The Texas supreme court has put on hold the restraining order that a lower court judge had imposed that would have allowed Kate Cox to get an abortion, stating that her condition met the requirements for an exception to the state’s almost total ban on the procedure. The Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, a Republican anti-abortion zealot, had appealed to the supreme court for such a move. Even before the supreme. court stepped in, Paxton went even further and said that he would prosecute any doctor and hospital that allowed the procedure even if the courts rule it to be permissible. So much for the party that says that it is the upholder of law and order.
Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of Texas, argued that Cox did not meet the criteria for a medical exception to the state’s abortion ban. “Future criminal and civil proceedings cannot restore the life that is lost if plaintiffs or their agents proceed to perform and procure an abortion in violation of Texas law,” his office told the court.
Doctors have advised Cox the pregnancy is non-viable, and proceeding with it carried significant risks to her own future health.
On Friday, Paxton warned three hospitals in Houston that they could face legal consequences if they allowed Cox’s physician to provide the abortion, despite the ruling from state district judge Maya Guerra Gamble, whom Paxton called an “activist”.
Her order, he wrote in a letter, “will not insulate hospitals, doctors or anyone else from civil and criminal liability”.
Cox learned she was pregnant for a third time in August and was told weeks later that her baby was at a high risk for a condition known as trisomy 18, which has a very high likelihood of miscarriage or stillbirth and low survival rates, according to her lawsuit.
Doctors told Cox that if the baby’s heartbeat stopped, inducing labor would carry a risk of a uterine rupture because of two prior cesareans sections, and that another C-section at full term would would endanger her ability to carry another child.
The. state supreme court has not said when it will issue a ruling on the merits of Cox’s case. This is Texas so one can be pretty sure that the supreme court is solidly Republican and thus likely to seek ways to prevent Cox from getting an abortion, however flimsy the reasoning. The easiest way might be to just run out the clock. Abortion is extremely time-sensitive. Cox is already in the 20th week of her pregnancy and it will get more difficult with each passing day. A normal pregnancy is about 40 weeks.
Apart from all the legal issues, one cannot imagine the trauma that Cox and also her husband must be going through. Normal pregnancies carry with them some stress because of the ever-present possibility of a miscarriage or something else going awry. Having a fetus that has severe problems and has almost no chance of survival makes the stress much, much worse. The prospect that if the pregnancy is carried to term she might never be able to have another child makes it even worse. Add to that the fact that she might even die as a result, and you have the recipe for the emotional hell that she must be now experiencing.
But that is today’s GOP. It simply does not care for the rights of women or doctors or even the law if any of them contradicts their ideological and religious commitment to prevent any and all abortions. The only thing that will stop them is repeated repudiation at the polls so that all politicians and judges who are anti-abortion zealots are kicked out.