The Texas Supreme Court temporarily halted an emergency abortion

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EL PAÍS

The Supreme Court of Texas temporarily stopped this Friday night an emergency abortion requested by the State, which has one of the strictest laws against the termination of pregnancy. The Court’s decision comes just a day after Kate Cox, a 31-year-old woman in her 20th week of pregnancy, received a 14-day order allowing her to undergo the procedure for a congenital malformation of the fetus. The protection Cox received Thursday was considered a crack in the strict law passed after the repeal of Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion in the country.

The decision of the local Supreme Court extends the legal odyssey in which Cox and her husband took refuge. The couple, who are already parents of two children, went to court a week after learning that the pregnancy was not viable. The fetus suffers from a malformation called trisomy 18 and the opinion of the doctors is that the child will live one week after birth. On Thursday, a judge in Travis County, Maya Guerra Gamble, gave the go-ahead to terminate the pregnancy, but the local government, from the most conservative wing of the Republican Party, acted immediately to stop the abortion.

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The motion was filed by the Texas prosecutor, Ken Paxton, an ultra-conservative Christian who has made a crusade against abortion in the State. The appeal was filed on Thursday night. The prosecutor asked the Court to expedite. “Every hour that the order is made is an hour that the plaintiffs believe themselves to be free to have an abortion,” Paxton wrote. The State claimed that Cox did not meet the requirements for the only exception available in local law: that the mother’s life was in danger.

The prosecutor sent letters to three hospitals in the state threatening to take legal action against doctors if any of these centers perform abortions. “The ruling does not protect you, or anyone else, from civil and criminal liability,” Paxton threatened. The penalty prescribed by law for aiding a procedure of this type amounts to a fine of up to $100,000.

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Attorneys for Cox, who lives in a Dallas suburb, expressed cautious optimism. “Although we hope the Supreme Court will reject the State’s request and do so quickly, we fear that in this case justice is delayed because justice is denied,” said Molly Duane, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, the women’s rights organization. Cox in court.

Duane recalled, through a statement, that this was an emergency case. “Kate is 20 weeks pregnant. This is why people don’t have to go to court to beg for medical attention,” he said.

Anti-abortion organizations have already protested this case and put pressure on local authorities. “All children are precious and should be protected by law no matter how short their lives,” Texas Right To Life said in a statement. The opinion of this group is that Cox should opt for perinatal palliative care before the end of fetal life.

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The Supreme Court also has one of the cases pending resolution a lawsuit from 20 women who claim they were denied an abortion despite having a high-risk pregnancy.