Texas Abortion Clinics Close After Governor Orders a Halt to Non-Essential Medical Procedures

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2020   |   3:27PM   |   Austin, TX

At least some Texas abortion businesses have closed temporarily or stopped doing abortions in response to an order from pro-life Governor Greg Abbott to halt all non-essential medical procedures to preserve medical resources to fight the coronavirus crisis. Other abortion centers are waiting to see what the legal options are in response and may be continuing to kill babies in abortions.

Now that the governor and attorney general of the state of Texas have issued orders mandating that abortions can’t be done during the next month while all elective surgical procedures are paused due to the coronavirus crisis, the question now becomes whether or not Texas abortion businesses will follow the order.

As LifeNews.com reported, pro-life Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton yesterday essentially closed down abortion businesses in the state and warned them that they are subject to a new executive order pro-life Governor Greg Abbott issued Sunday to end all non-essential surgical procedures. Since no abortions are essential, abortion centers essentially should close down.

Abbott issued a new executive order prohibiting all non-essential medical procedures until the middle of April. The order says that, “beginning now and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2020, all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.”

The order applies to abortions and failure to comply with the executive order could mean fines of up to $1,000 or 180 days in jail.

So are abortion centers complying? According to the Dallas Morning News, some abortion companies have stopped killing babies, at least temporarily:

Across Texas’ major cities, clinics were informing patients that abortion services were temporarily unavailable on Tuesday.

But, in Texas, many abortion providers had heeded Paxton’s warning by Tuesday afternoon. Still, there were a few signs of pushback: One Austin clinic was telling its patients it was planning to sue, and an abortion access fund said it would still help people obtain abortions.

Florian Trcalek, the medical receptionist at Austin Women’s Health Center, said the clinic was not performing abortions but was still booking future appointments in hopes of offering abortions while it fought the ruling in a court.

“We believe abortion is an essential service,” she said. “We’re hoping we can get a case open so that we can reopen in the time that they’re making a decision.”

Trcalek said she didn’t know when the clinic’s lawsuit would be filed but said the clinic hoped to offer abortions again by the end of next week.

Amy Hagstrom-Miller, the CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said in a statement that “patients cannot wait until this pandemic is over to receive safe abortion care.” But a spokeswoman for Whole Woman’s Health, which operates clinics in Fort Worth, Austin and McAllen, said the private health care management company was adhering to Paxton’s order.

Texas Planned Parenthood clinics did not respond to requests for comment. Receptionists for other abortion clinics in San Antonio, Austin and Houston said they weren’t offering abortion services.

In Dallas, an automated voice machine for the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center said: “Our office is now closed down by the attorney general until further notice due to the coronavirus.”

Leading pro-life groups told LifeNews.com they’re glad Texas is moving forward with the abortion ban so it can focus on protecting Texans from the coronavirus.

“The vast majority of abortions are elective procedures and despite calls on the national, state, and local level for all elective procedures to be postponed, abortion clinics are conducting business as usual,” stated Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “As hospitals struggle to provide care, find supplies to protect doctors, nurses, patients, and other hospital personnel, abortion clinics are endangering staff and patients in those same communities.”

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Tobias said hospitals and other primary care facilities are rightly focused on this medical emergency and Texas is right to have called for all elective surgeries to be rescheduled in order to ensure care for those in immediate need and to free up vital resources to treat those impacted by COVID-19.

Although the situation is fluid, here are the latest reports from LifeNews.com on the status of abortion and orders to stop non-essential medical services:

Texas: Abortion centers are temporarily closed after Governor Greg Abbott’s order.

Maryland: Abortion centers are included in the abortion to close but whether they have officially closed is unknown.

Louisiana: Abortion centers are included in the order to close and all three have closed.

Ohio: Abortion centers are included in the order to close but they are refusing to close.

Mississippi: Abortion centers are included in the order to close but the only center in the state is refusing to close.

New Jersey: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.

Washington: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.

California: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.

Pennsylvania: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.

Massachusetts: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.