Amanda is the new face on abortion


INDIANAPOLIS — On dozens of billboards across Indiana, Right to Life urges folks to “love them both” when it comes to a mother and a fetus. During his recent Republican gubernatorial campaign, former attorney general Curtis Hill frequently recounted how he brought more than 2,000 aborted fetuses discovered in Illinois home for a proper burial.

Advocates for reproductive rights now have a face to put on their pro-choice cause, Amanda Zurawski of Texas. According to Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jennifer McCormick, “She’s a Hoosier.”

On a recent visit to Texas, McCormick spent time with Zurawski. “She proceeds to tell me that she was born and raised in Indiana,” McCormick said at a town hall forum at the IBEW Hall in Indianapolis. “She is us. She met a man and they got pregnant. They wanted that pregnancy. The pregnancy had major complications. Her health care provider told her, ‘Look, the baby is not going to make it. You’re going to have to go home and either bleed out until you’re in critical crisis mode. You can’t be here.’

McCormick continued, “She said, ‘What are my choices? She was told, ‘That’s it.’”

The context of this was a question posed to McCormick by a voter: How does criminalizing doctors and OB-GYNs come into play?

“The criminalization of health care providers who are providing care to folks in trauma, they have to fear that someone is going to go after (their) license,” McCormick said. “I certainly don’t want my health care provider to be in that situation, where in the back of their mind they are thinking, ‘If I do this, which you desperately need, I could be facing this.’ That is a dangerous situation to be in.’”

Zurawski is now featured in a political ad for President Biden’s reelection campaign, one in which he vows to restore reproductive rights following the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision that ended the 50-year period of abortion access following the Roe vs. Wade decision.

The former Fort Wayne teacher’s move to Texas was fateful after the state’s legislature passed an abortion ban with no exceptions, not even the “life of the mother.” It was later ruled constitutional by the Texas Supreme Court.

On April 26, 2023, Zurawski testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She said, “I was carrying our daughter, Willow, who had finally, blissfully been conceived after 18 months of grueling fertility treatment. My husband and I were beyond thrilled.”

It all changed after symptoms developed. “After a brief examination, my husband and I received the harrowing news that I had dilated prematurely due to a condition known as cervical insufficiency,” she said. “Soon after, my membranes ruptured, and we were told by multiple doctors that the loss of our daughter was inevitable. It was clear that this was not a question of if we would lose our baby; it was a question of when.”

She asked what could be done “to ensure the respectful passing of our baby, and what could protect me from a deadly infection now that my body was unprotected and vulnerable.”

The “anguished” response from her medical team was “there was nothing they could do because of Texas’s anti-abortion laws. My doctor didn’t feel safe enough to intervene as long as her heart was beating. For days, I was locked in this bizarre and avoidable hell. Would Willow’s heart stop, or would I deteriorate to the brink of death?”

She developed sepsis, which Zurawski explained, is “a condition in which bacteria in the blood develops into infection, with the ability to kill in under an hour.

“What I needed was an abortion, a standard medical procedure,” she said. “An abortion would have prevented the unnecessary harm and suffering that I endured. Being pregnant is difficult and complicated enough. We do not need you to make it even more terrifying and, frankly, downright dangerous to create life in this country.”

McCormick told the town hall, “The choice is clear. I am going to fight to restore reproductive rights and freedoms and not strip them away. I am going to fight to keep your birth control.”

McCormick is positioning her campaign against Republican nominee Mike Braun as a “referendum” on abortion. It could be her chance at making this open seat race competitive.

We’ve watched constitutional abortion access referendums pass in Republican states such as Kentucky, Ohio, Kansas, and Montana since the Dobbs decision. This past week in an Ohio special congressional election, state Sen. Michael Rulli defeated Democrat Michael Kripchak by 10%. The previous Republican congressman had won the district by 30% last year.

In Florida, where an abortion referendum is on the November ballot, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s lead over Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell went from a 53-36% lead in an April Florida Atlantic University poll to a 45-43% lead this week.

And Gallup reported this week that a record-high 32% of U.S. voters say they would only vote for a candidate for major office who shares their views on abortion.

McCormick told voters that the governor can make a difference, appointing various judges and agency positions, as well as having the so-called “bully pulpit.”

“That’s going to be us, and the only thing standing in the way is 2024 and your vote,” McCormick said. “That’s it.”


Brian Howey is senior writer and columnist for Howey Politics Indiana/State Affairs. Find Howey on Facebook and X @hwypol.