Woman Granted Permission for Legal Abortion Flees State After Texas Supreme Court Halts Ruling

Her pregnancy could render her infertile if continued

Kate Cox and her husband, Justin, in court Thursday (Screenshot via Travis County 459th District Court)

Kate Cox is being forced to leave Texas to receive an abortion necessary to protect her personal health and her chances of giving birth again in the future.

According to the Texas Tribune, Cox is the first adult since Roe v. Wade to ask a judge for permission to abort a dangerous pregnancy, and a Travis County Judge allowed it late last week. That decision was put on hold Friday.

“This past week of legal limbo has been hellish for Kate,” said the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Nancy Northrup. “Her health is on the line. She’s been in and out of the emergency room, and she couldn’t wait any longer. This is why judges and politicians should not be making healthcare decisions for pregnant people.”

Travis County Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued a restraining order last Thursday, Dec. 6, to keep Texas from prosecuting the 31-year-old Cox, her husband, or her doctor over an abortion, after Cox’s fetus was diagnosed with a chromosomal anomaly that almost always results in death. Cox has previously delivered two children via C-section, but doctors determined a third C-section would risk a uterine rupture that would make future pregnancy impossible.

“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,” Gamble said in granting the restraining order.

After news of the order surfaced, Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Texas Supreme Court to block it and the all-Republican court granted the request on Friday. It still has not made a final ruling on the matter.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa condemned the decision of the court. “Right now, Kate Cox is living in an all-American nightmare and MAGA Republican extremists are to blame,” Hinojosa said. “It is a draconian reality where a woman is forced to flee the state of Texas after being denied a life-saving abortion by the state Supreme Court. We must never forget that Ken Paxton, the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Republicans fought to force her to carry a nonviable fetus to full term at the risk of her own life.”

Editor’s note Monday, Dec. 11 3:17pm: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated the Texas Supreme Court paused Judge Gamble’s order Monday; It was Friday. The Chronicle regrets the error.

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