Texas Supreme Court rules against Kate Cox in abortion case

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled against a lower court order that allowed Kate Cox, a pregnant woman whose baby was diagnosed with a fatal condition, from having an abortion.

In a seven-page ruling on Monday, the state Supreme Court said that ​​Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order last week to allow Cox to have the abortion was a mistake. 

Gamble’s decision on Cox’s medical emergency was put on hold by Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who asked the state Supreme Court to intervene in the matter. The Supreme Court temporarily blocked the lower court’s ruling on Friday. 

“A woman who meets the medical-necessity exception need not seek a court order to obtain an abortion,” the court ruling says. “Under the law, it is a doctor who must decide that a woman is suffering from a life-threatening condition during a pregnancy, raising the necessity for an abortion to save her life or to prevent impairment of a major bodily function.” 

“The law leaves to physicians—not judges—both the discretion and the responsibility to exercise their reasonable medical judgment, given the unique facts and circumstances of each patient.” 

The court also found that Cox’s doctor – Damla Karsan –  “asked a court to pre-authorize the abortion yet she could not, or at least did not, attest to the court that Ms. Cox’s condition poses the risks the exception requires.” 

“These laws reflect the policy choice that the Legislature has made, and the courts must respect that choice,” the court said in its ruling.

According to state law, a doctor who performed an abortion procedure could be sentenced to life in prison.

The decision comes as Cox, 31, has fled the state to get an abortion procedure amid the legal whiplash involving her case. 

Nancy Northup, the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which has been representing Cox, told the media about their client’s departure from the state, noting Cox has been to the emergency room four times during her 20-week pregnancy. 

“Kate’s case has shown the world that abortion bans are dangerous for pregnant people, and exceptions don’t work,” Northup said in a statement. “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.”  

Cox, a mother of two children, sought an abortion after discovering her baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a chromosomal anomaly that leads to miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of the infant within hours, days or weeks after birth. 

Cox’s case is the first time a pregnant woman has sought a court order to get an abortion procedure since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year. Texas and other GOP-led states have either implemented or enacted their own abortion bans and restrictions when Roe was overturned.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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