All Eyes on Texas: Republicans and Business Leaders Decry Court Ruling Denying Kate Cox’s Abortion

With abortion banned in nearly two dozen states, stories like Kate Cox’s are going to keep happening. And voters, business leaders and even fellow Republicans aren’t turning a blind eye.

An abortion-rights rally on June 25, 2022 in Austin, Texas, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case and erased a federal right to an abortion. (Sergio Flores / Getty Images)

A case out of Texas demonstrates the shocking cruelty and extraordinary lengths to which anti-abortion ideologues will go to deny women access to critical healthcare. The state’s Supreme Court intervened last week and denied an emergency request for an abortion by a woman named Kate Cox. Cox was experiencing fetal abnormalities that made her pregnancy unviable and potentially dangerous. The ruling, which forced Cox to leave the state in order to legally terminate the pregnancy, attracted the ire of even some Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

A fundamental part of the conservative rhetoric used to justify draconian abortion bans is the premise that abortion “hurts women.” But as studies and these real-life cases continue to prove, the opposite is actually true: abortion bans hurt women and endanger their lives—and what’s more, abortion actually helps women.

Those are the findings of the Turnaway Study, a groundbreaking longitudinal study following 1,000 women—some of whom had received abortions and some of whom were denied abortions. The women denied abortions experienced worse economic and mental health outcomes than those who were able to secure an abortion, and 95 percent of those who received the abortion said it was the right decision.

“People who are making this decision understand their circumstances. … When they’re not able to make this decision for themselves, their lives and their kids’ lives will be measurably worse off,” Diana Greene Foster, lead researcher of the Turnaway Study, told Ms. “We can trust people’s decision making. We should know that if the government restricts people’s ability to make decisions for themselves, it will make their lives harder.”

The adverse impacts of abortion bans are felt beyond the women immediately impacted. This week, 51 businesses signed onto an amicus brief in support of the 22 women suing Texas over its abortion bans, expressing difficulty in attracting employees and doing business in the state. “This is why our economy is taking a hit,” said filing author Sarah Stewart of law firm Reed Smith. Pressure on Texas and other states with bans will continue to grow.

A majority of Americans support abortion rights—and as a Ms. poll found earlier this year, abortion and women’s rights will be determining factors in the 2024 elections. Candidates who don’t take that into account will face severe headwinds—because unfortunately, stories like Cox’s are just going to keep happening. And voters aren’t turning a blind eye.

Up next:

U.S. democracy is at a dangerous inflection point—from the demise of abortion rights, to a lack of pay equity and parental leave, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and attacks on trans health. Left unchecked, these crises will lead to wider gaps in political participation and representation. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Amendment, and centering the stories of those most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we are redoubling our commitment for the next 50 years. In turn, we need your help, Support Ms. today with a donation—any amount that is meaningful to you. For as little as $5 each month, you’ll receive the print magazine along with our e-newsletters, action alerts, and invitations to Ms. Studios events and podcasts. We are grateful for your loyalty and ferocity.


Katherine Spillar is the executive director of Feminist Majority Foundation and executive editor of Ms., where she oversees editorial content and the Ms. in the Classroom program.