Axios Houston

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Today's newsletter is 935 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The faces of abortion rights in Texas

Kate Cox (middle) joined First Lady Jill Biden (right) and women's rights activist Maria Shriver (left) at the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., on March 7. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Kate and Justin Cox, who would have had their third child this spring if their pregnancy had gone smoothly, became a "reluctant face" of the abortion rights movement, a Time story says.

Why it matters: Texas' abortion restrictions have created confusion and fear among some doctors over how to treat complicated pregnancies.

Threat level: Kate Cox was 18 weeks pregnant last year when she learned that her baby may have had trisomy 18, a rare disease in which a baby is likely to die in utero or shortly after birth.

  • Her obstetrician/gynecologist, Houston-based Dr. Damla Karsan, told Time that she had also been at "heightened risk" of hysterectomy, hemorrhage and uterine rupture. She had already gone to the emergency room several times during the pregnancy.
  • After considering the risks, the Coxes decided to terminate the pregnancy.

Yes, but: After being told she wouldn't be able to get an abortion in Texas, Kate Cox reached out to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed a lawsuit on her behalf to get answers from the legal system.

  • She was 20 weeks pregnant when a judge gave her permission to terminate the pregnancy. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Texas Supreme Court to halt the lower court's order.
  • The Coxes decided to get an abortion in New Mexico instead of waiting for a final decision.
  • The Texas Supreme Court later ruled that Kate Cox did not qualify for an abortion under the law's medical exception.

Zoom in: Karsan, who owns Comprehensive Women's Healthcare in the Texas Medical Center, is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by 22 Texas women seeking clarification of the state's medical exemption.

  • "I … feel an obligation to advocate for those who are suffering, so they can get the care they need and deserve," Karsan told Texas Monthly in February.

The other side: "Texas will proudly continue as a nationwide leader in the protection of the unborn, and the OAG will be steadfast in its mission of defending our state's pro-life laws," Paxton's office said last year.

What's next: The Texas Medical Board's proposed guidance on abortions to doctors is in the public comment phase.

2. Exploring Black-owned restaurants

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Black Restaurant Week is back in Houston for the ninth year, highlighting local Black-owned eateries, from soul food to Caribbean dishes.

How it works: This year's event showcases more than 80 restaurants.

  • The two-week-long event, which started Sunday and runs through April 14, aims to promote Black-owned restaurants. And many of the participating restaurants offer set menus or specials for the week.

Flashback: Falayn Ferrell helped start the annual event in Houston in 2016. She says back then, there were about 20 participating restaurants.

  • Now the team has expanded to hosting more than a dozen Black Restaurant Weeks across the country, including in Austin, Dallas and Atlanta.

What they're saying: "It's essentially a marketing campaign," Ferrell tells Axios. "It really does help drive that economic value to the restaurants."

Here are some of the featured restaurants:

  • The Fry Guys, which started as a food truck and now has a brick-and-mortar restaurant, serves deluxe and loaded fries.
  • Dandelion Cafe serves all-day breakfast and competed in Good Morning America's "United States of Breakfast" competition last year.
  • Reggae Hut Cafe is the spot for a mix of Caribbean dishes, including jerk chicken, oxtails and brown stew chicken.

What's next: The kickoff event at Kiss Houston tomorrow and brunch Sunday at Comfort Foodies.

Go deeper: Here's the event's full restaurant list and offerings.

3. Bayou Buzz

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

An unidentified person in Texas contracted bird flu after being exposed to infected cattle. (Axios)

🌍 More than 1,000 pieces of African art previously stored at a Harris County Precinct 1 warehouse under mysterious circumstances will be auctioned off this week. (Houston Landing)

🧠 Houston doctors are perplexed after a Texas man with no eyes suffered a serious brain injury and now believes he can see. (Houston Chronicle)

4. Stat du jour: ⚾️ Astros are skyrocketing in value

Keep your head up, 'Tuve. Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Astros saw one of the biggest year-over-year value increases in Major League Baseball.

Driving the news: Of the 30 MLB teams, the Astros ranked 11th by franchise valuation at $2.4 billion as of March, according to Forbes.

The intrigue: That's 8% higher than Forbes' valuation of the team in 2023, a marked difference from the league's average year-over-year growth rate of 4%.

State of play: The 'Stros are off to an 1-4 start after rocky series with the New York Yankees.

  • Yes, but: Last night, right-hander Ronel Blanco threw the first no-hitter of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays, giving the Astros their first win of the season.
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5. Sweet Times: Eat Cake

Eat cookies at Eat Cake. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

👋 Shafaq here! I've been on a quest to find more late-night non-ice cream dessert spots and recently came across Eat Cake, which is exactly what I wanted to do.

Dig in: Eat Cake on North Shepherd serves cakes, cupcakes, brownies and cookies.

  • The bakery closes at 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so not a super-late-night option, but not bad for Houston's standards. Send me more recommendations!

My experience: I went in for the cake because, my golly, it looked scrumptious, and it was, but one of the cookies stole the show.

  • The very sweet person working there recommended the chubby gooey dulce latte cookie ($6), and I can't thank her enough. Easily one of the best cookies I've had. It's incredibly indulgent and gooey, and I've already gone back to get more.
  • I also ordered a slice of the 10-inch chocolate wonderland cake ($15). It was deliciously moist and hit the spot. If you too miss the old Chocolate Bar's chocolate cake, this can fulfill your craving.

If you go: 1901 N. Shepherd Drive, Unit 5.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Khalid Adad and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

🍫 Shafaq still misses the old Wonka-themed Chocolate Bar.

🛻 Jay is reading about Texas' war against Japanese Kei trucks.