Texas Supreme Court blocks emergency abortion

December 10, 2023

AUSTIN: The Supreme Court of Texas late Friday temporarily blocked an emergency abortion for a woman whose fetus was determined to be not viable, in a closely watched case underlining the legal perils facing both doctors and patients when it comes to the procedure.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton petitioned the high court to block Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two, from terminating her pregnancy after a district judge ruled a woman with a potentially life-threatening pregnancy can obtain an abortion.

The Travis County 459th District Court is seen prior to an emergency hearing in Cox v Texas in Austin, Texas, Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother-of-two from Dallas-Fort Worth, sued the state of Texas on December 7, 2023. — AFP

Texas has some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation, prohibiting it even in cases of rape or incest. District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble on Thursday said that Cox, who is 20 weeks pregnant, should be permitted to have an abortion under a medical exception provision of the Texas law that allows the procedure when a woman’s health is at risk.

But Paxton, a conservative Republican, objected to the finding, saying the “activist” judge’s order does “not insulate hospitals, doctors or anyone else, from civil and criminal liability for violating Texas’ abortion laws.”

The Texas Supreme Court ordered a stay late Friday, according to a copy of the ruling released by Cox’s lawyers, temporarily halting the district court’s decision. CNN, the Houston Chronicle and the New York Times reported on the high court ruling.

“While we still hope that the Court ultimately rejects the state’s request and does so quickly, in this case we fear that justice delayed will be justice denied,” attorney Molly Duane said.