The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a case in Texas state court today on behalf of a pregnant woman seeking an emergency abortion to protect her health, life, and future fertility. The plaintiff, Kate Cox, is asking the court to temporarily block the state’s abortion bans so she can obtain urgent abortion care and avoid the dangerous risks to her life and health of being forced to stay pregnant.
Just last week, Cox received confirmation that her pregnancy had Trisomy 18—a condition causing multiple structural abnormalities—and had no chance of survival. Cox has already undergone two C-sections, and her OB-GYN and MFN specialist warned her that continuing to carry the pregnancy to term could jeopardize her health and future fertility.
“It is not a matter of if I will have to say goodbye to my baby, but when. I’m trying to do what is best for my baby and myself, but the state of Texas is making us both suffer,” said Cox. “I do not want to continue the pain and suffering that has plagued this pregnancy. I do not want to put my body through the risks of continuing this pregnancy. I do not want my baby to arrive in this world only to watch her suffer. I need to end my pregnancy now so that I have the best chance for my health and a future pregnancy.”
“I do not want to continue the pain and suffering that has plagued this pregnancy. . . I do not want my baby to arrive in this world only to watch her suffer. I need to end my pregnancy now so that I have the best chance for my health and a future pregnancy.”
—Plaintiff Kate Cox
Limited Options in Texas for Pregnant Patients Facing Complications
Texas’s extreme abortion bans have left patients with few options when facing severe and dangerous pregnancy complications. In Cox’s situation, if she is not allowed to have an abortion in Texas, she will be forced to continue the pregnancy until she either miscarries or gives birth to a stillborn or to a baby that is likely to die within minutes after birth.
Since Cox’s two other children were delivered by C-section, if she is forced to stay pregnant and needs a third C-section, she would be at high risk for multiple serious medical conditions such as uterine rupture and hysterectomy. As she and her husband wish to have more children, being forced to undergo a C-section to deliver this pregnancy lessens the likelihood she’d be able to safely have more children in the future.
“Every day, people like Kate are suffering under these dangerous bans and the state of Texas is choosing to let it happen. But it’s not just in Texas, this is happening in all 14 states where abortion is banned. These bans are putting real lives at risk and causing incredible anguish for pregnant people,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center. “Abortion is standard healthcare, and Kate needs that care right now. The court must urgently step in to protect Kate’s health. Women like Kate should not be forced to go to court to protect her health and preserve her future fertility.”
Lawsuit Seeks to Temporarily Block Abortion Bans
The lawsuit filed today in Texas state court, Cox v. Texas, asks the court to temporarily halt Texas’s abortion bans as they apply to Cox and her husband, Justin Cox, who fears liability under S.B. 8—the law also known as Texas’s “vigilante” abortion ban.
The plaintiffs have also requested that the court allow OB/GYN Dr. Damla Karsan to provide Cox with an abortion in Texas without the threat of prosecution, loss of license, and civil fines.
Dr. Karsan is also a plaintiff in Zurawski v. Texas, the Center’s case on behalf of 20 Texas women denied abortion care despite dangerous pregnancy complications and two OB-GYNs. Cox contacted the Center after seeing news about arguments in the Zurawski case, which occurred on the same day she received her fetal diagnosis.
The lawsuit—the first since the overturning of Roe v. Wade filed on behalf of a pregnant woman seeking emergency abortion care—was filed in the District Court of Travis County, Texas, by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Morrison & Foerster LLP, and Kaplan Law Firm on behalf of Kate Cox, Justin Cox, and Damla Karsan, M.D.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is dedicated to helping all people access abortion in their communities, including people who are denied care while facing pregnancy complications. If you have been denied care and want to speak to a lawyer about your options, please reach out to [email protected].