Attorney General Threatens Doctors Over Performing Court-Granted Abortions

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( – The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the historic abortion decision Roe vs. Wade in 2022, and since the power to regulate abortion has gone back to the states, the battle over the procedure is hotter than ever.

This week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to prosecute any doctors, healthcare workers, or hospitals who violate the state’s near-total ban on abortion. Texas law bans the procedure except when the mother’s life is in danger. That’s the rub: who decides which medical conditions are truly life-threatening?

Paxton’s statement appears to have been sparked by a court case that granted a woman the right to an abortion. On December 7th, a Travis County judge granted plaintiff Kate Cox a temporary injunction against the state’s abortion law after her 20-week fetus was found to have a condition that causes birth defects, and that will likely mean the baby would survive only a brief time after the birth. The condition may also cause Cox to become permanently infertile if the pregnancy is carried to term.

Paxton’s threat reminded the healthcare industry that violations of state law are prosecutable as first-degree felonies, and can carry civil fines greater than $100,000.

Kate Cox filed suit after discovering her fetus has a condition called Trisomy 18, which means the baby has three copies of the 18th chromosome instead of the usual two copies. The condition almost always leads to birth defects. The Minnesota Department of Health says only half the babies with this condition are born alive. Those that do survive typically only live for a few days, up to two weeks.

Cox said it wasn’t that she wanted to end her pregnancy, but that the baby she was carrying would not survive, and she wanted “desperately” to have the chance to become pregnant again and carry a healthy baby to term.

The Travis County judge who granted Cox’s injunction said that Texas’ law would have resulted in a “genuine miscarriage of justice” if Cox were forced to carry the baby to term and risk permanently losing her chance to have healthy children in the future. For his part, Attorney General Paxton called the judge an “activist,” and said Cox’s condition did not fall under Texas’ exemption, which requires a threat to the mother’s life, not the child’s.

At the time of this writing, news came in that the Texas Supreme Court overturned Cox’s injunction; she has already left the state to seek an abortion.

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