About nine months ago, Texan Amanda Zurawski and her husband were thrilled to discover she was pregnant. After 18 months of grueling fertility treatments, they had finally conceived a baby girl they planned to name Willow.
But about four months in, while Zurawski was planning her baby shower, their world was upended. She told reporters at a press conference in Austin last month she’d dilated prematurely because of a condition called cervical insufficiency.
Doctors told Zurawski the loss of her daughter was inevitable. In the midst of mourning their loss, she asked her health care providers what could be done to terminate the pregnancy and protect her from a deadly infection.
Their response: nothing.
Because cardiac activity could still be detected in the fetus, the team could not intervene until Zurawski was sick enough for the hospital ethics board to consider her life at risk and permit an abortion procedure. That’s because of Senate Bill 8, the so-called “heartbeat law” that bans abortion after roughly six weeks.
Three days later, Zurawski said she developed sepsis and entered intensive care.
“I cannot adequately put into words the trauma and despair that comes with waiting to either lose your own life, or your child’s life,” she said. “Would Willow’s heart stop, or would I deteriorate to the point of death?”