When she learned she was expecting her third child, Kate Cox, 31, jumped for joy. She and her husband had the desire to expand their family. But the pregnancy was immediately an obstacle course. In the last month the woman has had to rush to the emergency room three times for severe cramps and fluid loss. Then came the diagnosis: the baby would have been born dead or even if he had survived the birth he would have only lived a few days because he suffers from Edwards Syndrome, a genetic disease characterized by the presence in the individual’s cells of a third chromosome 18 which causes various and serious physical and cognitive malformations of the unborn child. According to the doctors, “continuing the pregnancy would have been a risk to her life and her fertility.” Having already had two caesarean sections, the woman could have a sudden rupture of the uterus.
But Kate lives in Texas, a conservative state that has some of the most restrictive abortion regulations after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the ruling that had guaranteed American women’s federal right to terminate pregnancies for half a century. For this reason, the woman had to start a difficult legal battle, the first of its kind in the United States after the turning point of 2022. In recent days, a first victory had arrived: district judge Maya Guerra Gamble had ruled that the woman had the right to have an abortion in based on one of the rare medical exceptions provided by state law.
A ruling that did not please Attorney General Ken Paxton, an extremist Republican, who immediately appealed to the state Supreme Court. Yesterday the cold shower: the supreme judges suspended the sentence that gave the green light to abortion while waiting to delve into the merits of the issue. But Kate Cox is already in her 20th week, every day that passes is a risk for her: «It’s not a question of if I will have to say goodbye to my baby, but when. I don’t want to continue to suffer the suffering that is undermining my pregnancy. I don’t want to see my baby come into the world only to watch him suffer a heart attack or suffocate to death. I need to end the pregnancy, it is the best chance I have for my health and future pregnancies,” she wrote in the lawsuit she filed with the help of the Center for Reproductive Rights (Crr).
While waiting for the Supreme Court to review the case, Paxton also sent a cease-and-desist letter to hospitals, threatening to prosecute anyone who helps the woman have an abortion. Texas law allows termination of pregnancy in cases where the mother’s life may be in danger, but doctors say the language is unclear and they risk legal consequences: up to 99 years in prison, fines of up to 100,000. dollars and the revocation of the license. “This criminalizes women and doctors”, accuse the Democrats, for whom the battle for the right to abortion could also be a driving force in the next elections.