Bidens invite woman forced to leave state for emergency abortion to State of Union

Washington DC - The Bidens have invited a Texas woman who was forced to leave the state to have an emergency abortion to attend the State of the Union address, the White House announced on Wednesday.

President Biden has invited Kate Cox, a Texas woman who was forced to leave the state for an emergency abortion, to attend the State of the Union address.
President Biden has invited Kate Cox, a Texas woman who was forced to leave the state for an emergency abortion, to attend the State of the Union address.  © SAUL LOEB / AFP

The move comes as the president is making the defense of reproductive rights a key theme of his reelection campaign.

Kate Cox has agreed to attend the annual major policy address, held this year on March 7, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

The story of Cox, a mother of two from Dallas who sued for the right to an abortion, drew national attention last year and spotlighted the dangers and grief women seeking the procedure face in states such as Texas, where reproductive laws are strict.

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"On Sunday, the President and First Lady spoke to Kate Cox, who was forced to go to court to seek permission for the care she needed for a non-viable pregnancy that threatened her life," Jean-Pierre said.

The Bidens "thanked her for her courage in sharing her story and speaking out about the impact of the extreme abortion ban in Texas. The First Lady invited Kate to join her as a guest at the State of the Union, and Kate accepted," she continued.

Cox was more than 20 weeks pregnant with a fetus with a rare genetic defect, full trisomy 18, which meant it would likely die before birth or, at most, live a few days. Doctors said failure to terminate the pregnancy could cause a rupture to Cox's uterus, threatening her future fertility and her life.

Because of the strict abortion laws in Texas, she sued the state last year. A judge ruled in her favor, but the state attorney general appealed.

Kate Cox had to flee Texas for life-saving abortion

Kate Cox was forced to leave Texas in order to access a safe abortion for a non-viable pregnancy.
Kate Cox was forced to leave Texas in order to access a safe abortion for a non-viable pregnancy.  © Collage: Courtesy of Kate Cox/Handout via REUTERS

With the clock ticking, Cox left the state in December to seek an emergency abortion. Hours later, the Texas Supreme Court reversed the lower court's decision.

The case illustrates the terrible quandary facing patients and doctors since the Supreme Court overturned the Constitutional right to abortion in 2022.

Since then, 21 US states have restricted or banned abortion. In Texas, a state "trigger" ban went into immediate effect after the 2022 ruling, prohibiting abortions even in cases of rape or incest.

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Polls repeatedly show a clear majority of Americans support continued access to safe abortion, even as conservative groups push to limit the procedure or ban it outright.

Biden, who has sought to keep abortion rights front and center, had labeled Cox's case "outrageous." He accuses former president Donald Trump, his likely rival in the presidential election later this year, of being "hell-bent" on new abortion curbs.

Trump has claimed credit for the fact that his three conservative Supreme Court picks had contributed to overturning abortion rights.

"The person most responsible for taking away this freedom in America is Donald Trump," Biden said during a rally in Virginia earlier this week.

Cover photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP

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