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1A Remaking America: Texas doctors say ambiguous abortion laws are creating fear

Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Molly Duane speaks in the court room at the Texas Supreme Court in Austin, Texas.
Center for Reproductive Rights attorney Molly Duane speaks in the court room at the Texas Supreme Court in Austin, Texas.

Kate Cox, a mother of two from Dallas, was 20 weekspregnant with her third child when she learned that the baby hada fatal condition.

She asked the state of Texas to make an exception and allow her tohavean abortion.The baby was unlikely to live more than a week. And Kate’s life and future fertility were at risk. A judge in Austin agreed to her request to end the pregnancy. But the Texas Supreme Court put that rulingonhold.Inthe meantime,Kate left the statetoterminateherpregnancy.And the TexasSupreme Court later ruled against her

In a similar but separate case, an appeals court in Texas ruled in January that the state can override decades-old federal guidance on emergency abortion care.This case, and that of Kate Cox,have Texas citizens anddoctors wondering about access tomedically necessary abortions. Obstetricians and gynecologists are demanding more guidance from the Texas Medical Board in a state where performing an illegal abortion could result in a lifetime prison sentence, loss of a medical license, and heavy fines.  

We speak with a patient who recently wrote about her experience, a doctor, and a legal expert about what happens when the law and medical ethics are at odds.

This show is part of 1A’s “Remaking America” project with six public radio stations, including KUT in Austin, Texas. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Copyright 2024 WAMU 88.5

Anna Casey