Unprecedented Challenge to Restrictive Ban
A pregnant Texas woman, Kate Cox, 31, has left the state to obtain an abortion after seeking court permission in a landmark case that challenges one of the most restrictive bans in the U.S., according to her attorneys. Cox, a mother of two from the Dallas area, was awaiting a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court on whether she could legally obtain an abortion under narrow exceptions to the state’s ban. The decision to leave the state came as a result of her deteriorating health and the urgent need for the procedure.
A High-Stakes Battle
Cox’s lawsuit has garnered significant attention as she became the first woman in the U.S. to request court permission for an abortion since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year. The case has become a high-profile test for the bans in Texas and other GOP-controlled states that prohibit abortion at nearly all stages of pregnancy. Another pregnant woman in Kentucky has also sought court permission for an abortion, but no ruling has been made in her case yet.
Medical Groups Advocate for Cox
Earlier on Monday, two prominent medical groups, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, urged the Texas Supreme Court to rule in favor of Cox. They argue that her health is at risk due to the fetal anomalies and that the state’s actions in opposing the abortion she needs only exacerbate the already pervasive fear among the Texas medical community.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been defending the state’s strict anti-abortion laws for almost a decade. In this case, Paxton’s office argued that Cox failed to demonstrate that her life was in danger as a result of the pregnancy. The Texas abortion ban allows narrow exceptions when the life of the mother is at risk, but not for fetal anomalies like Cox’s case.
A Difficult Decision
Cox’s doctors informed her that her fetus has a condition known as trisomy 18, which carries a high likelihood of miscarriage or stillbirth and low survival rates. They advised that inducing labor or carrying the baby to term could also jeopardize her ability to have another child. Trisomy 18 is a rare condition that occurs in approximately 1 in 2,500 diagnosed pregnancies. The termination of pregnancies due to fetal anomalies is rarely discussed in national abortion debates.
While there are no recent statistics on the frequency of terminations for fetal anomalies in the U.S., experts believe it represents only a small percentage of total abortion procedures.