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Texas AG refutes claim that state’s abortion law prevents women from getting healthcare for miscarriage

Texas
The Texas State Capitol is seen on September 20, 2021, in Austin, Texas. |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is pushing back against claims that an abortion law in his state prevents women from receiving healthcare for a miscarriage, characterizing one such report on CNN as a “made-up story.”  

During an appearance on The Blaze’s “The News and Why It Matters” Monday, Paxton reacted to a CNN report alleging that a Texas woman was forced to carry her dead baby for two weeks after having a miscarriage. CNN claimed that Marlena Stell was denied a dilation and curettage procedure to remove the remains of her dead baby due to Texas' abortion law. D&Cs are sometimes performed in abortions and women's healthcare treatments such as the removal of uterine polyps. 

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Paxton insisted. “The procedure is not outlawed by Texas law and so this was a very slanted story that didn’t direct at the right place, which was the doctor.” 

Paxton noted that CNN did not interview the doctor who refused to perform the dilation and curettage procedure, whom he slammed for making a “really poor decision.”

The attorney general further explained that Texas' abortion law provides exceptions for the life of the mother as well as in cases of ectopic pregnancy. 

“Anything like that, where you’ve got the baby is deceased, that certainly is a procedure that can be done and anything that is done to save the life of the mother is certainly protected under Texas law,” Paxton added. He was adamant that the CNN report was a “made-up story” because “they didn’t interview the doctor.” 

Paxton reported that his office was not aware of doctors refusing to perform D&Cs to remove babies' remains because of Texas abortion law and contended that the purpose of the CNN report was to make it seem like lots of doctors were refusing to perform the procedure, a proposition he characterized as “just not true.”

Blaze commentator Sara Gonzales elaborated on the allegations made in the CNN report, specifically that after an ultrasound revealed that Stell's baby had no heartbeat, her doctor informed her that state law required her to get “multiple other ultrasounds to confirm what the other ultrasound had already said” and that such ultrasounds had to be performed by different facilities. Paxton cited these claims as part of an effort “to confuse people, make them think what she’s saying is in the law.”

In a CNN interview, Stell recalled a conversation she had with her obstetrician after learning that her baby did not have a heartbeat. According to Stell, the doctor informed her that “because of this law, I cannot provide you any care, we need you to go get another ultrasound somewhere else.” She told CNN that “it became a battle of having to go get multiple ultrasounds to even prove that I had indeed miscarried and then having to come back and beg for a D&C, I still was denied one.”

“In the end, [I] had to go to an abortion clinic to get one because I could not get one at a hospital,” she added. She also maintained that the topic of her “own personal well-being” did not come up at all during the two-week period between the time she learned her baby did not have a heartbeat and when she finally had a D&C done. 

Gonzales engaged in a back-and-forth with Stell on Twitter, which began with the Blaze opinion host sharing text from Texas state law declaring that “an act is not an abortion if the act is done with the intent to: (A) save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child; (B) remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by spontaneous abortion; or (C) remove an ectopic pregnancy.” 

“Yeah, either this doctor is dumb as s*** or this woman is lying. Removal of a dead fetus is not considered an abortion in Texas,” Gonzales said. Stell responded by inviting Gonzales to “have a real and factual conversation about miscarriage care.”

Gonzales replied by reiterating that “Texas law is VERY clear” that “a D&C to remove a dead fetus is allowed.” She called on Stell to expose her doctor “so they don’t put any more women at risk.” 

When Stell asserted that pro-lifers “give 0 s**** for women dying as long as their perceived infant supply is ok,” Gonzales once again urged her to “expose the doctor who lied to you about Texas law and put your life at risk.” 

After Stell stated in a subsequent tweet that “doctors will stall or deny treatment in fear of law and D&Cs will take longer to get,” Gonzales interpreted that as an admission that “it wasn’t the law that prevented you from getting medical care, but an incompetent or lying doctor willing to put your life at risk.”

“Expose them if you care about women’s health,” she proclaimed. Gonzales offered Stell the opportunity to “come on my show and let’s talk about why you continue protecting a doctor you say almost let you die because he didn’t understand abortion law.” Stell declined the request because of her belief that Gonzales does not “want to genuinely understand my story” but rather “place blame, call me a liar and devalue what is happening to women.” 

“If you want to have an honest conversation let’s have it but I know you don’t want to because you don’t like what my story implies: LAWS HAVE EFFECTS,” Stell continued.

Gonzales followed up by assuring Stell that “I’m giving you a platform to expose the doctor who misrepresented the law before this doctor potentially kills women,” adding: “If you truly care about women, you’ll take the opportunity.” 

While Stell remarked that she had “answered [Gonzales’] questions all day,” she indicated that she would not accept Gonzales’ request to expose the doctors who refused to provide her with miscarriage treatment because they were “following protocol.”

Gonzales’ response illustrated how she saw the situation a little differently: “You have not answered my questions. I’ve asked you multiple times to expose the doctor who put you at risk so you can save other women. You have refused. What are you trying to obfuscate?” 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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