Kate Cox, a mother of two from Texas, discovered she was pregnant again in August. However, she received heartbreaking news that her baby has a fatal condition and is expected to be stillborn or pass away shortly after birth.
Cox, 31, has been unexpectedly thrust into a difficult situation regarding abortion bans, which have significantly changed the circumstances for women in the United States. While a judge in Texas initially granted Cox the ability to have an abortion this week, the decision was put on hold by the state’s highest court on Friday evening.
The legality of Cox’s abortion, given that she is currently 20 weeks pregnant, is uncertain due to limited exceptions to the state’s ban. The Texas Supreme Court, consisting of nine Republican justices, has not provided a timeline for when they will make a decision on her case.
A pregnant woman in Kentucky has taken legal action, which is thought to be the first of its kind since the reversal of Roe v. Wade last year, in order to obtain permission for an abortion. Another woman in the same state has also filed a comparable lawsuit.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, representing Cox, posted a statement on X on Saturday, stating that the State of Texas is engaging in unethical political tactics while putting their client’s life at risk. The fight is far from over.
Here is some important information:
According to a lawsuit filed in Austin this week, Cox resides in the Dallas region with her spouse and two kids, aged 3 and 1. She experienced challenges during both pregnancies and underwent cesarean surgery for both births.
During October, Cox was informed by medical professionals that her developing baby was highly susceptible to trisomy 18, a condition that greatly increases the chances of miscarriage or stillbirth, and has a low survival rate, according to the legal complaint. Her lawyers state that Cox has visited the emergency room on at least four occasions, including this week, and that her health becomes more jeopardized the longer she remains pregnant.
Cox has been advised by medical professionals that either inducing labor or carrying the baby to full term may put her future fertility at risk.
“I am hoping for the opportunity to have another child,” Cox stated in an interview with NBC News this week, following a lower court’s decision to allow her to have an abortion. “My health and our family are my main concerns.”
According to Republican Attorney General Kan Paxton of Texas, who is spearheading the movement to stop abortion, Cox does not meet the necessary criteria for a medical exemption under the state’s ban. Paxton’s team claims that Cox did not provide sufficient evidence that her pregnancy posed an immediate threat to her life and points out that she was discharged from the hospital after her emergency room visits.
The prohibition in Texas does not allow for any cases of fetal abnormalities. While there is no current data on the rate of pregnancies terminated due to fetal anomalies in the United States, specialists estimate it to be a minor portion of all procedures.
The office of Paxton stated in a filing to the state Supreme Court that the Texas Legislature did not intend for courts to continuously grant permission for obtaining abortions.
Texas is one of 13 states that rushed to ban abortion at nearly all stages of pregnancy after Roe was overturned. Texas has long been at the forefront of strict abortion laws in the U.S., and even now, there are ongoing efforts to make it harder for pregnant women to leave Texas for states where the procedure is legal.
In Texas, doctors who perform abortions can be charged with a crime that could result in a life sentence. Private individuals are also allowed to sue anyone who assists in obtaining an abortion, including the doctor’s staff. However, the mother is not at risk of facing legal repercussions under these laws.
According to state health data, less than 50 women in Texas have undergone abortions since the ban was implemented last year. There have been no reported criminal charges or lawsuits as a result.
One of the major legal issues since Roe v. Wade was overturned is determining who is eligible for a medical exception to Texas’ ban. A case currently before the Texas Supreme Court argues that the requirements set by lawmakers are too ambiguous, causing doctors to be hesitant to perform abortions in almost any situation.
It is probable that a decision in that matter is still several months in the future.
Shortly before the Texas Supreme Court paused Cox’s case on Friday, a woman in Kentucky who is currently eight weeks pregnant also sought the legal right to obtain an abortion in state court.
The Kentucky lawsuit, unlike Cox’s case, aims to include other pregnant women who desire to obtain an abortion in its class-action status. Republican State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office has previously supported anti-abortion laws, has stated that his team is currently examining the lawsuit.