Skip to main content

Federal Appeals Court Halts Texas Abortions Under Cover Of Coronavirus

| Tamala Stumon | US NEWS

Just beneath the madness and mayhem surrounding the novel coronavirus, another medical battle is being waged -- but this one is in the courts.

Texas lawmakers, as well as those in several other states, are using gubernatorial orders to eliminate all "non-essential" medical procedures in the battle against the pandemic as justification to halt all abortions.

On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Fifth Circuit reversed its earlier ruling and a lower court's decision, opting to reinstate the ban on all abortion procedures, including medication abortion.

The federal appeals court had previously allowed the latter method of terminating pregnancy, which is conducted by pill, to start again even with Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order in place. That ruling had also included an exception for patients who would be past the state's legal limit by April 22, when the order is set to expire.

Abbott's order forbids "all pregnancy termination 'not medically necessary to preserve the life or health' of the patient. Doctors who violate the order face "penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time."

Planned Parenthood, along with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyering Project, are challenging Texas' effective abortion ban on behalf of the state's providers, reports CBS News.

"Once more, people in Texas face a nightmare within a nightmare," said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood, in a statement. "People are being forced to risk their health by traveling hundreds of miles out of state to get care. Many cannot afford to travel and are forgoing the care they need altogether. A global pandemic is no time to restrict time-sensitive health care."

Similar battles are raging in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee, but judges in those states have ordered bans to be at least partially lifted.

Back To Top