Texas woman forced to leave state for emergency abortion

Texas abortion

TEXAS: Kate Cox’s fetus has a rare genetic disorder meaning it will likely not survive. Doctors have said an abortion is necessary to prevent a risk to the mother’s life.

A Texas woman who was blocked from having a potentially life-saving abortion was forced to leave the state to have the emergency procedure, her lawyers said on Monday.

Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two, had sought permission for the abortion after finding out her fetus had a rare genetic condition meaning it will likely die before birth or shortly afterwards.

Doctors said the pregnancy — which is 20 weeks in — also posed a risk to Cox’s own life.

Life-threatening condition

“Due to the ongoing deterioration of Ms. Cox’s health condition, and in light of the administrative stay entered by the Court on December 8 and the Attorney General’s ongoing threats to enforce Texas’s abortion bans against the Plaintiffs in this case, Ms. Cox is now forced to seek medical care outside of Texas,” her lawyers said in a court filing.

The lawyers did not say where she had gone.

The fetus has a condition known as trisomy 18 — affecting around 1 in 2,500 diagnosed pregnancies — which leads to very high chances of miscarriage or stillbirth, and those that survive pregnancy usually do not live very long.

Doctors said that the labour could cause a uterine rupture that could pose a threat to her life or jeopardize her ability to have children in the future.

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Cox is believed to be the first woman to request permission to have an abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and has thus brought the issue of women’s reproductive rights back into the spotlight.

Texas’s strict anti-abortion laws

Cox had initially won a legal case in Travis County court for the abortion procedure to go ahead considering the rare condition of the fetus.

But Texas State Attorney Ken Paxton appealed the decision at the state supreme court which overturned the lower court’s ruling.

Texas has some of the strictest anti-abortion laws on the books, banning it even in cases of incest and rape.

The procedure may be allowed in cases where the pregnancy could harm the mother, but the vague wording has put off many doctors who fear legal consequences.

Paxton had threatened to prosecute any doctor who carried out the abortion that Cox had been seeking.

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