Source: Guttmacher Institute
The Center for Reproductive Rights has been representing Kate Cox in an emergency lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order on Texas abortion bans in order to terminate her pregnancy. The morning of December 7th, a judge granted their request to allow Cox access to the reproductive healthcare that she needs, without fear of repercussions. However, the next day the Texas Supreme Court temporarily halted this ruling, following Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request. Now, Cox must wait for the Texas Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter, while she is already 20 weeks into her pregnancy.
Cox, a mother of two from Dallas, was devastated when her fetus was diagnosed with full trisomy 18, a fatal chromosomal anomaly that causes spine abnormalities, umbilical hernia, clubbed foot, and other debilitating conditions. As a result, her physicians recommended an abortion. If she carries the pregnancy to term, she is at a greater risk of a miscarriage or stillbirth, as well as gestational hypertension, diabetes, and other complications from the required cesarean section. This would also impact Cox’s ability to carry a third child in the future.
Texas has the most extreme abortion bans in the country, banning abortions completely with very limited exceptions. The ban is enforced through private lawsuits, creating vigilantes that target patients as well as doctors for aiding or abetting abortions. Cox v. Texas is the first case of its kind in 50 years. The lawsuit is requesting the judge grant a temporary restraining order to prohibit enforcement of Texas’ abortion bans against Cox, her husband, her OB/GYN, and medical staff.
The Texas Supreme Court is already hearing another abortion case, Zurawski v. Texas, in which 20 women and two doctors are suing the state to clarify which medical exemptions are permitted under the current abortion restrictions. A county judge originally ruled that the abortion ban is not applicable to patients with life-threatening medical complications or fatal fetal anomalies. However, the state attorney general appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. Cox simply did not have the time to wait for the Supreme Court to decide on this case.
Access to basic, lifesaving healthcare should not require individuals to resort to legal action. Abortion is a human right.