Texas Supreme Court blocks woman's emergency abortion, leaving her in ‘untenable position’
“Texas Attorney General Paxton may be placing Cox, her doctor, and hospitals in an untenable position, which could even be life-threatening to Cox.”
A Texas woman, Kate Cox, finds herself in a precarious position as she awaits a court decision on her abortion, complicated by the recent changes in abortion laws. Legal expert Carl Tobias from the University of Richmond, Virginia, expressed concern that a U.S. Supreme Court decision might come too late for Cox, whose fetus has a rare genetic abnormality.
Following the 2022 overturn of Roe vs. Wade, leaving states to determine their abortion regulations, Texas implemented an almost complete ban after six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are only granted if the mother's life is at risk. Cox's case took a troubling turn when the Texas Supreme Court temporarily stayed a lower court's ruling, preventing her abortion until the higher court reached a decision.
Tobias emphasised the difficulty faced by Cox and her hospital, suggesting that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's legal threats against hospitals willing to provide abortion could be life-threatening. He said, “Texas Attorney General Paxton may be placing Cox, her doctor, and hospitals in an untenable position, which could even be life-threatening to Cox.” Paxton had publicly stated his intent to prosecute Cox, her doctor, and the hospitals involved in the abortion proceeded before the Texas Supreme Court ruling. He added that " Paxton made public statements threatening to prosecute Cox, her doctor and hospitals where Cox might have an abortion, if an abortion proceeded before the [Texas Supreme Court] court ruled."
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Cox's case differs from Roe vs. Wade as her situation involves a rare fetal genetic abnormality. Tobias explained that the U.S. Supreme Court might not hear Cox's case, considering it "way too late for Cox" since her circumstances may not repeat. The Texas Supreme Court's decision to stay the district court's order, allowing Cox's abortion due to a fatal trisomy 18 genetic defect, has heightened the uncertainty surrounding her situation.
As the legal battle unfolds, Cox's plight underscores the broader implications of the evolving abortion landscape in Texas, leaving individuals like her caught in the crossfire of legal and ethical debates. The timing and outcome of the Texas Supreme Court's decision remain crucial factors in determining the future course for Kate Cox and others facing similar challenges.