12.11.2023 — After a week of legal whiplash and threats of prosecution from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Kate Cox has been forced to leave Texas to get healthcare outside of the state. Kate has been unable to get an abortion in Texas, even though her fetus has a fatal condition and continuing the pregnancy threatens her future fertility. Last week, a state court ruled in Kate’s favor, but within hours, the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Texas Supreme Court to block the order immediately and stop Kate from having an abortion. The high court temporarily blocked the order on Friday and has yet to issue a final ruling on this time-sensitive matter.
“This past week of legal limbo has been hellish for Kate,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “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—they are not doctors. This is the result of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade: women are forced to beg for urgent healthcare in court. Kate’s case has shown the world that abortion bans are dangerous for pregnant people, and exceptions don’t work. She desperately wanted to be able to get care where she lives and recover at home surrounded by family. While Kate had the ability to leave the state, most people do not, and a situation like this could be a death sentence.”
Over the past week, Kate has received an outpouring of support and offers to help her access abortion elsewhere, from Kansas to Colorado to Canada. The Center filed this case—Cox v. Texas—last week on Kate’s behalf, asking the court for emergency relief to allow her to access urgent abortion care and avoid putting her health at risk by continuing the pregnancy.
Kate recently received confirmation that her pregnancy has a lethal condition—Trisomy 18—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 the meaning of the medical exception in the state’s abortion bans so that doctors understand who they can help. Kate’s situation underscores the need for that clarity.
*Kate is not available for media interviews, and we are not disclosing her whereabouts.
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.
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