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First lady Jill Biden invites Texas woman who sought illegal abortion to State of the Union address

PoliticsFirst lady Jill Biden invites Texas woman who sought illegal abortion to State of the Union address

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A Texas mother who went to court to obtain an illegal abortion will attend the State of the Union address in March as a guest of first lady Jill Biden.

President Biden and the first lady spoke to Kate Cox on the phone Sunday as Biden seeks to make abortion rights a signature issue of his re-election effort. Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two, made national headlines after she asked the Texas Supreme Court for permission to obtain an abortion when her unborn child was diagnosed with a fatal condition. She was denied and later left the state to abort her baby elsewhere. 

The Bidens “thanked [Cox] 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 told reporters on Wednesday.

“The first lady invited Kate to join her as a guest at the State of the Union and Kate accepted,” she said.

TEXAS SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST PREGNANT WOMAN HOURS AFTER SHE LEAVES STATE TO OBTAIN ABORTION

Kate Cox pregnancy photo

Kate Cox, 31, was forced to leave the state of Texas to seek an abortion after the state Supreme Court ruled her fetus’ diagnosis of trisomy 18 did not qualify for an exception under Texas’ abortion ban. (Kate Cox via AP)

The Biden campaign put abortion in the spotlight this week with a “Reproductive Freedom” rally in Virginia to commemorate what would have been the 51st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. The court overturned Roe in 2022, ending federal protections for abortion and permitting states to regulate the procedure as lawmakers see fit. 

Since then, 14 states, including Texas, have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with some exceptions, and two others have banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks of gestation.

Cox’s baby had a condition known as trisomy 18, which is when a baby has an extra copy of chromosome 18. The diagnosis has a very high likelihood of miscarriage or stillbirth, and a low survival rate. 

Cox’s lawsuit against Texas, which cited doctors, argued that continuing the pregnancy jeopardized both her health and her ability to have more children. 

BIDEN CALLS TRUMP ‘MOST RESPONSIBLE’ FOR ‘STRIPPING AWAY’ ABORTION, VOWS TO VETO ANY NATIONWIDE BAN

Karine Jean-Pierre near a podium

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attends the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2024. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Trisomy 18 occurs in approximately 1 in 2,500 diagnosed pregnancies, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. There is no live birth in about 70% of pregnancies involving the diagnosis that proceeds past 12 weeks gestational age, according to a legal filing that the two groups submitted to the court.

Texas’ abortion ban makes narrow exceptions when the life of the mother is in danger, but not for fetal anomalies. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that Cox had not shown that any of the complications in her pregnancy rose to the level of threatening her life.

The court battle and Cox’s defeat have become a rallying cry for Democrats nationally, who say Republican-backed abortion restrictions deny women health care and take away their rights. 

At his rally in Manassas, Virginia, on Tuesday, President Biden said former President Trump is “most responsible” for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and blamed his predecessor (and likely general election opponent) for “stripping away” abortion rights.

BIDEN CALLS ON CONGRESS TO RESTORE ROE V. WADE ABORTION PROTECTIONS AS FEDERAL LAW: ‘THIS IS NOT OVER’

joe biden rally virginia

President Biden speaks at a “Reproductive Freedom Campaign Rally” at George Mason University on Jan. 23, 2024, in Manassas, Virginia. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The president said women are “being turned away from our emergency rooms, forced to travel hundreds of miles to get basic health care, forced to go to court to plead to help to protect themselves, and the ability to often have children in the future.”

“The cruelty is astounding and it’s a direct affront to a woman’s dignity to be told by extreme politicians and judges to wait to get sicker and sicker before anything can happen, even to the point where, as you heard your life had been determined to be in danger, or the idea that a woman should have to carry a fetus after she’d been raped or the victim of incest,” Biden said. “It’s outrageous.”

“Or the idea a woman receives competent medical advice that the fetus she’s carrying won’t live and will impact on her ability to have children in the future and she still can’t get medical care,” he continued in apparent reference to Cox’s story. “I think it’s unconscionable that anyone thinks that this is where America is going in 2024.”

“Let there be no mistake: the person most responsible for taking away this freedom in America is Donald Trump,” he said. “Trump says he’s proud that he overturned Roe v. Wade.”

The White House said Biden will continue to share the stories of women who have been impacted by abortion restrictions since Roe v. Wade was undone. 

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“It is important for Americans to hear the horror stories that we’re hearing from women of their experiences across the country,” Jean-Pierre told reporters, explaining why Cox was invited to the State of the Union address on March 7, 2024. 

“The Biden-Harris administration is standing with a majority of Americans on this. With a majority of Americans. And Republican elected officials are just not,” she added.

Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman, Bradford Betz and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

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