Court Upholds Texas Governor's Elective Surgery Ban Closing Abortion Clinics

Chris Fox
April 08, 2020 - 5:41 am
Court Room

Chalirmpoj Pimpisarn/GettyImages


Tuesday, in a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the district court was wrong to grant emergency relief to protect access to abortion care. This allows Gov. Abbott to use his COVID-19 order to block access to abortion. This is the latest twist in a lawsuit brought by Texas abortion providers — represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Lawyering Project — to protect access to care. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today applauded the decision. “I thank the Fifth Circuit for their attention to the health and safety needs of Texans suffering from this medical crisis. Governor Abbott’s order ensures that hospital beds remain available for Coronavirus patients and personal protective equipment reaches the hardworking medical professionals who need it the most during this crisis,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Texans must continue to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, and we must support the health professionals on the frontlines of this battle.” 

“This is not the last word—we will take every legal action necessary to fight this abuse of emergency powers. Texas has been trying to end abortion for decades and they are exploiting this pandemic to achieve that goal,” said Nancy Northup, president & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Texas women are not waiting for the courts—those who are able to travel are already leaving the state to get care. Others are tragically being left behind. The need for abortion care doesn’t disappear during a pandemic.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America released the following statement:

“This is unconscionable. Patients are already being forced to put their lives in harm's way during a pandemic, and now will be forced to continue doing so to get the health care they need. Abortion is essential, it’s time-sensitive, and it cannot wait for a pandemic to pass. Instead of playing politics during a pandemic, Gov. Abbott should be focusing on the health care needs of his constituents. Planned Parenthood won’t let this injustice stand. Our patients deserve better. We’ll use every tool at our disposal to fight this harmful order and protect our patients’ health care.”

There is a district court hearing on the matter scheduled for April 13.