Woman Denied Abortion With Fatal Condition, Leaves Texas
HOUSTON, TX (IANS) – A woman who sued Texas to get an abortion after learning that the fetus has a fatal condition, has left the US state to have the procedure, her lawyers have confirmed.
Shortly after Thanksgiving last month, 31-year-old Kate Cox from the Dallas area found that her fetus was diagnosed with trisomy 18, — a chromosomal disorder which in most cases results in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the baby within the first year of life, the BBC reported.
The mother of two was granted an exception by a Texas judge on December 7, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened criminal prosecution against any doctors or healthcare providers who helped her obtain an abortion.
According to Cox’s court filings, doctors refused to perform an abortion on her, saying their “hands were tied” if her baby had a heartbeat.
Paxton also asked the state’s Supreme Court to intervene, and the latter obliged, temporarily blocking Cox from obtaining an abortion while it reviewed the case.
On December 12 the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents Cox, announced that she had left the state to get health care elsewhere, following “a week of legal whiplash”, CNN reported.
The Center, however, did not disclose more details about Cox’s plans, but it said that she “offers to help her access abortion elsewhere, from Kansas to Colorado to Canada”.
Just hours after the Center’s announcement, the state Supreme Court ruled against her.
The ruling calls into question whether this decision could deter women in similar situations from seeking a court-authorized abortion.
Texas has one of the strictest abortion bans in the country. Abortions in the state are prohibited from the point of conception, except in rare cases where the life of the expectant mother is under threat.
There is no state-wide law prohibiting travel outside of the state for abortion, but some counties have passed such restrictions in recent months.
In October, Lubbock County became the largest county to enact such a measure, making it illegal for anyone to transport a pregnant woman through the county, or pay for her travel, to obtain an abortion.
Nearly 1 in 5 people who had an abortion in the US in the first half of 2023 – more than 92,000 people – traveled across state lines for their care, according to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health that supports abortion rights.