Travis County judge grants woman permission to get an abortion despite state ban

A Travis County judge granted a Dallas woman a temporary restraining order against the abortion law in Texas on Thursday morning.

The petition filed at the Travis County courthouse began with a short and desperate declaration. "Kate needs an abortion, and she needs it now." This request was for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a Texas law that restricts abortions. 

After an online emergency hearing was held Thursday morning, Travis County Judge Maya Guerra Gamble granted the TRO. During a news conference, Cox's attorney indicated the ruling is not just a victory for their client, but also sends a broader message.

"Abortion is health care. This case proves that abortion is essential, life-saving health care. And the judge recognized that immediately. As long as abortion is prohibited in any part of this country, pregnant people will suffer," said Attorney Molly Duane.

Kate Cox, who is 20 weeks into a pregnancy, was recently told by a Dallas doctor her baby has a condition that may lead to death before or shortly after birth. Lawyers for the state, argued that Cox was not in immediate danger. 

After the ruling, the Attorney General's Office sent a warning letter to the hospitals where Cox may try to get an abortion. They were told the Travis County order would not shield them from civil and criminal liability. It was also noted the doctor for Cox did not seek a second opinion about her pregnancy to determine if she qualified for the medical exception to the state law. 

Amy O’Donnell, with Texas Alliance for Life, spoke with FOX 7 about the case.

"This is an attempt to circumvent the exceptions in our law by broadening that door such that a pregnant woman with an emergent medical condition, which is not what our law recognizes under our life of the mother exception, would be allowed to receive an abortion if possibly, maybe, perhaps down the road, their condition might pose a threat to their health or pose a risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function," said O'Donnell. "It's good to note that Mrs. Cox's health situation has not risen to that point yet, so that she falls within that exception."


The attorneys from the Center for Reproductive Rights were hired by Cox because of their involvement in another high profile abortion case. 

The legal team, last week, went before the state Supreme Court, representing 20 women and two doctors. They argued the exemption clause in the law is too vague. 

"We are asking the Texas Supreme Court to do what the Texas courts in general do to clarify the scope of the medical exceptions. And to the extent that they are so narrow that they infringe on patients' rights to life and health and to their future fertility. We're asking them to declare that statute's unconstitutional and applied to those circumstances," said Attorney Mark Hearron.

State lawmakers, earlier this year, tried to clarify the law by passing legislation to point out the medical exceptions. 

Supporters of the state abortion law say they want the Texas Medical Board to issue an advisory to all medical professionals in Texas about those exceptions. The idea is to clear up any confusion about the law.