Dallas, Texas – December 8, 2023
In a landmark decision, a Texas judge has granted an emergency order permitting a pregnant woman to undergo an abortion after receiving a devastating diagnosis for her developing fetus. Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two from the Dallas area, discovered that her unborn child has trisomy 18, a rare chromosomal disorder associated with stillbirth or newborn fatality.
Texas, known for its stringent abortion laws with limited exceptions, presented a significant challenge for Cox. Advocates from the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a request for a temporary restraining order on behalf of Cox, her husband, and her doctor, seeking to override the state’s restrictive abortion bans in this particular case.
The hearing took place at the Travis County 459th District Court in Austin on Dec. 7, 2023. During the proceedings, Molly Duane, “a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights,” emphasized the urgent need for Cox to receive the necessary medical care—an abortion, according to her doctor’s recommendation.
Duane pointed out that Cox, already a mother of two delivered by Cesarean section, faced heightened risks by carrying this pregnancy to term, including the potential for uterine rupture and hysterectomy. Cox’s health complications, such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, and repeated visits to the emergency room, highlighted the severity of her situation.
“Many of Miss Cox’s health risks during this pregnancy will put her life in danger if left untreated, and carrying this pregnancy to term will significantly increase the risks to her future fertility, meaning that she and her husband may not be able to have more children in the future,” Duane stated.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble swiftly granted the requested order, recognizing the urgency of Cox’s circumstances. The judge expressed concern about the potential impact of Texas law on Cox’s desire to become a parent and emphasized the importance of preventing a “genuine miscarriage of justice.”
In the hearing, Johnathan Stone, representing the Texas attorney general’s office, argued against the immediate granting of the order, calling for an evidentiary hearing to thoroughly assess the situation. Stone asserted that an emergency order could result in an irreversible abortion before the court could fully consider the evidence.
As of now, neither the Texas attorney general’s office nor the state’s medical board has provided immediate comment on the judge’s decision. The case underscores the ongoing legal battles over reproductive rights in Texas and the complex intersection of personal choices and state legislation.