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Texas woman with a fatal fetal diagnosis asks judge to grant her abortion

North Texas woman with a fatal fetal diagnosis asks judge to grant her abortion
North Texas woman with a fatal fetal diagnosis asks judge to grant her abortion 01:17

DALLAS-FORT WORTH - Kate Cox, who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, is pleading with the state of Texas to overturn its abortion restrictions and allow her pregnancy to be terminated after learning that her fetus has a deadly ailment, putting her health at risk. 

Just last week, 31-year-old Cox found out her unborn child has trisomy 18. 

Also known as Edward's Syndrome, trisomy 18 is a chromosomal abnormality that often results in stillbirth or an early death of an infant. 

Previous ultrasounds revealed multiple additional serious conditions including a single artery in the umbilical cord; a protrusion from the baby's abdomen, likely an umbilical hernia; a twisted spine likely due to spina bifida, a neural tube defect; clubbed or "rocker-bottom" foot; intrauterine growth restriction; and irregular skull and heart development. 

Wednesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed an emergency lawsuit on behalf of Cox and her husband. 

Cox and her husband have two children, a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-and-a-half-year-old son.  

Cox's previous deliveries were not easy. Both of her children were delivered via cesarean surgery. Cox and her husband hoped to have more children, the lawsuit states. 

According to the lawsuit, continuing the pregnancy will have a disastrous effect on Cox's health. Her OB-GYNs say she runs the additional risk of crippling health issues, like potential infertility. 

Cox's physicians said their "hands are tied" due to the state's law, and she will have to wait until her baby dies inside her or carry the pregnancy to term, at which point she will undergo a third C-section, the lawsuit states.  

"It is not a matter of if I will have to say goodbye to my baby, but when. I'm trying to do what is best for my baby and myself, but the state of Texas is making us both suffer," said Cox. 

Trying to leave the state is her only other choice.  

"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," Kate Cox said. "I need to end my pregnancy now so that I have the best chance for my health and a future pregnancy." 

Because they fear liability under Texas' abortion ban, S.B. 8, Cox and her husband filed a lawsuit asking the court to halt the state's abortion bans temporarily. They also asked the court to spare OB/GYN Dr. Damla Karsan from prosecution so that she could perform the procedure in Texas. 

Karsan is also a plaintiff in Zurawski v. Texas, a case which is not seeking to overturn Texas' ban but rather to clarify what qualifies as a medical exemption. 

Earlier this year, a judge ruled that women who experience pregnancy complications are exempt from the state's abortion ban. The judge's ruling found the women in the case should have been given abortions, adding they were denied abortions due to "widespread uncertainty" in the medical exception to Texas' abortion bans. 

Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the ruling, blocking the change to the law and bringing the legal challenge to the state Supreme Court.   

Oral arguments in Zurawski v. Texas began Nov. 28

A hearing date has not yet been set for Cox's lawsuit.

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