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Woman who was denied abortion in Texas to attend State of the Union

Kate Cox's fetus had a genetic condition known as trisomy 18, which makes the baby likely to die in the womb or within the first month after birth.
Woman who was denied abortion in Texas to attend State of the Union
Posted at 3:09 PM, Jan 25, 2024

Kate Cox, the woman whose medical condition prompted her to seek an exemption from Texas' abortion ban last year, will attend the State of the Union address.

“On Sunday, the President and the first lady spoke to Kate Cox, who was forced to go to court to seek permission for the care she needed for a non-viable pregnancy that threatened her life,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday. “They thanked her for her courage in sharing her story and speaking out about the impact of the extreme abortion ban in Texas.  The first lady invited Kate to join her as a guest at the State of the Union, and Kate accepted.”

Cox's fetus had a genetic condition known as trisomy 18, which makes the baby likely to die in the womb or within the first month after birth, but it also put her life at risk from complications, including a ruptured uterus. 

So Cox filed a lawsuit requesting a court order to allow her to terminate her pregnancy, as it's illegal to perform an abortion in Texas. Initially, a lower court ruled that Cox could have an abortion, but then the state of Texas filed an appeal, which prompted the state Supreme Court to intercede. Later, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against Cox, as it was determined that she wouldn't meet the criteria for an abortion under the "medical exception" in the state's abortion laws.

"A woman who meets the medical-necessity exception need not seek a court order to obtain an abortion. Under the law, it is a doctor who must decide that a woman is suffering from a life-threatening condition during a pregnancy, raising the necessity for an abortion to save her life or to prevent impairment of a major bodily function," the court wrote.

Before the ruling came down, Cox had already decided to leave the state with her attorneys, saying that the legal battle had dragged on to the point where she needed to leave Texas to seek care. 

"So, those are ways that you’re going to hear the President lift up those very personal stories," Jean-Pierre said during Wednesday's briefing. "It is important for Americans to hear the harrowing stories that we’re hearing from women of their experiences across the country." 

 Jean-Pierre also highlighted how the Biden-Harris administration is focusing on reproductive rights across the board, saying that the president stands with the majority of Americans on the issue of protecting reproductive health care access, while "Republican elected officials are just not."

SEE MORE: Across the country, courts are dealing with the post-Roe fallout

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