GOP Ducks Questions About Texas Woman Denied Abortion Despite Threat To Her Life

“I’m a federal official so I really don’t have a comment,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said about a high-profile court ruling in his state.

Top Republicans evaded questions about a Texas Supreme Court ruling barring a woman with a life-threatening pregnancy from getting an abortion, the latest high-profile case arising as a result of severely restrictive abortion laws around the country.

“I’m a federal official so I really don’t have a comment,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who once served as a judge on the Texas Supreme Court, said when asked about the ruling on Tuesday.

Asked if he believed the ruling was fair to the woman, 31-year-old Kate Cox, Cornyn said: “It’s state law, it’s really not my role.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is up for reelection next year, also declined to answer questions about the matter, instructing reporters to call his office instead. A request for comment to Cruz’s office was not returned.

Cox filed her lawsuit last week while 20 weeks pregnant after her doctor informed her that her fetus was unlikely to make it to term or survive long outside the womb. The pregnancy would risk her life and ability to carry future children, doctors warned her.

A lower court judge initially ruled in Cox’s favor, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urged the state’s Supreme Court to intervene. However, just hours before the ruling on Monday, Cox’s attorneys announced she had traveled out of state to obtain the time-sensitive procedure.

The lawsuit follows the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade last year, which allowed Texas and other GOP-controlled states to crack down on access to abortion. Texas law now prohibits abortions beyond six weeks of pregnancy.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a rare GOP supporter of abortion rights, called the Texas Supreme Court ruling against Cox “a terrible decision” on Tuesday.

“It’s just inconceivable to me,” Collins added.

Collins was heavily criticized by pro-choice groups after she voted to confirm two Supreme Court justices nominated by former President Donald Trump: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who went on to overturn Roe after nearly 50 years of binding precedent.

Other Republicans ducked questions about the Texas ruling and reiterated simply that they personally support abortion exceptions for life of the mother, even though that didn’t appear to be the case in Cox’s Texas suit.

“I have not looked into that, but I do believe in the life of the mother. I’ve made that exception previously,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said.

Texas Rep. Roger Williams (R) said it’s a unique case. “I don’t really know, candidly, what I think of it right now. I go back to being pro-life with the only exception being the death of the mother,” Williams told HuffPost.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), a staunch abortion opponent who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, emphasized that Republicans running for office need to make it clear they “do not support a federal ban on all abortions” and that “we must have exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.”

The passage of restrictive abortion laws, including a proposal to ban abortions after 15 weeks nationwide, sparked an electoral backlash for the GOP in the 2022 midterm elections as well as in several state referendums. It’s an issue that will again be front and center in the 2024 election, with more state referendums seeking to protect abortion access on the horizon.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) warned on Tuesday that Republicans will want to emulate Texas’ approach to abortion nationally if they gain control of the Senate next year.

“This is the next step in the Republican agenda on abortion,” Warren told HuffPost. “If the Republicans can get control nationally, they can push those laws all across the country. The woman in Texas was able to go to another state to get an abortion. If the Republicans have their way, only people who can afford to leave the country will have an option to get the medical care they need.”

Earlier this year, a woman who had sued Texas for denying her an abortion while facing pregnancy complications appeared at a Senate hearing and singled out Cornyn and Cruz over their state’s abortion law.

“I would like for them to know that what happened to me… it’s a direct result of the policies that they support,” Amanda Zurawski said at the April hearing. “I nearly died on their watch… as a result of what happened to me, I may have been robbed of the opportunity to have children in the future.”

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.

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