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The Morning Hustle

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Court grants Texas woman’s request for emergency abortion in historic ruling

Written by on December 7, 2023

Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

(DALLAS) — A judge granted a Texas woman’s request for an abortion for a pregnancy with a severe anomaly on Thursday.

The woman, Kate Cox, had filed a lawsuit against the state over its restrictive abortion bans, asking a judge to grant her a temporary restraining order that would allow her to get an abortion.

“The idea that Miss Cox wants desperately to be a parent, and this law might actually cause her to lose that ability is shocking, and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said Thursday.

It’s the first publicized case of a woman suing for an emergency abortion since Roe vs Wade in 1973.

Cox is currently carrying a pregnancy with virtually no chance the baby — who has trisomy 18 — will survive to birth or long afterward. She’s said she has been denied the safest form of abortion care for her — a dilation and evacuation procedure.

The hearing was held in Travis County’s 459th District Court in Austin, and lasted about a half hour before the ruling was delivered.

Cox’s lawsuit stands separate from a suit filed by 20 women who say their lives were put in danger due to Texas’ abortion bans.

That suit is before the Texas state Supreme Court for a ruling on whether the challenge can continue and if a temporary hold on implementation of the bans in cases of fatal fetal anomalies and medical emergencies can go into effect.

Texas has multiple overlapping abortion bans in effect with severe punishments for violations of the bans.

Texas’ bans include exceptions that allow abortions in cases of medical emergencies and fatal fetal diagnoses, but doctors and patients claim, in another lawsuit filed in March, that they are unable to provide care or have been denied care, respectively, under the laws.

Under Texas’ bans, it is a second-degree felony to perform or attempt an abortion, punishable by up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The law also allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion.

 

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