Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

This comes one day after a federal district court allowed abortion providers to resume medication abortions and abortion procedures for patients who would otherwise be denied abortion access 

Abortion providers are considering all legal options, including going to the Supreme Court 

The appeals court’s stay bars most patients from accessing an abortion; exception granted for patients past gestational age of 22 weeks when executive order is lifted 

April 10, 2020 – Today, for the second time this week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against abortion providers, this time granting a stay reversing in part the federal district court’s latest temporary restraining order. This means abortion is once again largely inaccessible in the state of Texas. The ruling is one of many that has created legal whiplash, causing confusion and uncertainty for hundreds of patients in need of essential, time-sensitive abortion care.

Abortion providers — represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Lawyering Project — were in the midst of calling patients back to health centers when the 5th Circuit’s ruling came down today. Once again, providers —  Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, Planned Parenthood Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, Planned Parenthood South Texas Surgical Center, Whole Woman’s Health, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, and Austin Women’s Health Center — will have to turn patients away unless they will pass the gestational limit for abortions in Texas before April 22 (the day after Gov. Abbott’s order is set to expire). 

Plaintiffs will evaluate this latest ruling from the 5th Circuit and continue exploring every option, including emergency relief from the Supreme Court, in order to ensure patients can access essential, time-sensitive abortion services.

Medical experts including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals: “Indeed, the Governor’s order is likely to increase, rather than decrease, burdens on hospitals and use of PPE. At the same time, it will severely impair essential health care for women, and it will place doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in an untenable position by criminalizing necessary medical care.”

Statement of Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We are in a time of crisis — and the state of Texas is sowing fear, confusion, and chaos about whether people can access health care. The same people who are caring for their families, working essential jobs, and trying to make ends meet during this pandemic are now having to experience the trauma of medical uncertainty. This is a nightmare inside of a nightmare. One day patients are called back for their procedures, the next day they are canceled — all at the whim of Gov. Abbott. Abortion is essential because it is time-sensitive. It cannot wait for lengthy legal battles or a pandemic to pass. This political game will have a lasting consequence on Texans for generations to come.”

Statement from Nancy Northup, president & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Once again, Texas women cannot access abortion--with the important exception of those close to the legal limit, who the Fifth Circuit will allow to go forward. The court is unjustifiably forcing women to wait until the eleventh hour to get the time-sensitive, essential healthcare that they are constitutionally guaranteed. We will pursue all legal options to ensure no women are left behind.”

Statement Rupali Sharma, Senior Counsel and Director at the Lawyering Project:
“Texas politicians are intent on restricting abortion access even as a global pandemic threatens the health and welfare of its residents. With today's ruling, Texans are once again thrown into a state of uncertainty, as many wonder if they'll be forced to carry pregnancies to term or risk their well-being to travel out of state to obtain an abortion in a public health crisis. We will continue to explore all legal options to help ensure Texans — no matter how vulnerable — get the health care they need and deserve.”

Already, courts in AlabamaOhio and Oklahoma have stepped in to allow abortion providers, just like all other doctors, to decide when to provide essential care. Texas has not shown why its residents deserve less. In fact, according to medical experts, forcing people to carry their pregnancies to term only creates a heavier burden on a hospital system that’s already stretched thin caring for COVID-19 patients.

Texans already have to navigate a long list of state restrictions that force abortion patients to have medically unnecessary face-to-face contact with providers, and for some, push abortion out of reach altogether. These harmful restrictions include state-mandated in-person counseling and a mandatory 24-hour waiting period. For many people, traveling out of state or waiting weeks for their medical care will mean they won’t be able to access an abortion at all.

The plaintiffs in this case — abortion providers throughout Texas — are represented by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Lawyering Project, and the Law Offices of Patrick J. O’Connell PLLC. A copy of the ruling can be found here.

Timeline of legal actions:

  • March 25: A group of Texas abortion providers — represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyering Project — sued Gov. Greg Abbott and other state officials to ensure that patients can continue to access essential, time-sensitive abortion services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Press release here.
  • March 30: A federal district judge granted Texas abortion providers a temporary restraining order to allow abortion services to continue for the time being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Press release here.
  • March 31: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals put a temporary pause on the temporary restraining order granted by the district court only one day earlier while they reviewed the district court's order, resulting in severely restricted abortion access in Texas. This stay order was granted before abortion providers could make their case to the court. Press release here.
  • April 7: In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals used a rare procedural mechanism to rule that the district court was wrong to grant emergency relief to protect access to essential, time-sensitive abortion care. This allowed the State of Texas to continue using Gov. Abbott’s COVID-19 order to block access to abortion. Press release here.
  • April 9: A federal district court granted a second temporary restraining order against Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 order. This decision allowed abortion providers to resume medication abortion as well as abortion procedures for patients who would be unable to access abortion due to their gestational age on April 22 (the day after Gov. Abbott’s executive order is set to expire). Press release here.
  • Today (April 10): For the second time, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against abortion providers, this time granting a stay reversing in part the federal district court’s latest temporary restraining order (granted on April 9), which means abortion is once again largely inaccessible in the state of Texas.


Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers and advocates of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.