Texas attorney general temporarily blocks court-approved abortion

Kate Cox’s baby was diagnosed with full trisomy 18 and her baby may not survive until birth

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Saturday 09 December 2023 01:17 GMT
Judge allows Texas woman to have abortion

The Texas Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a court ruling that allowed a Dallas woman to seek emergency abortion care after the state’s Republican attorney general intervened.

A ruling from the state’s highest court late on Friday followed a request from Ken Paxton just before midnight on Thursday, after a judge in Travis County granted a temporary restraining order allowing Kate Cox to terminate her nonviable pregnancy.

He also sent a letter to three hospitals in the state threatening legal action if they allowed the abortion to go proceed.

“While we still hope that the Court ultimately rejects the state’s request and does so quickly, in this case we fear that justice delayed will be justice denied,” Molly Duane, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit on Ms Cox’s behalf, said in a statement on Friday.

“We are talking about urgent medical care. Kate is already 20 weeks pregnant. This is why people should not need to beg for healthcare in a court of law,” she added.

The judge’s decision went against the Republican-controlled state’s anti-abortion bans and is the first case of its kind since Roe v Wade was overturned.

Kate Cox’s baby was diagnosed with full trisomy 18, and her baby may not survive until birth, and if the baby does, the life would only span for minutes, hours or days, her attorney, Molly Duane said.

Mr Paxton has asked the Texas Supreme Court to rule quickly on the case, stating that “each hour [the temporary restraining order] remains in place is an hour that Plaintiffs believe themselves free to perform and procure an elective abortion.”

“Nothing can restore the unborn child’s life that will be lost as a result,” the filing said. “Post hoc enforcement is no substitute, so time is of the essence.”

Lawyers for Ms Cox, who is 20 weeks pregnant, argued that the only options open to her in Texas, an induction and C-section, could both cause her issues for future fertility as she has already had two C-sections.

“The idea that Ms Cox wants desperately to be a parent and that this law might cause her to lose that ability is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said while tearing up in court on Thursday.

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