A woman who was blocked by a court from having an emergency abortion has fled Texas to get “healthcare” outside the state instead, campaigners say.
Kate Cox, 31, has been at the centre of a legal battle ever since she sought court approval for the procedure after her foetus was diagnosed with trisomy 18, a rare genetic abnormality which meant it was unlikely to survive.
Doctors said the mother-of-two’s health and future fertility would also be at risk if her pregnancy continued.
Ms Cox was around 20 weeks pregnant when a lower court in Texas – which has a near complete ban on abortion – ruled she could go ahead with the emergency procedure earlier this month.
Judges also said her doctor would not be prosecuted or fined for carrying it out.
However, the Texas Supreme Court then temporarily halted the decision after the state’s Republican attorney general Ken Paxton requested the block.
The court is yet to issue a final ruling despite the time-sensitive nature of Ms Cox’s request.
But on Monday US campaign group the Center for Reproductive Rights said she could wait no longer and had now left the state “to get healthcare outside of the state”.
The group’s chief executive Nancy Northup said: “This past week of legal limbo has been hellish for Kate.
“Her health is on the line. She’s been in and out of the emergency room and she couldn’t wait any longer.
“This is why judges and politicians should not be making healthcare decisions for pregnant people – they are not doctors.”
Ms Northup added: “She desperately wanted to be able to get care where she lives and recover at home surrounded by family.
“While Kate had the ability to leave the state, most people do not, and a situation like this could be a death sentence.”
Campaigners said they would not disclose Ms Cox’s whereabouts.
She is believed to have been the first woman in the US to ask a court for permission for the procedure since the US Supreme Court overturned the nationwide constitutional right to abortion when it struck down Roe v Wade last year.
Texas is one of 13 states in the US that bans abortion at nearly all stages of pregnancy. There are limited exceptions, such as when the life of the mother is in danger – but not for fetal anomalies.
Mr Paxton had argued that Ms Cox did not meet the requirements for an exception and said the local legislature “did not intend for courts to become revolving doors of permission slips to obtain abortions.”