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Catholics for Choice call out Texas Supreme Court's ruling against medically needed abortion

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Catholics for Choice

The Texas Supreme Court last week ruled against a group of women who pleaded for an honest and transparent process to allow for medically necessary abortions.

The group of 19 women who had serious pregnancy complications were denied a legal abortion in Texas because of the state’s politically mandated prohibition on the medical procedure.

In a unanimous ruling, the all-Republican court upheld the Texas law despite clear evidence that it was endangering the lives of women.

The court said the law’s exceptions are broad enough and the Republican held court didn’t see the need to provide clear direction on when to perform an abortion when the mother’s life is in danger.

“Texas law permits a life-saving abortion,” the court wrote in the order signed by Justice Jane Bland.

Texas doctors have come forward saying they are refusing to perform medically necessary abortions because under the law in Texas, doctors who perform abortions risk life in prison, fines of up to $100,000 and revocation of their state medical licenses. And Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has made it clear that he will prosecute doctors who perform abortions even if it needed to save the life of the mother.

Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, released the following statement from President Jamie L. Manson on the refusal by the Texas Supreme Court to clarify the scope of medical emergency exceptions to the state’s abortion ban:

“The Texas Supreme Court’s refusal to clarify the confusing language around medical exemptions to the state’s draconian abortion ban is unconscionable. By upholding the status quo, the court is choosing to continue the chaos in the Lone Star State, where doctors are uncertain about when they’re allowed to provide patients in crisis with the lifesaving abortion care that they need.

“The harm of today’s inaction in Zurawski v. Texas will disproportionately fall on people who are already oppressed by obstacles to accessing healthcare, especially Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, those working to make ends meet, women, young people, people with disabilities and complex medical conditions, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community — the very same marginalized people whom our Catholic faith commands us to serve first. These Texans who need abortion care deserve so much better.

“The way the law is written is not only harmful in theory — it is demonstratively harmful in practice. This case was brought forward by more than 20 women who had been denied medically necessary abortions in Texas. People seeking abortion care deserve to receive that care. People whose lives are threatened by their pregnancies deserve to receive care. Doctors deserve to give their patients the medical treatment they need, free from the risk of legal retaliation.

“We are dismayed by the court’s inaction today, but we are not deterred. Catholics for Choice will continue our work empowering people of faith to advocate for reproductive freedom, and we won’t stop until everyone has access to safe, quality, and affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion care — for any reason.”

Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.


Jamie L. Manson is the president of Catholics for Choice.

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi