A federal judge in Texas with a long history of siding with abortion advocates ruled today that Texas abortion centers can defy the governor’s order to stop non-essential medical procedures instead of helping coronavirus patients by conserving medical resources during the pandemic.
Attorneys for the state of Texas fought in court today to defend Governor Greg Abbott’s order that all non-essential medical procedures, including abortions, stop during the coronavirus pandemic to conserve medical resources. While Texas is fighting for patients, abortion businesses have filed suit and are fighting to keep profiting from killing babies in abortions.
As LifeNews reported, 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.
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.”
Then, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton 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.
“The truth is abortion, for the most part, is an elective procedure,” Paxton said.
But a federal judge ruled against the state and coronavirus patients today and sided with abortion companies:
Today, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel granted providers, including Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas (which encompasses Austin), Whole Woman’s Health, and Austin Women’s Health Center, a temporary restraining order against Paxton’s directive, reinstating abortion care in Texas.
In his nine-page order, Yeakel says the abortion ban is inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent. “Regarding a woman’s right to a pre-fetal-viability abortion, the Supreme Court has spoken clearly,” he writes. “There can be no outright ban on such a procedure. This court will not speculate on whether the Supreme Court included a silent ‘except-in-a-national-emergency clause’ in its previous writings on the issue.”
Yeakel also writes that people getting abortions will supposedly suffer “serious and irreparable harm” if Paxton’s order is not restrained but said nothing of the irreparable harm coronavirus patients may face if they can’t get legitimate medial treatment.
“The benefits of a limited potential reduction in the use of some personal protective equipment by abortion providers is outweighed by the harm of eliminating abortion access in the midst of a pandemic that increases the risks of continuing an unwanted pregnancy, as well as the risks of traveling to other states in search of time-sensitive medical care,” writes Yeakel. “The court finds that a temporary restraining order will not disserve the public interest.”
Yeakel’s order lasts until April 13, at which point a phone hearing will determine the fate of the preliminary injunction.
Texas made its best case in court today:
In a legal brief, lawyers for Texas told U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel that the abortion ban was part of an extraordinary response to an extraordinary situation.
“The State’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 are far-reaching precisely because COVID-19 presents a grave threat to public health,” the lawyers wrote.
“Never in our lifetimes have so many Texans been threatened with severe illness or death due to a pandemic sweeping the globe,” they added.
Abortion advocates provided no reason why killing a baby is somehow an essential medical procedure during a pandemic, but in stead argued that Texas officials were exploiting the cronavirus crisis to push a pro-life agenda.
But attorneys for the state of Texas responded:
Lawyers for Texas portrayed the argument differently, telling the judge that the abortion providers are seeking “a special exemption, claiming a right to deplete or endanger precious PPE resources and hospital capacity in the name of providing abortions.”
“They have no right to special treatment,” Paxton’s lawyers argued, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the law does “not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice, nor should it elevate their status above other physicians in the medical community.”
“Government authorities expect a surge of COVID-19 cases in the very near future, and Texas is trying to ensure that we have adequate medical supplies, hospital capacity, and healthcare workers to prevent the system from collapsing,” the state lawyers said.
“This Executive Order will save countless lives by preventing further spread of the disease by unnecessary contact and ensuring the conservation of personal protective equipment and hospital capacity necessary to protect the healthcare professionals who will save Texans from this disease,” they added.
The report confirmed that hundreds of babies have likely been saved from abortion as abortion centers across the state cancelled abortions.
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:
States Attempting to Protect Babies From Abortion
Texas: Abortion centers are temporarily closed after Governor Greg Abbott’s order. But Texas abortion businesses have sued the state to reopen. Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit as well to do abortions and ignore the order.
States Not Protecting Babies From Abortion
New York: New York has issued an order to stop non-essential health services but is not applying it to abortion centers. New York Attorney General: Coronavirus Crisis is No Reason to Stop Killing Babies in Abortions. NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio has threatened to permanently close churches while letting abortion centers stay open.
New Jersey: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
Michigan: Governor Whitmer has stopped non-essential medical surgeries but allowed abortion clinics to keep killing babies.
North Carolina: Pro-life groups have called on the governor to stop abortions during the coronavirus crisis.
Washington: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
California: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded. But 11 Planned Parenthood abortion centers have voluntarily closed.
Pennsylvania: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
Maine: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
Massachusetts: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.