A Texas judge has granted permission for a 31-year-old Dallas-area woman, Kate Cox, to terminate her pregnancy under the state’s strict abortion ban. The decision comes in light of the diagnosis of a fatal chromosomal disorder, trisomy 18, in Cox’s fetus. This condition typically leads to stillbirth or early infant mortality.
Cox, a mother of two, filed an emergency lawsuit, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, stating that continuing the pregnancy poses severe risks to her life and future fertility. The lawsuit highlights the challenges faced by Cox due to Texas’ stringent abortion bans, limiting her options and subjecting her to potential complications.
During a Zoom hearing, the judge emphasized the urgency of Cox’s situation, stating, “The idea that Ms. Cox wants desperately to be a parent, and this law might actually cause her to lose that ability is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice.”
The Texas Attorney General’s office, led by Ken Paxton, did not respond to requests for comment on the state’s future actions. The Center for Reproductive Rights asserts that the state does not have the immediate right to appeal.
Cox, at 20 weeks pregnant, faced multiple challenges, having visited three emergency rooms in the past month. Doctors warned of the likelihood of an unhealthy outcome for the baby, placing her at risk of severe complications due to her previous cesarean sections. The lawsuit argues that Texas’ restrictive abortion laws left doctors with limited options, compelling Cox to either wait for the fetus to die inside her or carry the pregnancy to term, witnessing her baby’s suffering until death.
The legal proceedings come amid ongoing deliberations by the State Supreme Court on the appropriateness of Texas’ strict abortion ban, particularly concerning women experiencing severe pregnancy complications. While an Austin judge previously granted exemptions for such cases, the ruling is pending review by the all-Republican Supreme Court.
In the state Supreme Court arguments, Texas’ lawyers suggested that a woman receiving a fatal fetal diagnosis could pursue a lawsuit in that specific circumstance. The case underscores the intersection of personal medical decisions and legal constraints within the context of Texas’ abortion legislation.