Abortion Providers Sue Texas Governor Over Non-Essential Surgery Ban

Chris Fox
March 26, 2020 - 6:29 am
Texas Capitol Building

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Wednesday, 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, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and other state officials to ensure that patients can continue to access essential, time-sensitive abortion services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Saturday Governor Abbott issued an executive order banning non-essential surgeries. Under this order, the Governor directed all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient, which includes abortion.

Statement by Governor Greg Abbott:

"Patient care capacity is essential during this time, which is why the state of Texas is taking action to increase hospital bed capacity, provide additional space for medical personnel to care for patients, and ensure that healthcare facilities have the supplies needed to respond to COVID-19. Along with this Executive Order, the Supply Chain Strike Force will play a crucial role in addressing these needs by helping to secure and expedite the distribution of resources across the state. These are unprecedented times, and Texas will continue to take robust action to protect our communities and support those serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 response."

Statement from Alexis McGill-Johnson, acting president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“The priority of Planned Parenthood health centers is ensuring that every person can access essential health care while conserving needed resources. Governor Abbott’s priority should be the same. Abortion, which is an essential, time-sensitive medical service cannot be delayed. A global pandemic is not some kind of opening to attack abortion. Gov. Abbott and anti-abortion activists nationwide are forcing a legal and political fight in the middle of a public health crisis. We will not stand by as the Governor of Texas and these anti-abortion groups put the health of our patients, and the community, at risk. Elected leaders are expending valuable time and resources exploiting a global pandemic to score political points instead of rallying to respond to this crisis. This will place lives in jeopardy.  This is a distraction that Americans, including patients we serve in communities nationwide, cannot afford.”

Statement from Nancy Northup, president and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights:

“It’s unconscionable that the Texas Attorney General is exploiting this pandemic to end abortion in the state. Abortion care is time-sensitive and essential health care that has a profound impact on a person’s health and life, which is why it is protected as a constitutional right. Texas is abusing the state’s emergency powers and we are filing suit today to stop it.”

Statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton:

“We must work together as Texans to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our health care professionals and facilities have all the resources they need to fight the virus at this time,” said Attorney General Paxton. “No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers. Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.”