Supreme Court Ruling on Out-of-State Abortion
After a desperate week-long battle for her right to end her pregnancy, a 31-year-old mother of two, Kate Cox, has left Texas to obtain an abortion. Her lawyers announced the news just hours after the Texas Supreme Court ruled against her, denying her request for permission to terminate her pregnancy.
According to representatives from the Center for Reproductive Rights, the organization representing Cox, she was forced to leave the state in order to receive the medical care she needed. This comes after facing delays and a tumultuous legal battle in her home state of Texas.
Cox’s unborn baby was diagnosed with trisomy 18, a fatal condition where the baby has an extra copy of chromosome 18. The diagnosis carries a high likelihood of miscarriage or stillbirth, with low chances of survival.
In her lawsuit, Cox’s doctors argued that continuing her pregnancy not only jeopardized her own health but also posed a risk to her future fertility. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine reported that there is no live birth in about 70% of pregnancies involving trisomy 18 that proceed past 12 weeks gestational age.
Under current Texas law, there are narrow exceptions for abortions, including when the life of the mother is in danger, but not for fatal fetal anomalies. This means that Cox’s request for an abortion was met with resistance from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the state’s Supreme Court.
Paxton argued that Cox had not demonstrated that her life was at immediate risk, despite being diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy and experiencing multiple visits to the emergency room. His office also sent letters to three Houston hospitals, threatening legal consequences if they allowed Cox’s physician to perform the procedure.
However, Cox’s lawyers maintained that her condition, which included complications due to previous cesarean surgeries, met the exception laid out in Texas law. They argued that inducing labor carried the risk of a uterine rupture, and another cesarean surgery at full term could seriously endanger her ability to carry another child in the future.
Cox’s case was closely monitored as she was believed to be the first woman in the United States to ask for permission to obtain an abortion since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year.
It is not known where Cox went to obtain the procedure, but it is believed she was at least 20 weeks and six days pregnant at the time of her departure from Texas.
This case highlights the ongoing battle over abortion rights in the United States and the limited exceptions for abortions in states like Texas. Cox’s legal battle and subsequent departure from her home state serve as a powerful reminder of the difficulties women face in seeking medical care for a range of reproductive health issues.