Several of the plaintiffs suing Texas over its abortion ban.
(Image credit: Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Five women are suing Texas over its strict abortion ban, saying they were denied the procedure even though they were experiencing life-threatening pregnancy complications.

The lawsuit was filed Monday, with the backing of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and calls on officials to clarify the exceptions to the state's abortions ban.

The five women all said their fetuses did not have a chance of survival, and if they carried them they faced risks of hemorrhaging and infection. Under Texas law, in cases where there is risk of "substantial" harm to the patient, abortions can be done, but the suit says doctors refused to perform the procedure over fears of repercussions; Texas allows individuals to file lawsuits against doctors who provide abortions, which can lead to fines and prison time.

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Four of the women who filed the lawsuit said they had to leave Texas to get their abortions. One woman, Amanda Zurawski, said she was only able to get an abortion after she developed blood poisoning. "My doctors could not intervene as long as her heart was beating or until I was sick enough for the ethics board of the hospital to consider my life at risk and permit the standard health care I needed at that point," Zurawski said during a Tuesday news conference.

Two Texas doctors also joined the lawsuit, with Dr. Damla Karsan saying in the filing that "widespread fear and confusion regarding the scope of Texas' abortion bans has chilled the provision of necessary obstetric care, including abortion care."

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