In “The Diagnosis Was Fatal. She Couldn’t Get an Abortion,” Slate’s podcast “What Next” features the story of Lauren Hall, one of seven plaintiffs in the Center’s groundbreaking lawsuit against the state of Texas that seeks to clarify the scope of the state’s “medical emergency” exception under its extreme abortion bans. Hall, who discovered at 18 weeks pregnant that her fetus had a fatal condition and her own health was severely at risk, was denied an abortion by Texas doctors and ultimately forced to travel to a clinic outside of Seattle to obtain abortion care.
In the podcast, Hall describes the harrowing experience that led her to join the lawsuit. She learned that she needed an abortion only two weeks after Roe v. Wade was overturned, and she said some of her own family members—including her husband—were initially surprised to realize that she would not be able to obtain one in Texas.
“There’s a lot of people who say, ‘Well, but the law allows for situations like yours,’” Hall said. “[But] what does ‘life-threatening’ mean to one doctor versus another? It’s completely up in the air, and they’re not willing to risk their livelihood on a guess.”
Hall said that while continually reliving her experience is difficult, she chose to speak out in order to dispel public misconceptions and show the broad impact of abortion bans, including on people with wanted pregnancies.
“Our case was referenced in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and they’re working on changes to broaden the scope of treatment for fetal abnormalities and issues in pregnancy to not have to force people out of state. So there’s already been a positive impact, and I’m hopeful that that will continue here in Texas and anywhere else that there’s a ban,” Hall said. “Either way, I’m proud of what we’re doing, and whatever the outcome, I’ll be grateful that I was involved.”
Listen to the podcast here:
- “The Diagnosis Was Fatal. She Couldn’t Get an Abortion,” Slate, 03.30.23