Lawyers said on Monday that a pregnant woman in Texas, confirmed by doctors to have a lethal genetic condition in her fetus after it had been confirmed, is seeking an abortion after being barred by the state Supreme Court from having one. She has left Texas for the procedure.
More about Why “Kate Cox” leaves Texus
Dallas mother Kate Cox is in her 21st week of pregnancy, and doctors have diagnosed her fetus with Trisomy 18, a lethal genetic defect. She recommended abortion to maintain her reproductive health—a procedure heavily restricted under various laws in Texas.
Nancy Northup, the executive director of the Center for Reproductive Rights, representing Cox in the legal challenge against Texas’ abortion ban, said, “She’s living inside and outside of the emergency room and cannot wait any longer.”
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This is why judges and politicians should not make decisions related to healthcare for pregnant individuals,” Northup said. “They are not doctors.”
What is Trisomy 18?
Trisomy 18 is a condition where a fetus develops with three copies of chromosome 18 instead of the usual 2 and it is also known as Edwards syndrome.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this defect is associated with a “wide range of birth defects” that include critical issues in the heart, abdominal wall, digestive system, genitals, limbs, and nervous system.
A medical information page on the United States National Library of Medicine’s website, MedlinePlus, states, “Trisomy 18 results in a small, abnormally shaped head, a small jaw, and mouth, and clenched fists with overlapping fingers.”
The website notes, “Additional genetic material disrupts normal development, leading to the characteristic features of trisomy 18.”
According to the CDC, the early mortality rate for infants born with Trisomy 18 is 42% within the first week of life, with half of the deaths occurring on the first day. Less than 10% of infants born with Trisomy 18 survive beyond one year.
Some cases of individuals living with Trisomy 18 have been reported. Former Republican U.S. Senator and anti-abortion advocate Rick Santorum’s daughter, Isabella, was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 and is now 15 years old, as reported by the BBC.
A case of a 26-year-old woman with “profound developmental and intellectual limitations” associated with Trisomy 18 was described in a 2020 scientific journal. The journal, published on an open-access platform called MDPI, documented the woman’s case of surpassing life expectancy.
Where did Cox go for the abortion?
The Reproductive Rights Center did not disclose where Cox went.
Cox told Newsbuzzr on Friday, “We’re taking it day by day.” “It’s a tough time. It’s very painful. We are mourning the loss of a child.”
According to her case, Cox’s life and future fertility are at risk. Her previous two children were delivered by C-section.
Who is Simeon Sahaydachny
Simeon Sahaydachny, a law professor at Southern Methodist University, a part of the USA Today Network, told the Austin American-Statesman that it is likely to be a contentious issue before the Supreme Court whether Cox should be allowed to have an abortion outside the state.
Sahaydachny said for Texas courts, there is now no legal issue to consider whether (Cox) can have an abortion in Texas or not.”
Why can’t Cox have an abortion in Texas?
In 2021, Texas passed one of the most restrictive state abortion laws, banning the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, typically around six weeks—before most women realize they are pregnant. When the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in 2022, the state’s “trigger law” went into effect, banning abortion with some exceptions moments after conception.
Under the Texas law, a pregnant person can only request an abortion in cases where “a physical condition … places the woman in danger of death or a substantial physical impairment in a major bodily function.” Challenges to the restrictions are being contested in various courts.
In her petition, Paxton argued that if Cox were allowed to terminate her pregnancy, the state would suffer “irreparable injury.”
Paxton’s request states, “Because a child’s life is at stake, the court must require a diligent application of Texas laws before determining whether abortion is authorized.”
Northup said on Monday, “Banning abortion is dangerous for pregnant individuals, and exceptions do not work.” “She strongly wanted to be able to receive care where she lived and recover at home with her family. While Kate had the ability to leave the state, most people do not, and a situation like this could result in a death sentence.