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Texas Woman Who Sued for Emergency Abortion Flees State to Get Care

Kate Cox, the Texas mother who sought permission to obtain an abortion, has been forced to flee the state to get medical care, her lawyers said on Monday.

“This past week of legal limbo has been hellish for Kate,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents Cox. “She’s been in and out of the emergency room and she couldn’t wait any longer.”

Cox, who lives in the Dallas area, was 20 weeks pregnant with her third child when the baby was diagnosed with trisomy 18, a fatal condition. Her baby will not survive, and her doctors advised Cox that with her medical history — including two previous C-sections — continuing the pregnancy could risk her life or her ability to have children in the future.

Last week, Cox petitioned for, and was granted, a temporary restraining order that would have allowed her to obtain an abortion under the ban’s narrow exceptions.

But immediately after Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued her ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton dispatched letters to the three Houston-area hospitals where Cox’s doctor has admitting privileges, threatening to prosecute “anyone” who aided Cox. On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court issued an administrative stay, blocking Cox from obtaining an abortion.

On Monday, her legal team notified the court that Cox had fled the state. “Due to the ongoing deterioration of Ms. Cox’s health condition, and in light of the administrative stay entered by the Court on December 8 and the Attorney General’s ongoing threats to enforce Texas’s abortion bans against the Plaintiffs in this case, Ms. Cox is now forced to seek medical care outside of Texas,” lawyer Molly Duane wrote.

Cox’s legal team, Duane added, intends to proceed with its case challenging the ban.

Northrup said in a statement Monday that Cox’s case proved one thing: “Exceptions don’t work.”

“She desperately wanted to be able to get care where she lives and recover at home surrounded by family. While Kate had the ability to leave the state, most people do not, and a situation like this could be a death sentence,” she said.

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