BREAKING: Texas Abortion Providers Secure Emergency Relief to Keep Essential Abortion Procedures Available During Pandemic
Decision comes after Gov. Abbott exploits COVID-19 pandemic to block abortion access
March 30, 2020- Today, 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. This means that patients seeking an abortion in Texas can get the essential and time-sensitive care they need, for now. This decision comes in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s attempt to exploit the pandemic to block abortion access. His irresponsible and harmful actions forced a group of Texas abortion providers — represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyering Project — to go to court to protect patients.
While doctors and nurses in his state work around the clock to care for patients suffering from COVID-19, Gov. Abbott inserted politics into what should be a personal medical decision. As a result, providers — including 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 — have had to cancel appointments for hundreds of patients in the ensuing confusion.
Judge Lee Yeakel wrote: “Plaintiffs' patients will suffer serious and irreparable harm in the absence of a temporary restraining order. The attorney general's interpretation of the Executive Order prevents Texas women from exercising what the Supreme Court has declared is their fundamental constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable.”
Statement of Jeffrey Hons, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood South Texas
“We are grateful for today’s emergency order, which provides our patients with relief as they try to manage their personal lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The court has recognized that abortion is essential, time-sensitive health care that cannot wait. People must be allowed to get the health care they need—especially now during these unsettling times. The safety and health of our patients and our staff will always be our highest priority.”