". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Potential Suffering Does Not Diminish the Worth of an Unborn Child

December 11, 2023

Update: The AP reports that Kate Cox has left Texas to seek an abortion in another state.

Kate Cox, a mother who is 20 weeks pregnant, has been in a legal battle with Texas over its law protecting the unborn.

Kate’s story is tragic. Her baby girl has Edward’s Syndrome, a condition resulting in stillbirth 50% of the time. If her daughter survives past birth, statistically, she only has a 10% chance of living past her first birthday. Doctors have told Kate that her little one might live an hour, or perhaps, a week. They’ve also told Kate that she’s at risk of hypertension and gestational diabetes, and that a C-section could make having more children impossible.

Cox sued for a temporary restraining order (TRO) allowing an abortionist to kill her unborn child. On Thursday, Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble granted this order.

In her ruling, Judge Guerra Gamble said, “The idea that Ms. Cox wants desperately to be pregnant, and this law might actually cause her to lose that ability, is shocking, and would be a genuine miscarriage of justice.”

In response, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) wrote to Houston hospitals warning that the judge’s order would not insulate them from criminal and civil liability for violating Texas’s law. In a desperate attempt to save the baby girl from the horrors of abortion, Paxton appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, “The people of Texas will be irreparably harmed by the TRO.” He continued, “Although Plaintiffs and their agents can later be prosecuted … post hoc enforcement cannot restore the life of an unborn child lost in the interim.”

Recognizing that a life hangs in the balance, on Friday, the Texas Supreme Court halted the lower court ruling as it considers the merits of the case.

Kate Cox is living a nightmare, but the miscarriage of justice is not the Texas law protecting her unborn child. It is the intended killing of her innocent baby girl.

Cox’s daughter’s life has incalculable value, and the culture of death that sees her as expendable and allows an abortionist to kill her hurts us all. It places worth on her attributes rather than her being — adding up her potential joys and potential sufferings and tipping the scale against her life.

In an op-ed about the case, Cox wrote, “I do not want to continue the pain and suffering that has plagued this pregnancy… I do not want my baby to arrive in this world only to watch her suffer.”

Kate Cox loves her daughter, but her decision to pursue abortion is made from fear, not love. Her fear is understandable — she has been told her child is going to suffer and die. But fear does not excuse anyone from upholding the dignity of another.

No mom wants to see her child suffer. But every mom does. And while it is impossible to predict how much suffering a child will endure, it is certain that the amount of suffering does not add to or diminish the worth of a life.

We cannot focus so much on eliminating the suffering that we eliminate the sufferer. The solution is not abortion, the solution is God.

God is love — and perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Parents facing an impossibly difficult perinatal diagnosis are asked to trust that their child is in God’s hands. He knows the plans He has for every child; after all, He knit them in their mother’s womb.

While this is easier said than done — and certainly easier to prescribe from the sidelines — parents do not have to walk this difficult journey alone.

Pro-life perinatal hospice programs exist to help families like the Cox family — families who have heard the most devastating words any parents could and are searching for hope.

Each program is unique, and many offer practical guidance. They are connected to doctors who acknowledge that a mother’s life and her unborn child’s life are not in competition with one another, but instead, exist in a beautiful relationship. They help parents navigate medical decisions and create a birth plan that includes alleviating any pain their baby might feel. They offer bereavement support and funeral planning. And, perhaps most importantly, they introduce parents to a community that has experienced a similar situation.

Though these organizations are not well known, they exist across the country. And while they do not pretend to take away the suffering parents face, they are there as companions on the journey.

Soon, we will celebrate the birth of our Savior — the Being whose life gave meaning to suffering. Regardless of what happens next, we know that today the Cox family is suffering beyond what we could imagine. As we approach Christmas, we should pray that their suffering is relieved. We should pray that the Texas Supreme Court protects the most vulnerable, and we should pray that Kate Cox receives the support she needs to give her child the greatest gift any mother ever could — life.

Mary Szoch is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.