was nervous because she had a miscarriage months before — said she realized that her baby had acrania, a fatal condition in which a fetus does not have a skull, leaving brain tissue exposed to amniotic fluid, as soon as she saw the ultrasound.

“I immediately realized that there was something catastrophically wrong,” Dennard said.

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