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Woman vomits while testifying in lawsuit against Texas over abortion ban

The woman is one of 13 women and two OB-GYNs who are suing the state of Texas over its unclear abortion laws.
/ Source: TODAY

A plaintiff vomited during her testimony in a lawsuit against the state of Texas over its abortion ban.

Samantha Casiano is one of 13 women and two OB-GYNs suing Texas and asking a judge to define what constitutes a medical emergency under the state’s abortion laws, according to NBC News. The two-day hearings began on July 19 and saw Casiano appear alongside two other women who spoke about their nonviable pregnancies while on the stand.

On the first day of the hearing, Casiano spoke about being diagnosed at 20 weeks gestation with anencephaly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anencephaly is a severe congenital disorder that results in a baby being born without portions of its brain and skull.

Upon the diagnosis, Casiano’s obstetrician ultimately provided her with information about funeral homes.

Casiano read a doctor’s note while on the stand which described her pregnancy as high-risk. In recalling her experience, Casiano was overtaken by tears and threw up, prompting the judge overseeing the case to call for a recess.

Upon returning to the stand, Casiano said she’d experienced a physical reaction to remembering this traumatic period in her life, saying it “just makes my body remember, and it just reacts.” She also shared that she considered having an abortion in another state but feared losing her job or being made to face punishment.

“I felt like I was imprisoned in my own body,” she testified.

A woman with orange hair and wearing a black t-shirt that says "her fight is my fight" speaks into a microphone behind a podium.
Samantha Casiano, in the center, speaks during a press conference outside the Travis County Courthouse on July 19, 2023 in Austin, Texas.Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP via Getty Images

Casiano ultimately went into early labor with Halo, who died four hours later.

“I now have a psychiatrist,” Casiano added. “I now vomit a lot more. I’ve never vomited before like that, ever, before my pregnancy. My body’s never reacted that way.”

Two other women — Amanda Zurawski and Ashley Brandt — joined Casiano in the July 19 hearings. Both women detailed their experiences of carrying nonviable pregnancies.

Zurawski is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. During the hearing, she testified that she almost died from sepsis after being prevented from having an abortion when her water broke at 18 weeks.

Brandt is a woman who lives in Dallas, Texas and testified that she had to seek an abortion in Colorado while carrying twins in order to terminate a nonviable fetus. The fetus had a fatal condition called acrania — which, according to the Cleveland Clinic, occurs when the skull and scalp fail to develop in the uterus. The longer the fetus remained in her womb, the more it became a threat to the survival of the other baby that Brandt was carrying.

During her testimony, Brandt shared that she “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.”

All three women accused Texas's unclear abortion law of being responsible for their experiences. Meanwhile, Dr. Damla Karsan — an OB-GYN based in Houston — testified that she was unsure of how to interpret the Texas law abortion law.

More testimonies from doctors and experts will resume during the July 20 hearings.