12.07.2023 — Today, a Texas state court has granted the request of a woman with severe pregnancy complications, Kate Cox, to have an abortion to protect her life, health and future fertility. Kate had been unable to get an abortion in Texas due to the state’s extreme abortion bans.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ruled from the bench today, saying: “The idea that Ms. Cox wants so desperately to be a parent and this law may have her lose that ability is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed this case—Cox v. Texas—earlier this week on Kate’s behalf, asking the court to affirm her right to access urgent abortion care and avoid putting her health at risk by continuing the pregnancy. The court granted that request today. The ruling only applies to Kate, her husband Justin Cox, who feared liability under S.B. 8—Texas’ vigilante abortion ban, and her physician, OB/GYN Dr. Damla Karsan. The order will allow OB/GYN Dr. Damla Karsan to provide Kate with an abortion in Texas without the threat of prosecution.
“Today’s decision underscores what we already know—abortion is essential health care. While we are grateful that Kate will be able to get this urgent medical care, it is unforgivable that she was forced to go to court to ask for it in the middle of a medical emergency,” said Molly Duane, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center. “Most women are not able to do what Kate has done—many Texans have been forced to continue pregnancies that put their lives at risk. That is happening every day across Texas. As long as abortion is banned, pregnant people will suffer. As we await the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling in Zurawski v. State of Texas, our hearts go out to the countless people in similar situations who—who for so many reasons—aren’t able to sue the state of Texas for an emergency hearing.”
Last week, Kate received confirmation that her fetus has a lethal condition and has no chance of survival. Due to Kate’s medical history, her OB-GYNs warned her that continuing to carry the pregnancy could jeopardize her health and future fertility. However, she was unable to get an abortion in Texas due to the state’s extreme abortion bans.
The Texas Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Zurawski v. State of Texas, a different case filed by the Center on behalf of two OB/GYNs and 20 women who were denied abortions in Texas while experiencing severe and dangerous pregnancy complications. In that case, the Center has asked the Court for clarity on what situations fall under the medical exception in the state’s abortion bans so that doctors understand who they can help. Today’s ruling in Cox v. Texas underscores the need for the relief requested in the Zurawski case.
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].
The lawsuit was filed 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.
MEDIA CONTACT: [email protected]