A pregnant woman whose fetus has a fatal condition has left Texas to obtain an abortion, her attorneys say. The news came as the Texas Supreme Court ruled against Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two, after she spent nearly a week seeking the court’s permission to end her pregnancy.
“After a week of legal whiplash and threats of persecution from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Kate Cox has been forced to leave Texas to get healthcare outside of the state,” said the Center for Reproductive Rights, the group representing Cox, in a statement.
“Kate has been unable to get an abortion in Texas, even though her fetus has a fatal condition and continuing the pregnancy threatens her future fertility,” the organization said.
Cox’s baby has a condition known as trisomy 18, which is when a baby has an extra copy of chromosome 18. The diagnosis has a very high likelihood of miscarriage or stillbirth, and low survival rate.
Cox’s lawsuit, citing doctors, argued that continuing the pregnancy jeopardized both her health and ability to have more children.
Trisomy 18 occurs in approximately 1 in 2,500 diagnosed pregnancies, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. There is no live birth in about 70% of pregnancies involving the diagnosis that proceeds past 12 weeks gestational age, according to a legal filing that the two groups submitted to the court.
TEXAS ABORTION BAN CHALLENGED AS ORAL ARGUMENTS BEGIN
Texas’ abortion ban makes narrow exceptions when the life of the mother is in danger but not for fetal anomalies. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that Cox had not shown that any of the complications in her pregnancy rose to the level of threatening her life.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has not disclosed where Cox went to obtain the procedure. On Monday, she would have been 20 weeks and six days pregnant.
Hours after Cox’s attorneys announced she had left Texas, the state Supreme Court issued its decision that ruled against Cox. It came three days after the court temporarily halted a lower judge’s ruling that gave Cox permission to get an abortion.
“No one disputes that Ms. Cox’s pregnancy has been extremely complicated. Any parents would be devastated to learn of their unborn child’s trisomy 18 diagnosis,” the court wrote. “Some difficulties in pregnancy, however, even serious ones, do not pose the heightened risks to the mother the exception encompasses.”
Cox, who lives in the Dallas area, was believed to be the first woman in the U.S. to ask a court for permission for an abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year.
In Texas, Paxton mounted an aggressive defense to try to prevent Cox from having an abortion. He sent three Houston hospitals letters warning of legal consequences — both criminal and civil — if they allowed Cox’s physician to provide the procedure. He also argued that Cox had not demonstrated that her life was at imminent risk, including noting that she was sent home after her multiple visits to emergency rooms.
Cox had cesarean surgeries during her first two pregnancies. Her lawsuit argued that inducing labor would carry a risk of a uterine rupture because of her prior C-sections, and that another one at full term would endanger her ability to carry another child. But Paxton contended those arguments still fell short.
“Rather, the only question is whether Ms. Cox’s condition meets the exception, regardless of how long the child is expected to live,” Paxton’s office told the court in a filing over the weekend.
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Fox News Digital has reached out to Paxton’s office for additional comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.