The Texas Supreme Court late Friday temporarily halted a lower court order allowing a Dallas woman to obtain an abortion in spite of the state’s strict bans, after she learned her fetus has a fatal condition. The state court’s ruling was in response to an appeal from Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas, who opposed the woman’s abortion.
The Supreme Court said that, “without regard to the merits” of the arguments on either side, it had issued an administrative stay in the case, to give itself more time to issue a final ruling.
The stay meant that, for the moment, the order from a judge in Travis County district court permitting the abortion was on hold. That order allowed the woman, Kate Cox, to obtain an abortion and protected her doctor from civil or criminal liability under Texas’s overlapping abortion bans.
Duane, the attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, has argued that Cox’s life and future fertility are at risk. “According to her doctor, the medical care that she needs is an abortion,” Duane said at a Thursday hearing.
The Center said after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that Cox was informed last week that her fetus “has no chance of survival.”
“Due to Kate’s medical history, her OB-GYNs warned her that continuing to carry the pregnancy could jeopardize her health and future fertility,” it said.
The court noted the case would remain pending before them but did not include any timeline on when a full ruling might be issued. Cox is 20 weeks pregnant. Her unborn baby was diagnosed with a fatal genetic condition and she says complications in her pregnancy are putting her health at risk.
The ruling came just hours after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton petitioned the high court to intervene in the case.
Paxton’s petition stemmed from a ruling on Thursday by a Texas judge who granted a 14-day temporary restraining order against the state’s abortion ban, so Cox could legally terminate her pregnancy.