Women threatened by abortion restrictions advocate for Biden due to concerns for their health

A Texas woman who went into premature labor, developed sepsis, and nearly died, as well as a Louisiana woman who claims restrictive abortion laws prevented her from seeking medical care for a miscarriage, is now campaigning for President Joe Biden, as the Democrat emphasizes how the repeal of federal abortion protections is affecting women’s health.

Amanda Zurawski and Kaitlyn Joshua will go to North Carolina and Wisconsin in the coming two weeks to meet with doctors, local politicians, and voters. The Biden team sees their experiences as powerful firsthand accounts of the increased medical risk for many women as Republicans’ abortion restrictions complicate health care.

Women threatened by abortion restrictions advocate for Biden due to concerns for their health

“The abortion topic is a very heavy topic, and I understand that,” said Joshua, 31, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “But I also understand and believe that the Biden and Harris administration is the only administration that could do anything remotely close to addressing abortion bans… and then doing a deeper dive into research and understanding women’s health in general.”

Biden and Democrats see reproductive health as a major driver in the 2024 election, while the president and his allies blame Republican Donald Trump, whose judicial nominations paved the way for the Supreme Court’s conservative majority decision in 2022, which overturned abortion rights codified in Roe v Wade.

Republicans, including Trump, are unsure how to address the issue, if at all. Trump has taken responsibility for overturning Roe and recommended that abortion be legal until 15 weeks, and he has vowed to provide a statement explaining his principles this week.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision, voters have adopted a number of statewide ballot measures to protect or expand the right to abortion. Support for abortion access brought women to the polls in the 2022 midterm elections, resulting in unexpected Democratic victories.

According to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, over two-thirds of Americans believe abortion should be generally allowed. Only around one-quarter believe abortion should always be allowed, while roughly one-tenth believe it should always be outlawed.

Joshua and her husband were thrilled to be expecting a second child. However, at approximately 11 weeks, she began to feel bleeding and severe agony. She suspected that she was miscarrying.

Women threatened by abortion restrictions advocate for Biden due to concerns for their health

Doctors evaluated her in an emergency room in Baton Rouge but refused to confirm her miscarriage or discuss medical options, she alleged. She was sent home to wait. The bleeding worsened, so she went to a second hospital, where physicians sent her home and instructed her to call her doctor in a few days. A midwife eventually confirmed Joshua’s miscarriage.

“Something that sounds as simple as dealing with a miscarriage can’t even be met with a true diagnosis anymore,” Joshua went on to say. “It’s pretty wild, right? And it’s very frightening.”

Joshua and Zurawski will visit Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday, a state that Biden hopes to flip. The state passed a measure prohibiting most abortions beyond 12 weeks, overriding the Democratic governor’s veto.

The next week, they will visit Milwaukee, Eau Claire, and Madison, Wisconsin, which Biden won in 2020. Republicans in the state Assembly attempted to place a statewide referendum on the ballot in April that would prohibit abortion after 14 weeks of pregnancy, which is more restrictive than current law, but the legislative session concluded without a state Senate vote.

Both women stated that their personal experiences inspired them to pursue a political career.

“People don’t get how bad it is, and they don’t get how bleak it is,” added Zurawski. “And so the more we continue to share our stories. … I think it’s really important to spread awareness and paint this picture.”

Zurawski, 37, of Austin, sued Texas last year after she and other women were unable to obtain medical care due to the state’s abortion restrictions. She was in her second trimester, following 18 months of fertility treatments, when she went into premature delivery and was informed the baby would not survive. Doctors said they couldn’t intervene to give an abortion because Zurawski was not in serious enough medical danger.

Zurawski had to wait. Three days later, her condition deteriorated fast, and she got sepsis, a serious medical disease in which the body fails to respond correctly to an infection. She recovered enough to give birth to a stillborn girl called Willow. Zurawski then spent several days in critical care.

She recently returned from a family trip to Disney World and stated, “I thought I’d be coming home from that trip with a 1-year-old and putting her down for a nap.”

“But instead I’m doing this interview to help campaign for Biden,” Zurawski told CNN. “It’s just the complete opposite world than I ever would have seen myself in.”

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