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Texas Supreme Court blocks Democratic judge's order allowing mother over 4 months pregnant to abort baby; prompts her exodus
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Texas Supreme Court blocks Democratic judge's order allowing mother over 4 months pregnant to abort baby; prompts her exodus

The Texas Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a Democratic judge who had allowed for a 31-year-old mother, well over 20 weeks along in her pregnancy, to end her child's life.

Kate Cox, the mother of the child diagnosed late last month with Edwards syndrome — a survivable genetic condition that occurs in an estimated 1 in 2,500 diagnosed pregnancies and 1 out of every 5,000-6,000 live births — is now reportedly headed out of state to have her baby eliminated.

What's the background?

Cox filed an emergency lawsuit earlier this month asking a Travis County judge to allow her to abort her child, as she was otherwise ineligible since her own life was not at risk.

Texas abortion law prohibits abortions unless the mother "has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless the abortion is performed or induced."

The lawsuit indicates that Cox was told on Nov. 28 that her unborn child has full trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Edwards syndrome impacts a child's bodily development and growth. Children with the syndrome permitted to live frequently have low birth weight and defining characteristics such as low-set ears and clubfeet.

Between 20% and 40% survive to their first month and roughly 10% survive past their first year. Those who survive can "go on to live fulfilling lives with significant support from their family and caretakers."

Besides preferring a healthy baby, the lawsuit indicated that Cox was concerned that bringing the baby to term might risk her health and future fertility.

While centered on Cox's complaint, the lawsuit, laden with pro-abortion rhetoric and slogans, did not appear to be about securing an exception but rather about changing the rule and rolling back the state's abortion law.

In addition to indicating as much in the prayer for relief, the suit asserted under "Factual Allegations" that "Abortion is Health Care" and that "abortion bans are a paradigmatic example of ... government interference."

Democratic judge approves

Democratic Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble handed down a temporary restraining order on Dec. 7, stating, "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."

Gamble ruled that the mother should be allowed to off her child and that Dr. Damla Karsan of Houston should be protected from civil and criminal penalties if she carries out the abortion.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton subsequently petitioned the state Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, which would bar Cox's abortion from going forward in Texas.

The petition asserted that the trial court had abused its discretion by granting final relief through a temporary restraining order; concluding that Cox's condition met the medical emergency exception; and by granting a temporary restraining order before determining jurisdiction.

Paxton, who highlighted that Cox's life was not at risk, also made clear to various hospitals in the state that the temporary order would not "insulate hospitals, doctors, or anyone else, from civil and criminal liability for violating Texas' abortion laws."

Over the weekend, Paxton's office stressed to the court, "The only question is whether Ms. Cox's condition meets the exception, regardless of how long the child is expected to live," reported the Associated Press.

State Supreme Court upholds the law

The Texas Supreme Court agreed with the attorney general's office, overturning Gamble's ruling Monday, reported the Texas Tribune.

"No one disputes that Ms. Cox's pregnancy has been extremely complicated. Any parents would be devastated to learn of their unborn child's trisomy 18 diagnosis," wrote the justices. "Some difficulties in pregnancy, however, even serious ones, do not post the heightened risks to the mother the exception encompasses."

The court further noted that the would-be abortionist, Damla Karsan, "asked a court to pre-authorize the abortion yet she could not, or at least did not, attest to the court that Ms. Cox's condition poses the risks the exception requires."

Where Texas' pro-life laws were concerned, the court indicated they "reflect the policy choice that the Legislature has made, and the courts must respect that choice."

The pro-abortion legal group representing Cox, the Center for Reproductive Rights, indicated in a notice to the courts Monday that Cox is leaving the state to seek an abortion elsewhere.

The CPR further suggested in a statement that Cox received "an outpouring of support and offers" to help eliminate her child "from Kansas to Colorado to Canada."

"While Kate had the ability to leave the state, most people do not, and a situation like this could be a death sentence," added the CPR, ostensibly glossing over both the death sentence it seeks everywhere to legalize and the affordability of a bus ticket from Dallas to Albuquerque.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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