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Texas Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Lower Court ruling that authorizes the abortion of a baby with Trisomy 18

by | Dec 11, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. As we were posting this story, the Associated Press reported that Kate Cox, the 31-year-old mother who sought court permission for an abortion, “has left the state to obtain the procedure, her attorneys said Monday.”

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked Judge Maya Guerra Gamble’s December 7th order authorizing an abortion for Kate Cox, whose 20-week-old unborn baby has been diagnosed with Trisomy 18.  

Additionally, Judge Gamble ruled that “Dr. Damla Karsan, a Houston OB/GYN, should be protected from civil and criminal penalties if she performs the procedure,” Sydnie Henry reported. “The idea that Mrs. 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,” Judge Gamble wrote. “So I will be signing the order and it will be processed and sent out today.”

But, as Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz responded, “Ms. Cox’s story is heartbreaking because all of us recognize that she and her child are equally valuable and loved by God. If you feel compassion for this situation like us, it is because we all know that there are two lives at stake and that both are supremely important. The answer is not to end the child’s life because of the baby’s disability, but state law does anticipate the serious risk to the mother.”

“Pregnant mothers and their babies deserve compassion and love, not to be used as instruments by pro-abortion groups,” Schwertz added.

Attorney General Ken Paxton acted quickly in response to Judge Gamble’s ruling. In a letter addressed to three Houston hospitals, he warned that the temporary restraining order (TRO) does “not insulate hospitals, doctors, or anyone else, from civil and criminal liability for violating Texas’ abortion laws,” Henry reported.

“While the TRO purports to temporarily enjoin actions brought by the OAG [Office of the Attorney General] and TMB [Texas Medical Board] against Dr. Karsan and her staff, it does not enjoin actions brought by private citizens,” added Paxton. “Nor does it prohibit a district or county attorney from enforcing Texas’ pre-Roe abortion laws against Dr. Karsan or anyone else. The TRO will expire long before the statute of limitations for violating Texas’ abortion laws expires.”

Texas Right to Life explained that the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing Mrs. Cox,

seeks to conflate two separate issues — the child’s disability and the risk to the mother — in order to use the lawsuit as a gateway to allow babies to be aborted for any reason, not just when the mother’s life is threatened.

Texas law clearly permits abortion in situations where the mother’s life is in jeopardy or if she would face a serious injury because of her pregnancy.

The Office of the Attorney General pointed out that this lawsuit is truly unnecessary if Cox’s pregnancy puts her at risk of severe physical harm because state law already allows physicians to intervene. Dr. Karsan’s hospital policies echo this sentiment, calling for a second opinion from another physician before the child can be aborted in an emergency circumstance. While the mother and baby’s conditions certainly require careful watch, the evidence presented by the pro-abortion group does not show that Cox’s status is emergent without life-affirming alternatives for both her and the baby.

Either Cox qualifies for a medically necessary abortion, in which case her doctor can consult with other physicians at the hospital, or she does not. Medical experts told the court she does not. The group’s lawsuit is intended to increase abortions beyond the scope of current law.

Texas Right to Life ended its story on the tragic case

Following Thursday’s proceedings, the Center for Reproductive Rights said it may want a hearing that could block all of Texas’ Pro-Life laws after the state supreme court rules in the Zurawski v. Texas lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Texas Right to Life calls on medical associations and state health agencies to provide better education and guidance to physicians about what Texas law says regarding abortions in life-threatening circumstances. At the same time, Texas Right to Life seeks to spread awareness about life-affirming resources for parents facing severe fetal diagnoses. Nonprofits across Texas, such as Abel Speaks, help parents honor their children’s lives in these difficult situations. Visit AbelSpeaks.org for assistance or more information.

Categories: Judicial
Tags: Texas