On Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to go after doctors who performed an emergency abortion for a woman who was court-order approved due to medical reasons.
Paxton said in a letter that the court order in Austin didn’t protect doctors from prosecution under all Texas abortion laws. He also claimed Kate Cox didn’t prove she qualified for the medical exception to the state’s abortion ban.
He further stated that Judge Maya Guerra Gamble’s order “will not insulate hospitals, doctors, or anyone else, from civil and criminal liability for violating Texas’ abortion laws.”
According to Reuters, the letter was sent to three hospitals with admitting privileges for Dr. Damla Karsan, who stated she would provide the abortion for Kate Cox.
“Fearmongering has been Ken Paxton’s main tactic in enforcing these abortion bans,” said Marc Hearron, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents Cox. “He is trying to bulldoze the legal system to make sure Kate and pregnant women like her continue to suffer.”
Earlier this week, Cox, 31, from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, filed a lawsuit to stop Texas from enforcing its near-total abortion ban, citing health and fertility concerns. A judge granted her a temporary restraining order, marking the first such case since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to ban abortion last year.
In late November, Cox’s fetus was diagnosed with trisomy 18, a genetic abnormality often leading to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.
At 20 weeks pregnant, her lawsuit states that she faces potential fertility risks due to the need for her third Caesarean section.
“The idea that Ms. Cox wants desperately to be a parent, and this law might actually cause her to lose that ability, is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice,” said Guerra Gamble at Thursday’s hearing.
The judge’s ruling only helps Cox, not others seeking abortion.
Cox’s lawyer, Molly Duane, stated the court order allows Cox to proceed with the abortion, but immediate plans have not been disclosed due to safety concerns for Cox and her doctors.
“I want to emphasize how unforgivable it is that Kate had to beg for healthcare in court,” Duane said. “No one should have to do this and the reality is 99 percent of people cannot.”
Texas’s abortion ban has a limited exception for saving the mother’s life or preventing substantial impairment of a major bodily function.
In her lawsuit, Cox mentioned that although her doctors deemed abortion medically necessary, they hesitated without a court order due to potential penalties like life in prison and revoked license.
The state’s lawyer, Johnathan Stone, argued that Cox didn’t prove she qualified for the exception, suggesting a more in-depth hearing on evidence instead of a temporary restraining order.
According to reports, Cox’s husband, Justin Cox, and Dr. Karsan are co-plaintiffs in the case.