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(Photo courtesy of Eric Gay | AP)

Texas judge grants woman permission to get an abortion despite ban

A Texas judge on Thursday granted the request of a pregnant woman to undergo an emergency abortion, an unexpected challenge to the state’s abortion ban.

The woman, Kate Cox, is protected from prosecution by a temporary restraining order issued by the court, as are her husband and doctor.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cox on Tuesday, while she was in the midst of a medical emergency which was expected to result in a miscarriage or stillbirth. 

“Every day, people like Kate are suffering under these dangerous bans and the state of Texas is choosing to let it happen,” said the Center’s President and CEO Nancy Northup in an earlier press release. “But it’s not just in Texas, this is happening in all 14 states where abortion is banned. These bans are putting real lives at risk and causing incredible anguish for pregnant people.”

Doctors told Cox that inducing labor or performing a C-section would put her ability to carry another child at risk.

“The idea that Ms. Cox wants so desperately to be a parent and this law may have her lose that ability is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice,” said Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who ruled on the case.

Texas officials pushed against the request, arguing that Cox’s life was not in immediate danger.

“There are no facts pled which demonstrate that Ms. Cox is at any more of a risk, let alone life-threatening, than the countless women who give birth every day with similar medical histories,” the state claimed in court filings.

While Texas’ abortion ban allows for some exceptions, many doctors and women have argued that the language is so vague that all abortions remain effectively banned, lest the doctor face criminal charges. Cox v. Texas is believed to be the first case since the overturn of Roe v. Wade to result in a court-ordered exemption from prosecution under the ban.

Ongoing in the Texas Supreme Court is the Zurawski v. State of Texas case, filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights in March. The lawsuit challenges the “conflicting language” of the state’s abortion laws, and asks the court to interpret the laws’ exceptions in a more enumerated and legally binding way.

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