Texas Supreme Court Temporarily Halts Abortion for Health Complications Pending Review

The Texas Supreme Court has intervened in a lower court’s decision that would have allowed Kate Cox, a 20-week pregnant woman, to undergo an abortion, in apparent violation of the Texas Heartbeat Act. This legislation restricts abortions after detecting a fetal heartbeat, typically around six weeks. The state Supreme Court temporarily stayed the lower court’s injunction on Friday, pending a thorough review of the case’s merits.

Kate Cox, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), sought the abortion due to health complications related to her pregnancy’s Trisomy 18 condition, characterized by multiple structural abnormalities with no chance of survival. The CRR emphasized the risks to Cox’s health and future fertility, particularly given her history of two previous C-sections. In the temporary injunction, Democratic Presiding Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ruled that Cox’s “life, health, and fertility are currently at serious risk,” advocating for an immediate dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion.

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton issued warnings to physicians involved in the abortion, citing potential civil and criminal liabilities, including fines and felony prosecutions. The Texas Supreme Court’s administrative stay is independent of the case’s merits, and the petition for mandamus and motion for temporary relief remain pending.

Additionally, the Texas Supreme Court is deliberating another case, Zurawski v. State of Texas, which addresses the medical emergency exceptions to the state’s abortion ban. The court is expected to issue a ruling following oral arguments on November 28.

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