The Texas Supreme Court on Friday night put on hold a judge's ruling approving abortions for pregnant women whose fetuses were diagnosed as fatal, leaving in limbo an unprecedented challenge to one of the nation's toughest bans.
The all-Republican court's order comes after Kate Cox, a 31-year-old Dallas-area mother of two, received a temporary restraining order from a lower court judge blocking Texas from enforcing the state ban. It was served over 30 hours later. in her case.
In a one-page order, the court said it would temporarily suspend Thursday's ruling “regardless of the merits of the case.”
This lawsuit is still pending.
Molly Duane, an attorney with the Reproductive Rights Center who is representing Cox, said, “While we remain hopeful that the court will ultimately deny the state's request and act quickly, in this case, “I am concerned that justice will be denied if it is delayed.”
Ms Cox's lawyer said she would not disclose her abortion plans, citing concerns for her safety.
In a filing Friday with the Texas Supreme Court, her attorney suggested she was still pregnant.
Cox, 20 weeks pregnant, filed this week in what is believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind since last year's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The order issued Thursday applied only to Cox and not to other pregnant Texas women.
According to the complaint, Cox learned she was pregnant for the third time in August and was told a few weeks later that her baby was at high risk for a condition known as trisomy 18, which has a high chance of miscarriage or stillbirth and a low survival rate. It is said that .
Doctors also told Cox that if the baby's heartbeat stopped, inducing labor would be at risk of uterine rupture due to her previous two C-sections, and that a second C-section at term would cause a second C-section. She was told that her ability to bear children was at risk.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, argued that Cox did not meet the criteria for a medical exception to the state's abortion ban and urged the state Supreme Court to take swift action.
“If Plaintiffs or their attorneys perform and proceed with abortions in violation of Texas law, future criminal and civil proceedings will not be able to restore the lives lost,” Paxton's office said in court. Stated.
He also said that despite the ruling of state District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, whom Paxton called an “activist” judge, if Cox's doctor were to allow her to perform the abortion, three Houston hospitals warned that they could face legal consequences.
On Friday, a pregnant Kentucky woman also filed a lawsuit seeking abortion rights. According to the complaint, the plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, is about eight weeks pregnant and wants to have an abortion in Kentucky, but is legally unable to do so due to the state's ban.
Unlike Cox's lawsuit, the Kentucky challenge seeks class action status to include other Kentuckians who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and want an abortion.