UPDATE: Kate Cox Forced to Leave Texas for Abortion

Kate Cox Update
Texas Supreme Court Denied Cox’s Reproductive Rights, No Exception

Toplines & Key Facts: 

  • Texas Supreme Court overturned last week’s ruling for TRO
  • They say Cox does not meet medical emergency exception
  • Cox will get her abortion, just not in Texas

The Texas Supreme Court reversed last week’s ruling in the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) case representing Kate Cox, her husband Justin Cox, and her doctor Damla Karsan. What this means for Kate is that she cannot obtain an abortion in Texas, not through her own medical decisions, not through her doctor’s or by Texas laws, and not even through the courts. She was forced to leave Texas on Monday, Dec. 11 to get her abortion.

Cox discovered only two weeks ago that her baby suffers from Trisomy 18, an almost always fatal fetal condition, with many health risks for the baby and herself. For this reason, combined with a decline in her health — visiting four emergency rooms for her pain and symptoms — she was granted a temporary restraining order from extreme state laws banning abortion “to preserve her life, health, and fertility.” 

Quickly, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement threatening hospitals and asking the Texas Supreme Court to block the decision’s order and prevent her abortion. On Dec. 8 they did so, but only issued a final ruling on Dec. 11, hours after she already left the state to receive healthcare. Robbed of a private recovery in her own home with family, she is on her way to get the healthcare she desperately needs. 

 “While Kate had the ability to leave the state, most people do not, and a situation like this could be a death sentence.” — Center for Reproductive Rights

The High Court released an opinion saying Cox’s doctor did not establish that Cox’s symptoms were life-threatening, noting it should be up to doctors – not judges – to decide whether to provide an abortion. A ridiculous thing to say when you are deciding whether to provide the option to an abortion. This statement falls flat considering the penalties doctors face under Texas laws like SB 8. This produces an environment where it becomes impossible to provide reproductive healthcare without severe consequences — up to 99 years in prison and no less than $100,000 fines — against healthcare practitioners.

They also called on the Texas Medical Board to provide more guidance on the “medical emergency” exception. This remains significant outside of Cox’s situation too, with implications for the Zurawski case which also asks to define medical emergency exceptions. Either way, it is clear the courts sided with Paxton and other anti-abortion extremists who want to deny Texans their reproductive healthcare, with no exception at that.

In contrast, Progress Texas wants to uplift advocates of reproductive justice. We put Amanda Zurawski and the 21 other plaintiffs in the top spot of our Best Texans of 2023 list. Both cases from the CRR honor women and their doctors who are putting their lives and health in the spotlight, to fight for all of our rights to healthcare and autonomy.

Anti-abortion extremists do not represent the majority of Texans or Americans. In Texas, direct ballot measures are not a remedy, and neither are the courts. Progress Texas calls on all Texans horrified by Republican forced pregnancy policies to vote for pro-abortion candidates who represent the majority of Texans in 2024. Turn your anger into action.

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