Tags: Abortion | Coronavirus | virus

US Appeals Court Allows Abortion Curbs in Texas During Pandemic

US Appeals Court Allows Abortion Curbs in Texas During Pandemic
Waking up, post-procedure. (Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 04:55 PM

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Texas can enforce limits on the ability of women to obtain abortions as part of the state's policy requiring postponement of non-urgent medical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 2-1 vote threw out a federal judge's order issued last week that had blocked the state's action. The appeals court had earlier temporarily put the district judge's ruling on hold.

The appeals court action allows state officials to continue to enforce the restrictions, which were announced by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican. Under the policy, abortion providers are covered by a state order that required postponement of non-urgent medical procedures as healthcare providers focus on battling COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Texas and other states that previously pursued abortion restrictions have sought to crack down on abortion availability during the pandemic.

Writing for the majority, Judge Kyle Duncan faulted Austin-based District Court Judge Lee Yeakel on several counts, saying he had "usurped the state’s authority to craft emergency health measures."

Duncan, who was appointed to the bench by Republican President Donald Trump, concluded that the state must prevail "given the extraordinary nature of these errors, the escalating spread of COVID-19 and the state's critical interest in protecting the public health."

Yeakel had ruled that Paxton's action "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."

Abortion providers including Whole Woman's Health and Planned Parenthood sued to block the Texas policy after clinics said they were forced to cancel hundreds of appointments for abortions across the state.

The restrictions violate the right to abortion under the U.S. Constitution as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the abortion providers argued. 

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


   
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A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Texas can enforce limits on the ability of women to obtain abortions as part of the state's policy requiring postponement of non-urgent medical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic. A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based...
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2020-55-07
Tuesday, 07 April 2020 04:55 PM
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