Texan Woman Travels to New Mexico for Abortion Care, Joins Legal Battle

Kimberly Manzano, 34, and her now-husband, 35, started trying to get conceived in April 2022, wanting to share the good news with their friends and family at their wedding a few months later.

Despite the fact that the couple didn’t find out they were expecting until November 2022, two months after their wedding, Manzano expressed excitement.

Not long later, her delight turned to grief when she miscarried.

“After meeting with our OB and realising that everything was fine after the loss of the miscarriage, we decided to try again,” Manzano said in an interview with ABC News. “So we were super excited after we found out in January — just a couple months later — that I was pregnant.”

However, Manzano claimed in an amended lawsuit that she had been experiencing troubling symptoms since the beginning of her pregnancy, leading up to the difficult decision to travel for New Mexico for abortion care she was not offered in Texas, despite the “limited to no chance her baby could live more than a couple of days,” if she was even able to carry to term.

Manzano is one of seven women who filed a lawsuit against Texas this week, alleging that they were denied abortions despite experiencing grave pregnancy problems. The total number of plaintiffs in the claim now stands at 22, with 20 of them being women affected by the prohibitions and two being physicians suing on behalf of themselves and their patients.

The complaint, filed in March by the Centre for Reproductive Rights, was the first brought by women affected by abortion laws since the United States Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade last year, thus terminating federal safeguards for abortion rights.

Texas has many overlapping abortion laws in place, including a trigger ban that entered into force in August 2022, outlawing abortions at practically all stages of pregnancy and making providing the procedure a crime.

Another prohibition, SB 8, which goes into effect in September 2021, permits ordinary persons to sue if they “reasonably believed” the someone conducted an abortion or helped someone in procuring one. The ban also carries significant criminal consequences, including up to life in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Complications during the pregnancy

Manzano first became anxious when she began suffering acute pains in her upper belly and expressed anxiety that she was miscarrying again. When Manzano and her husband went to the ER, they were told she had bleeding between her uterine wall and the fetus’s amniotic sac.

Manzano was advised by emergency personnel to consult with her OB-GYN. Manzano was directed to a maternal-fetal medicine expert at 10 weeks after an ultrasonography revealed an abnormal growth on the foetus’ spine.

According to the MFM, the foetus had amniotic band syndrome, which happens when the inner lining of the amniotic sac is destroyed during pregnancy, resulting in strings of tissue – or bands – that wrap around various areas of the body and hinder the foetus from developing correctly.

“We couldn’t see anything from the right femur down so there was no limb from basically the right knee down,” Manzano said in a statement.

A second MFM verified that organs were outside the body and that a leg was missing, but advised an MRI to evaluate the viability of the pregnancy. In the midst of all of this, she discovered she was expecting a boy.

The MRI at 20 weeks indicated that the fetus’s spinal cord had not closed, resulting in spinal fluid leakage. Genitalia had not formed, and the foetus lacked a bladder and a kidney. There was also a defect in the abdomen wall from the cord to the pelvic region. If she brought the pregnancy to term, the baby may be stillborn.

Manzano was also at danger of infection if she continued the pregnancy since the foetus’ pee was seeping into her uterus.

“We sat in that room and… our hearts broke,” said Manzano. “We clung to every hope.” Every appointment required us to wait. We searched for second views from paediatric surgeons. We did all in our power.”

 

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