Texas Medical Board to clarify when medical exceptions can be made to state's abortion law

The Texas Medical Board will discuss language to clarify when a doctor can step in and not violate the state’s strict abortion law. 

This comes after the Texas Supreme Court called on the board to provide clarification during the Kate Cox case. 

Last year, doctors told the 31-year-old that her fetus had a fatal condition and that giving birth would also put her health in danger. 

Cox went to the courts, asking for permission to have an abortion. The case worked its way up to the Texas Supreme Court. 

At nearly 21 weeks pregnant, Cox decided to leave Texas to have the procedure where it was legal. 

After Cox left Texas, the Supreme Court rejected her argument for a medical exception but also urged the state medical board to clarify exceptions to the state's abortion restrictions. 


Texas Medical Board asked to issue guidance on state abortion laws

Two lawyers filed a petition Tuesday that asks the board to clarify what counts as a medical exception to the state’s abortion laws.

Amy and Steve Bresnen, Austin lawyers who followed the Cox case, filed a petition asking the board to come up with more clear language. 

Thursday, the board responded to that petition and will now discuss the options in its meeting on March 22. 

"I actually think that it is a pro-life move to add clarification," Amy said. "Because in this situation, we're dealing with women who want to be mothers."

"What we're trying to do is get the medical board to give a better illumination of what the words ‘reasonable medical judgment’ mean," Steve said. "Because that's the justification for being able to perform an abortion under those circumstances."

Last week, Cox was invited by President Joe Biden to sit with the first lady at the State of the Union

The abortion issue could influence the presidential election with Mr. Biden advocating a woman's right to choose.

For many Democrats, the long-term goal is to have abortion rights codified into federal law. But Amy and Steve are focused on something can make an immediate impact: clarifying exceptions for high-risk pregnancies. 

Steve explained the next steps after the medical board's March 22 meeting. 

"They'll publish it in the Texas Register and/or some version of this. And then, the public will have a minimum of 30 days to file comments," he explained. "I'm sure the comment period will generate a robust involvement by doctors, hospitals, OBGYNs, EMS, people on all sides of the abortion issue."

The meeting will be streamed online and accessible to the public.