Texas court overrules decision to allow a woman access to abortion

A woman whose foetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition has been banned from accessing an abortion in Texas despite getting legal approval.
Texas abortion

A court in Texas has banned a woman, whose foetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition, from accessing an abortion.

Kate Cox initially received a medical exception to access an abortion. But, the Texas Supreme Court has overturned this — blocking her from accessing one in the state.

Cox’s lawyers say it is the first case filed on behalf of a pregnant person seeking an emergency abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year.

First, abortion laws

Abortion is illegal in Texas in most cases without an exemption.

This comes after the highest court in the U.S, the Supreme Court, overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion last year.

This meant individual states had the power to decide their own abortion laws.

The case

Kate Cox is more than 20 weeks pregnant with a foetus that has been diagnosed with a severe chromosomal disorder known as Edwards syndrome.

Doctors said the pregnancy poses serious risks to her health. Cox has been told her baby will likely die shortly after birth.

Last week, a local court ruled an abortion was “medically necessary to preserve Ms. Cox’s life, health, and future fertility, and poses far fewer risks than an induction or a C-section”.


Texas’ top law officer, Attorney-General Ken Paxton, has the power to dispute cases if he believes a court made an error.

In this case, he asked the Texas Supreme Court (the highest court in the state) to overrule the local court’s decision.

He told wrote a letter to three Texas hospitals saying they could be criminally charged for performing Cox’s abortion.

Texas Supreme Court

Earlier this week, the Texas Supreme Court sided with the Attorney-General. It said the lower court made a mistake in its judgement.

The justices ruled it is up to doctors, not judges, to determine if a pregnant person can have an abortion in Texas.

What now?

Abortion advocacy group, The Center for Reproductive Rights, is providing legal advice to Cox.

The group said Cox has left Texas to seek medical care elsewhere, after receiving an “outpouring of support… from Kansas to Colorado to Canada”. It’s legal to travel interstate to get an abortion.

CEO Nancy Northup said the case showed “abortion bans are dangerous”. She argued “judges and politicians should not be making healthcare decisions for pregnant people — they are not doctors”.

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