The Texas Supreme Court has put a temporary halt on a pregnant woman’s request for an emergency abortion, which was part of a legal case where the woman sought court approval for the procedure. This decision prevents her from terminating the pregnancy.
On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily stopped a lower court’s ruling that had allowed a pregnant woman to obtain an emergency court-authorized abortion, even though the state has strict restrictions against such procedures.
On December 9, the Supreme Court’s decision followed a district court’s approval a day prior, allowing an emergency abortion in response to a lawsuit filed by Kate Cox.
Kate, a woman 20 weeks into her pregnancy, received the authorization due to her unborn baby being diagnosed with Trisomy 18—a condition with multiple structural abnormalities that doctors deemed incompatible with survival after birth.
On December 8, the Texas Supreme Court issued an administrative stay—without making a decision on the case’s merits—regarding the temporary restraining order issued by a judge in the District Court of Travis County, Texas.
This order had temporarily halted Texas’ strict abortion laws, allowing Ms. Cox to legally proceed with the termination of her pregnancy.
In its decision, the Supreme Court stated that it would review the matter more thoroughly and release a more comprehensive ruling at a later date.
The ruling from the Texas Supreme Court was a response to a motion filed late Friday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
He also sent a letter to three Texas hospitals, cautioning them that they could potentially face legal consequences if they permitted the abortion to proceed at their facility.
“The TRO [temporary restraining order] will expire long before the statute of limitations for violating Texas’ abortion laws expires,” Mr. Paxton said in a statement, while the letter states that the restraining order will not insulate the hospitals from civil and criminal liability.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, the pro-abortion rights organization that initiated the lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Cox, condemned the decision and accused Mr. Paxton of engaging in “playing despicable political games.”
“This fight is not over, no one should have to beg a court for permission to receive the medical care their doctors recommend.” the group said in a post on X.
Texas abortion laws forbid and classify abortions as criminal in all instances except when the mother’s life is in danger under a “medical emergency” exception.
In her complaint, Ms. Cox’s lawyers contended that due to her two previous cesarean sections (C-sections), continuing the pregnancy posed a significant risk of severe complications threatening her life and future fertility. These complications include the possibility of hysterectomy and uterine rupture.
Also, they said that Texas’ abortion laws mean that doctors’ “hands are tied,” and Ms. Cox “will have to wait until her baby dies inside her or carry the pregnancy to term, at which point she will be forced to have a third C-section, only to watch her baby suffer until death.”
They argued that an abortion was the safest option for Ms. Cox’s health and her “best medical option given that she wants to have more children in the future.”
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