First lady Jill Biden is bringing Kate Cox, a woman who left Texas to get an abortion, as her guest to the State of the Union address in March.
Cox made headlines last month when she was denied an abortion in Texas for her unborn baby with a fetal anomaly and so left to obtain the abortion out of state.
The White House announced the invitation on Wednesday.
“On Sunday, the President and the First Lady spoke to Kate Cox, who was forced to go to court to seek permission for the care she needed for a nonviable pregnancy that threatened her life. They thanked her for her courage in sharing her story and speaking out about the impact of the extreme abortion ban in Texas,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
“The first lady invited Kate to join her as a guest at the State of the Union and Kate accepted, so those are ways that you’re going to hear the president lift up those very personal stories,” the press secretary said.
In December, the Texas Supreme Court decided against Cox, 31, ruling that she was not entitled to a medical exception abortion under the state’s abortion ban.
Cox’s legal team had argued that her unborn baby had a fatal fetal condition and that continuing the pregnancy threatened Cox’s future fertility.
Cox, who has two other children, was more than 20 weeks pregnant with a baby who had a condition called trisomy 18, which involves having an extra chromosome 18 and can cause abnormalities like heart defects.
About 95% of trisomy 18 pregnancies result in a miscarriage. However, some babies do survive past birth and can live into their toddler years, teen years, or even longer. A woman believed to be one of the oldest people with the condition lived to 40.
Texas law allows for abortions only when a pregnancy seriously threatens the life of the woman or carries “a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.”
The state Supreme Court wrote in its ruling that Cox’s doctor “asked a court to pre-authorize the abortion yet she could not, or at least did not, attest to the court that Ms. Cox’s condition poses the risks the exception requires.”
Cox’s attorneys argued that she needed a dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion because going through vaginal labor would risk uterine rupture due to her two previous C-sections. Another C-section birth would make future pregnancies higher risk and potentially damage her fertility, Cox’s doctors told her, according to court documents.
Cox had also been to the emergency room several times during her pregnancy for symptoms including cramping and discharge.
“No one disputes that Ms. Cox’s pregnancy has been extremely complicated. Any parents would be devastated to learn of their unborn (fatal condition) diagnosis. Some difficulties in pregnancy, however, even serious ones, do not pose the heightened risks to the mother the exception encompasses,” the Texas Supreme Court wrote in its ruling.
The court also called on the Texas Medical Board to provide further guidance on the state’s abortion ban.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, previously warned that doctors or hospitals who performed Cox’s abortion could face criminal prosecution.
The attorney general’s office argued in a court filing that Cox was only seeking the abortion because of her child’s diagnosis.
“Future criminal and civil proceedings cannot restore the life that is lost if Plaintiffs or their agents proceed to perform and procure an abortion in violation of Texas law,” the filing stated.
The Biden administration and his reelection campaign have placed abortion front and center as the election cycle heats up.
Dr. Austin Dennard, a Dallas OBGYN and mother of three, left Texas to obtain an abortion for her unborn baby with anencephaly, a condition where a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull.
Dennard is one of several women suing Texas to clarify the “medical emergency” exception to the state’s abortion ban.
In her court testimony, Dennard acknowledged that her pregnancy had not made her “critically ill.”
“I was not hemorrhaging, I was not septic. I was pregnant with a lethal anomaly, and I did not believe that I would be able to receive an abortion in my state at that time for the sole purpose of my lethal anomaly,” Dennard said.
The Biden campaign’s new ad also attempted to tie former President Donald Trump to state abortion bans.