Texas AG Ken Paxton is using his power to tell Texas courts to halt an abortion for a pregnant woman diagnosed with a fetal anomaly

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  • A Texas woman had to go before a court for permission to abort her fetus with a fatal abnormality.

  • State Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to prosecute the woman's healthcare team.

  • He appealed the court order, which has been stayed, throwing Kate Cox's abortion in flux.

Kate Cox was devastated to learn that her dearly desired pregnancy would almost certainly end in death, stillbirth, or a short and painful life. Her baby was diagnosed with trisomy 18, a rare fetal abnormality. If carried to term, the pregnancy could risk Cox's health and future fertility, her doctors told her.

Cox feared that carrying her pregnancy to term would expose her baby to intense suffering, and would jeopardize the life she shared with her husband and two young children. So she chose to seek termination of her pregnancy.

"I do not want my baby to arrive in this world only to watch her suffer a heart attack or suffocation," Cox said, according to a lawsuit she filed. "I desperately want the chance to try for another baby and want to access the medical care now that gives me the best chance at another baby."

Enter Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has fought aggressively to prevent Cox from obtaining an abortion.

Cox received court approval on Thursday for an abortion after a Travis County judge granted a temporary restraining order protecting her from Texas' stringent abortion ban. Hours later, Paxton swooped in with an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court and an ominous threat to prosecute any doctor that provides an abortion to Cox.

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court put a temporary hold on the Travis County judge's order, preventing Cox's doctors from proceeding with the abortion. The Texas Supreme Court has yet to issue a ruling on the case.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing Cox, released a statement saying they hope the Texas Supreme Court ultimately rules in Cox's favor.

"We are talking about urgent medical care. Kate is already 20 weeks pregnant. This is why people should not need to beg for healthcare in a court of law," said Molly Duane, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Paxton, who faces multiple legal quagmires of his own, said in his filing that Cox's case was an "elective abortion."

"Nothing can restore the unborn child's life that will be lost as a result," Paxton said and others wrote in the filing.

Debbie McNabb, a retired gynecologist based in Texas who has been keeping up with the case, though she is not connected to it, told Business Insider the fetus was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, which has a "high risk of fetal loss and stillbirth," according to the National Institute of Health.

"It's turning into the same kind of case we've seen multiple times in Texas, where a woman ruptures her membranes in the second trimester," McNabb told BI. "When that happens, you know immediately what the end result is going to be: She's either going to get sepsis, or she's going to hemorrhage, and no matter what you do, the fetus will not survive, because the fetus has to have amniotic fluid to mature the lungs."

Cox's case is further complicated by her medical history. She delivered her two children via Cesarean section, per the Center for Reproductive Rights. She will most likely need a third C-section if she's forced to carry the baby to term, but McNabb said that would be fraught with risks.

"Each pregnancy becomes more and more dangerous because her uterus has a scar. And not only can the uterus rupture, but when you have that scarring on the uterus from a C-section, the placenta can grow into that scar," McNabb said.

That can result in Placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) disorder, which the NIH says is "responsible for adverse maternal outcomes at delivery" and is the leading cause in Western countries of peripartum hysterectomies — hysterectomies performed at or within 24 hours of delivery.

"Every C-section puts her at higher risk for those things," McNabb, who is pursuing a PhD in bioethics and health humanity, told BI. "She already said she wanted a large family. So when she's arguing that it puts her life and health at risk, it does. And there's no benefit, because this baby will die."

Read the original article on Business Insider