The Texas attorney general on Friday petitioned the state Supreme Court to block an emergency abortion for a woman with an at-risk pregnancy who was granted permission for the procedure by a lower court a day earlier.
Kate Cox, 31, a Dallas mother of two, was given a court-ordered exception to the Texas abortion ban so she could legally terminate a pregnancy of a fetus with a fatal genetic condition.
In his petition, attorney general Ken Paxton asked the state Supreme Court to intervene and prevent Cox from obtaining the abortion.
The case has heightened debate about medical exceptions in Texas, a conservative southern state that has curtailed access to abortions and bars the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy.
Paxton said district court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who gave Cox the legal green light, ‘abused her discretion’ by deeming that Cox qualified for the exception.
In her suit, Cox and her doctors said her pregnancy threatens not only her life but her future fertility.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents Cox, claims that the medical exceptions to abortion in Texas for when the mother’s life is at risk are unclear and leave doctors with their ‘hands tied.’
That, the center said, is why they asked for judicial intervention.
The district judge ruling in Cox’s favor on Thursday said the state’s legal restrictions may cost Cox her fertility and ‘is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice.’
Her case is the first of its kind since the US Supreme Court in June 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade, which enshrined women’s right to terminate their pregnancies at the federal level for half a century.
Texas also punishes those who collaborate to help perform an abortion. Cox’s lawsuit seeks to protect her husband and Damla Karsan, who examined Cox and offered to assist her in the procedure.
The Texas law does allow abortions in cases where the mother’s life could be at risk but physicians have said the wording is unclear and they risk serious legal consequences.
On Thursday, Paxton sent letters to hospitals warning them of the legal consequences they could face if they performed an abortion.
Texas doctors guilty of performing illegal abortions face up to 99 years in prison, fines of up to $100,000 and revocation of their medical licenses.
CRR attorney Marc Hearron said Thursday that Paxton was trying to ‘tear down the legal system’ so that Cox and women with similar cases ‘will continue to suffer.’