Texas Mom Shares How She Had To Watch Her Baby Suffer & Gasp For Air Due To Abortion Laws

“I felt so bad. She had no mercy. There was no mercy there for her.”

Several women suing the state of Texas over its strict abortion laws delivered emotional testimony in an Austin court on Wednesday. Each woman endured failed pregnancies brought on by complications, and they are urging the state, where nearly all abortions are banned after six weeks of pregnancy, to clarify its vague, confusing laws that prohibit doctors from performing the procedure.

Several women will tell their stories in court over the next several days as well as one Houston area OB-GYN who is there to represent her patients as part of a case brought forth by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of 13 patients and two doctors. One woman, mom of four Samantha Casiano, delivered emotional testimony about her experience giving birth to a daughter who died four hours after she was born because she was denied access to an abortion. An abortion that was previously protected under Roe v. Wade, which was overturned last June by the Supreme Court.

The plaintiffs in this case are not asking for the abortion ban to be overturned. Rather they are seeking a “remedy applied to patients whose life, health or fertility is at risk from an emergent medical condition,” according to opening statements from Molly Duane, a senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

In Casiano’s case, she testified that she was forced to carry her baby to full term despite the fact that her baby had been diagnosed with anencephaly, a condition that was 100% fatal. The mom of four could not afford to leave the state for an abortion and was worried that she and her husband would be “in trouble” if they tried. “I have children, I can’t go to jail,” Casiano told the court. “I can’t get this fine, how would I pay for that, I can’t lose my job. I felt like I had no options.”

“My daughter came out of me and she was gasping for air. It’s all I can remember,” Casiano told the court about her baby girl, who she and her husband named Halo. “I had to watch my daughter go from being pink, to red to purple, from warm to cold. Her eyeballs being regular to things just popping in there, bleeding. I had to watch my baby suffer. I just kept telling myself and my baby that I’m so sorry that this had to happen to you. I was so sorry that I couldn’t help her and release her, going to heaven sooner rather than later," Casiano said. “I felt so bad. She had no mercy. There was no mercy there for her.”

Casiano became so distraught giving her testimony that she was physically sick on the stand.

Another woman who testified, Ashley Brandt, did manage to get an abortion across state lines for a selective reduction as one of the twins she was carrying did not form a skull due to a fatal condition called acrania. “If I had not gone out of state and had just done what was legal in Texas, my daughter Marley would most likely be in the NICU because she would have been born before 37 weeks,” Brandt testified. “All my ultrasounds up to labor I would have had to watch twin A deteriorate more and more every week.”

“I would have had to give birth to an identical version of my daughter without a skull and without a brain and hold her until she died,” Brandt continued. “Then I would have had to submit a death certificate and plan a funeral and decide if I wanted to bury her or cremate her. It just would have been heartbreaking. But instead I got to just give birth to my healthy daughter.”

Amanda Zurawski, the third woman to testify, recalled how she was told that she would inevitably miscarry because her cervix was dilating early, causing her to lose amniotic fluid needed to carry her pregnancy. Doctors told her they could not induce labor because there was still a fetal heartbeat and she would either have to miscarry naturally or that her own life would have to be in jeopardy for them to intervene. Surawski went into septic shock and spent days in the Intensive Care Unit as a result.

“I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. It felt like the worst flu I had ever had in my life. I was so sore. Every muscle in my body was so sore that I couldn’t sit up without assistance,” Zurawski said. “I couldn’t roll over. I actually lost control of my bowels and soiled the bed multiple times, which was absolutely humiliating.”

Lawyers for the state of Texas are arguing that these women were dissatisfied with their medical attention and simply don’t agree with the abortion laws. More women are expected to testify with their own stories over the next few days.