'On the Brink' shows 'raw conversations' of abortion restriction, ABC News Rachel Scott says

Melanie Lawson Image
Friday, January 5, 2024
ABC's 'On the Brink' echos difficult conversation on abortion ruling
ABC13 speaks with ABC News correspondent Rachel Scott about 'On the Brink', a look at the implications of healthcare restrictions on pregnant women.

The state of Texas has some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation, and a new appeals court ruling is about to make them even tougher.

ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer and Congressional correspondent Rachel Scott go behind the laws to see how women in high-risk cases are being affected.

Scott spoke with ABC13 and said they had some highly emotional conversations with women who had medical emergencies in states with strict laws like Texas.

They met with a group of 18 women from 10 states.

All learned the heartbreaking news that their unborn babies - babies they desperately wanted - were not viable. Some of the women had dangerous complications that threatened their own lives, as well.

SEE HERE: ABC News' 'On the Brink' covers harrowing stories of pregnant women in states with abortion bans

Some of the women told Scott and Sawyer that because of the law - which also penalizes doctors and hospitals - they were told to go home, and wait until they were sick enough to qualify for care under Texas law.

Several women said they had to travel to other states for the procedure.

"These were difficult and raw conversations," Scott said. "You're getting all these women, and they're sharing stories they haven't shared with their friends, maybe their family. Many of them were nervous to speak out, and some of them had second thoughts about coming," Scoot said. "So the women who did come out.It took so much courage for them to speak out, to tell their reality, in hopes that they could promote change."

Scott says the ABC team also talked to more than 100 doctors, including those who chose to leave Texas to practice in other states that are less restrictive when it comes to abortion. Many physicians called it an "impossible situation, " Scott said.

"He told me he was nervous to have a direct and honest conversation with her," Scott said about one Texas doctor.

Scott said doctors in Texas and other conservative states didn't even want to use the word abortion, even if they knew the procedure would help save the mother's life and health, and admitted to having to talk in code with their patients.

RELATED: Texas emergency rooms are not required to perform life-saving abortions, federal court rules

Scott says many doctors are critical of lawmakers who pass restrictive laws on abortion, including the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark case Roe vs. Wade. She adds, "Many doctors themselves feel like they cannot help their patients. They feel powerless."

A Texas case decided earlier in the week by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals further restricted state law, ruling that a Texas hospital is not required to perform life-saving abortions.

That overrules the current federal law. Scott says the doctors and women she spoke to say it will have a "major and consequential effect" on abortion in this country and predicts abortion bans will be a significant issue in the 2024 elections.

"On the Brink" with Diane Sawyer and Rachel Scott airs Friday at 8 p.m. on ABC13 and streaming on Hulu.

Watch "On the Brink" this Friday at 8 p.m. EST. See the full trailer below:

ABC News' Diane Sawyer and Rachel Scott report for "Impact x Nightline" on the dire impact of new healthcare restrictions on pregnant women.

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