The lower court’s decision was put on hold, and the Court said the case would remain pending. However, a timeline on when a full ruling would be issued was not given.
“Without regard to the merits, the Court administratively stays the district court’s December 7, 2023 order,” the order stated, per CNN. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton had previously requested the high court to reverse a judge’s decision granting Kate Cox’s request for the potentially life-saving procedure.
Cox, who is 20 weeks pregnant and a mother of two, had filed a lawsuit against Texas over its restrictive abortion bans. Her fetus was found to have a fatal condition known as Trisomy 18. The baby has no chance of survival, but under state law, there are only two options available to Cox: a vaginal delivery, or a C-section. Either option would risk her life or her ability to have children in the future.
After Cox had been issued a temporary restraining order Thursday to allow her to get an abortion, the attorney general sent letters to three Houston-area hospitals where the doctor who was to perform her abortion practices. In his letter, he threatened staff with civil and criminal penalties if the procedure were to take place.
“The temporary restraining order granted by the Travis County district judge purporting to allow an abortion to proceed will not insulate hospitals, doctors or anyone else from civil and criminal liability for violating Texas’ abortion laws,” Paxton said in a statement after the judge’s decision. “This includes first degree felony prosecutions…and civil penalties of not less than $100,000 for each violation.”
His letter marked a stark difference from Travis County Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who granted the temporary restraining order. Judge Gamble reportedly teared up as she read her opinion from the bench: “The idea that Ms. Cox wants so desperately to be a parent and this law may have her lose that ability is shocking and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice.”