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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Pregnant woman sues Texas over right to abortion for fatal fetal condition

Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Molly Duane speaks in the court room at the Texas Supreme Court in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 28, 2023. The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case brought on behalf of 22 women who were denied abortions even though they had serious complications with their pregnancies that were in some cases life-threatening.    (Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Marin Wolf The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — A pregnant North Texas woman is suing the state over access to an abortion after her fetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition.

Kate Cox, 31, visited three different emergency rooms in the last month for severe cramping and unidentifiable fluid leaks in her third pregnancy. After testing, doctors diagnosed her baby with full trisomy 18, also known as Edwards Syndrome, meaning the baby is unlikely to survive long after birth if it is not stillborn.

Because Cox, now 20 weeks pregnant, has had two prior C-sections, continuing the pregnancy puts her at risk for severe complications that could threaten her life or fertility, according to the complaint filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on Tuesday.

“I do not want to continue the pain and suffering that has plagued this pregnancy. I do not want to put my body through the risks of continuing this pregnancy. I do not want my baby to arrive in this world only to watch her suffer,” Cox said in a statement. “I need to end my pregnancy now so that I have the best chance for my health and my future pregnancy.”

Under Texas’ abortion bans, pregnant people are only able to obtain an abortion if they have a “life-threatening physical condition” or are at risk of “substantial impairment of a major bodily function.” It’s a definition at the heart of another lawsuit filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights that includes 20 women who say their abortions were delayed or denied because the exemptions are unclear.

The complaint requests the court allow an obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Damla Karsan, to perform Cox’s abortion. Karsan is also a plaintiff in the other abortion case on behalf of herself as a doctor and on behalf of her patients.

Cox’s lawyers requested that the case be decided “expeditiously” given the time-sensitive nature of Cox’s situation.