First Lady Jill Biden has invited Kate Cox, the woman who fought Texas for her right to a life-saving abortion last year, to be one of her and President Joe Biden’s guests at the State of the Union address in March.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the invitation and Cox’s acceptance at a press briefing Wednesday, saying it’s one of the ways Biden plans to “lift up those very personal stories” about the state of abortion access, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in 2022.
“On Sunday, the president and first lady spoke to Kate Cox, who was forced to go to court to seek permission for the care she needed for a non-viable ― a pregnancy that threatened her life,” Jean-Pierre said. “They thanked her for her courage in sharing her story and speaking out about the impact of the extreme abortion ban in Texas. The first lady invited Kate to join her as a guest at the State of the Union, and Kate accepted.”
Biden is schedule to deliver his State of the Union address on March 7.
Texas is one of more than a dozen states that have severely cracked down on abortion access in the last 18 months. Cox sued the state late last year for access to an emergency abortion, after her doctors informed her that her pregnancy was non-viable and could result in a uterine rupture, which can lead to death. Hers was believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind after the fall of Roe. Legal whiplash ensued.
A judge initially ruled in her favor, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton intervened, calling the judge an “activist” and warning Texas hospitals they could face legal repercussions if they performed an abortion on Cox.
The state’s Supreme Court agreed to take up the case and temporarily blocked the lower court’s ruling, arguing that Cox’s doctor failed to “attest to the court that Ms. Cox’s condition poses the risks the exception requires.”
Running out of time, Cox decided to leave the state for her abortion, announced the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit on Cox’s behalf.
“This past week of legal limbo has been hellish for Kate,” Nancy Northup, the center’s CEO and president, said in a statement. “Her health is on the line. She’s been in and out of the emergency room and she couldn’t wait any longer. This is why judges and politicians should not be making healthcare decisions for pregnant people.”
Hours after that announcement, the Texas Supreme Court ruled to permanently deny Cox’s request.
Last year, the Bidens’ State of the Union guests included Amanda Zurawski, another Texas woman denied a life-saving abortion.
“She was sent home with instructions to come back if she developed signs of a life-threatening infection, which she did, three days later,” the White House said. “Zurawski developed sepsis and nearly died because of the delay in receiving treatment. She continues to suffer from medical complications due to the delay.”