Texas Supreme Court blocks emergency abortion for woman whose health is threatened by unviable fetus

Texas's Supreme Court last night blocked an abortion ordered by a lower court for a fetus that cannot live being carried by a mother who might not survive the pregnancy. The move follows a letter from Texas Attorney general Ken Paxton to the woman and her doctors, which threatened anyone involved with the procedure with prosecution irrespective of court orders.

The order by the all-Republican court came more than 30 hours after Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two from the Dallas area, received a temporary restraining order from a lower court judge that prevents Texas from enforcing the state's ban in her case.

In a one-page order, the court said it was temporarily staying Thursday's ruling "without regard to the merits." The case is still pending.

"While we still hope that the Court ultimately rejects the state's request and does so quickly, in this case we fear that justice delayed will be justice denied," said Molly Duane, an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing Cox

The Texas Supreme Court will rule later on the substance of the law. As legislated, Texas's abortion ban has narrow exceptions for the health of the mother, but in practice Paxton and prosecutors intend to allow none.