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Texas woman who sued state over abortion ban campaigns for Democrats in Pa.

A man at a podium speaks in front of a crowd of mostly women.
Patrick Semansky
President Joe Biden speaks about abortion access during a Democratic National Committee event, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at the Howard Theatre in Washington.

Amanda Zurawski, a Texas woman who nearly died carrying a nonviable fetus after she was refused an abortion under Texas’s abortion ban, will be in Pennsylvania campaigning for Joe Biden this week.

Her visit is part of the Democratic Party’s strategy to raise reproductive health rights as a key issue in the 2024 election.

Zurawski says she and her husband were elated when she learned she was pregnant in 2022, after months of fertility treatments. However, in her 18th week, she suffered complications and was later diagnosed by her doctor with an “incompetent cervix” and told that a miscarriage was inevitable and she was also at a high risk of an infection.

She was also told an abortion was not an option following the Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v. Wade as Texas had passed a near total ban on abortions. Medical providers who perform abortions face a life sentence unless the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the mother.

As a result, Zurawski had to wait until she developed sepsis, a life-threatening condition that causes the body to overreact to infection, potentially leading to organ failure. Only then were the doctors comfortable enough that Zurawski’s life was sufficiently in enough danger for them to legally perform an abortion, which they did. However, the infection also led to a three-day stay in intensive care and also impacted her ability to have more children in the future.

“What I went through was nothing short of barbaric,”Zurawski said at a Biden-Harris campaign event in Virginia in January, where she introduced the president. “And it didn’t need to happen.”

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Democrats have been attacking Donald Trump for the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that guaranteed abortion access nationally for nearly 50 years. Trump appointed three of the five Supreme Court justices — Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — who voted to overrule Roe v. Wade.

Recently, Trump has argued that the decision should be left to the states. Biden has said it should be between women and their doctors rather than state politicians. Recent polling shows that the issue is at the top of Pa. voters’ minds, particularly Democrats.

Last year, Zurawskijoined other women with similar experiences insuing Texas over the law, arguing it is worded too vaguely to determine what constitutes a life-threatening situation, making abortion providers concerned about the consequences. The case went to the Texas Supreme Courtwhich rejected her argument and issued a decision that “Texas law permits a life-saving abortion,” leaving the law as it is. The case closely followed another byKate Cox, another Texas resident whose baby was diagnosed with a fatal condition, leading to several emergency room visits, and who traveled out-of-state to end her nonviable pregnancy.

Read more from our partners, WHYY.