February 27, 2024

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When the courts decide on abortion in Texas

When the courts decide on abortion in Texas

An American woman with a high-risk pregnancy seeking an abortion in Texas, where abortion is banned with rare exceptions, had to leave the conservative state to get an emergency abortion.

In Texas, judges, not doctors, now decide a pregnant woman’s health. Kate Cox, 31, filed a legal challenge last week seeking permission to have an abortion. She is 20 weeks pregnant and the baby has trisomy 18, which is often fatal to the fetus and can cause serious complications for the mother. Texas, however, has implemented some of the strictest laws in the country since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal right to an abortion last year. They prohibit abortion after six weeks, even in cases of rape or sexual intercourse. The only exception is in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. But the law remains vague and doesn’t specify the type of medical situations, which puts doctors in an inadmissible position. They now avoid the procedure to avoid prosecution and jail time.

After the Supreme Court’s verdict, this is the first time a woman has appealed to the court. The judge, Maya Guerra Gamble, ruled in Kate Cox’s favor last week that keeping the baby would harm her health. Its decision therefore legalizes abortion and protects the mother, her husband and her doctor from all legal action. According to the young woman’s lawyer, her doctors say no “Not really a chance” A caesarean section is not only dangerous but also carries the risk of infertility. Kate Cox has already been to the emergency room four times in recent weeks due to severe pain and other complications.

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Physicians “threat of retaliation”

The government’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, a highly controversial conservative who had survived impeachment by his own party for corruption, immediately stepped up to the plate. He appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court “Open the floodgates” For all kinds of abuse. According to him, Kate Cox has no reason to benefit from an exception to the law because her pregnancy does not pose a risk to her health. The Supreme Court has therefore stayed the judge’s decision pending a ruling on an unspecified date. “A woman in Texas was forced to plead in court for a procedure to save her life. Now any doctor who performs the procedure she urgently needs is threatened with retaliation. Veronica Escobar, a Democratic elected official from Texas, protested.

Dallas mother of two Kate Cox, 31, had to leave Texas to abort a viable and life-threatening fetus. Manual / AFP

Meanwhile mother-of-two Kate Cox is stuck. “It’s horrible” She admitted in an interview. “One [ma petite fille] My womb will die, or I will give birth to a dead child. Or if she does come into this world, her life will be measured in minutes, hours or days and tortured by medical devices..

Ken Paxton went even further. He sent a letter to three regional hospitals that legal action would be taken if abortions were performed. “Paxton is working hard to scare doctors away from performing abortions to prevent them from becoming a new technique” Briefly on X is Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, who specializes in this issue.

As for Kate Cox, after a week of legal battles, she couldn’t wait any longer. She hastily left for another state to get pregnant voluntarily. “Even if Kate is given the chance to leave the state, most women won’t, a situation like this could turn into a death sentence.” Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, defended her.

A case in point

Cox’s case could set a precedent in Texas and elsewhere. Another pregnant woman in Kentucky has launched a similar lawsuit. At the same time, the Texas Supreme Court is considering another lawsuit filed by 20 women in Texas who are unable to obtain a therapeutic abortion and are asking for clarification of the law on exceptional cases.

Kate Cox’s situation could also have political consequences. American public opinion has shown its hostility to a ban on voluntary termination of pregnancy in recent months. Voters have repeatedly voted against anti-abortion Republican candidates. In Ohio, they approved a referendum that included abortion protections in the state constitution. Texas is very conservative, but Republican Senator Ted Cruz faces a tough re-election campaign next year. Just give the Democrats some hope.