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Women denied abortions file lawsuits in Idaho, Tennessee and Oklahoma over bans By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Attorney Marc Hearron with the Center for Reproductive Rights and attorney Julie Murray with Planned Parenthood, speak to the media following arguments over a challenge to a Texas law that bans abortion after six weeks, in front of the United

By Gabriella Borter

(Reuters) – An abortion rights advocacy group filed lawsuits in three states on Tuesday on behalf of women who say they were denied abortions despite suffering life-threatening pregnancy complications.

The Center for Reproductive Rights sued on behalf of eight women and four doctors in Idaho, Tennessee and Oklahoma, three states that have passed some of the strictest abortion bans since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted federal abortion rights by overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022.

The lawsuits follow a similar case brought by the center in Texas, where a judge last month sided with five women who were denied abortions and exempted women experiencing pregnancy complications from Texas’ stringent abortion ban.

The lawsuits in Idaho and Tennessee ask the state courts to clarify those states’ legal exceptions for abortions in cases of medical emergencies, so that doctors may perform abortions when they deem them necessary without fear of prosecution.

All three states include narrow medical exceptions in their bans, but their vague language and potential criminal penalties for doctors have scared providers into delaying care to the detriment of patients’ health, plaintiffs say. Anti-abortion advocates say the laws clearly allow exceptions for abortions in rare emergency cases.

“With today’s filings, we are seeking to put an end to this chaos and give doctors clarity on when they can provide abortion care,” Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Marc Hearron said on a press call.

Nicole Blackmon, one of the plaintiffs in the Tennessee case, told reporters she was excited to become pregnant last year after losing her 14-year-old son in a drive-by shooting. But she learned at 24 weeks that her baby would not survive because of a fatal fetal condition, and she had to either travel for an abortion or wait for her health to deteriorate to justify an abortion in Tennessee under state law.

She couldn’t afford to travel, she said, so she waited as her health declined until her water broke in her seventh month and she delivered a stillborn.

“What we went through was torture that no one else should ever have to face,” she said.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a federal lawsuit in Oklahoma, alleging that the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital violated its federal responsibility to provide emergency care when it refused to perform an abortion for a woman who had a life-threatening, nonviable pregnancy.

The attorneys general for Tennessee and Idaho and Oklahoma Children’s Hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story originally appeared on Investing

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