Federal Appeals Court Rules Texas Can Ban Abortions During Coronavirus Pandemic

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 20, 2020   |   4:28PM   |   Austin, TX

A federal appeals court has allowed the state of Texas to ban all abortions under the order from pro-life Governor Greg Abbott banning all non-essential medical procedures during the coronavirus to save medical resources for patients and health care workers.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals previously indicated abortion businesses can continue selling abortion drugs during the pandemic. But today the appeals court ruled Texas can stop all abortions under the order and it threw out a federal judge’s order blocking the state from applying to order to abortion pills as well.

The ruling was not a total victory for unborn children, as it allowed abortion customers to get abortions if they would be past the limit on late-abortions by the time the order is set to expire on Tuesday. The court allowed that part of the judge’s ruling to remain in effect.

This is the third time the appeals court has weighed in on the Texas abortion debate. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled last Tuesday in favor of a state-wide restriction on non-essential medical procedures, including elective abortions, during the coronavirus pandemic. The ruling overturned a decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel blocking the state from enforcing the restriction on abortion facilities.

In the last decision, Judges Jennifer Walker Elrod and Kyle Duncan, nominated by President George W. Bush and President Donald Trump, were in the majority on the ruling to stop surgical abortions, while Judge James Dennis, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, dissented.

But Planned Parenthood is desperate to make more money killing babies so it went back to Judge Yeakel to issue a modified order to essentially overrule the appeals court. A group of Texas abortion facilities filed a new motion asking Yeakel for a special exception to Gov. Greg Abbott’s order. The temporary order supports hospitals and medical clinics that need additional medical gear and supplies to treat patients with the coronavirus. It also helps prevent further spread of the virus and keeps hospital beds available for those who truly need them.

The abortion groups asked for permission to do drug-induced abortions, arguing that personal protective equipment is not needed for these types of abortions and most women do not suffer complications that require hospitalization. They also asked to be allowed to abort unborn babies nearing the state 20-week abortion limit.

These requests are more limited than their initial lawsuit challenging Abbott’s order.

The abortion industry initially chose to issue a new request to Yeakel, rather than appeal the Fifth Circuit ruling to the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court. Yeakel has a long history of siding with the abortion industry.

And Juge Yeakel once again gave the abortion company exactly what it wanted. That set up the new ruling from the appeals court banning surgical abortions but allowing the abortion drug to continue and ultimately this followup decision.

Previously, the Fifth Circuit concluded “[t]hat settled rule allows the state to restrict, for example, one’s right to peaceably assemble, to publicly worship, to travel, and even to leave one’s home. The right to abortion is no exception.”

Attorneys for the state of Texas have been fighting in court to defend Abbott’s order. While Texas is fighting for patients, abortion businesses have been filing legal challenges to keep profiting from killing babies in abortions.

Abbott recently 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.”

Following the announcement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton essentially closed down abortion businesses, warning that they are subject to the executive order. 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.

After Judge Yeakel struck down the abortion part of the non-essential order, Paxton said he would appeal the ruling and fight to protect unborn children and coronavirus patients.

“I am deeply disappointed that the court ruled against the health and safety of Texans. My office is seeking prompt appellate review to ensure that medical professionals on the frontlines have the supplies and protective gear they desperately need. We will fight tirelessly against this politically-driven lawsuit to protect the health of Texans suffering from this COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

Before Yeakel issued his temporary restraining order, at least some Texas abortion businesses had closed temporarily or stopped doing abortions in response. Other abortion centers are waiting to see what the legal options are in response and may be continuing to kill babies in abortions.

Since the Fifth Circuit ruling, all abortion facilities have been closed in Texas. The ruling could save hundreds of unborn babies from abortions.

Meanwhile, pro-life organizations are working hard to support pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. Option Line reported a huge increase in calls recently on its 24-hour pregnancy help hotline. Run by Heartbeat International, the hotline connects mothers to local support services, including pregnancy resource centers that provide free diapers, pregnancy tests, clothes, counseling and other resources to moms and babies.

Embrace Grace, another pro-life outreach, is helping to organize online baby registries, virtual meetings, and other efforts to support pregnant and new moms who choose life. And Abby Johnson recently shared that her new ministry, Love Line, which provides financial and material support to help moms choose life for their babies, recently heard from a Texas mom who decided to keep her baby because of Abbott’s order.

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. A federal judge blocked the order and allowed abortion centers to keep killing babies but a federal appeals court reinstated the order. Now Planned Parenthood is asking the Supreme Court to allow killing babies in non-essential abortions. The 5th Circuit then ruled that surgical abortions, but not the abortion pill, can be banned.

Maryland: Abortion centers are included in the abortion order to stop non-essential procedures but they have been caught violating the order.

Louisiana: Abortion centers are included in the order to close and all three closed initially but at least one abortion center has been caught doing abortions.

Ohio: Abortion centers are included in the order to close but they are refusing to close. The health department is now investigating those violations. Meanwhile, a judge has blocked the state’s order banning abortions.

Mississippi: Abortion centers are included in the order and the state’s sole abortion business has closed.

Tennessee: Tennessee Governor Wants Abortion Businesses to Close, Killing Babies is Not “Essential” Medical Care. A judge eventually ruled against the order.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma Gov Orders Abortion Businesses to Close, Killing Babies is Not “Essential” Medical Care. The Planned Parenthood abortion business has sued to keep doing abortions and a federal appeals court allowed abortions to continue.

Kentucky: Attorney General Asks Health Department to Shut Down Abortion Clinics to Combat Coronavirus

Iowa: Governor Kim Reynolds Bans Killing Babies in Abortions to Save Medical Resources to Fight Coronavirus

Indiana: Governor Bans Killing Babies in Abortions to Save Medical Resources to Fight Coronavirus. At least one abortion business is refusing to comply.

Alabama: Alabama stopped abortions under its non-essential order until April 13th but a judge ruled the state can’t infringe on the so-called “right” to abortion. The judge also ruled that killing babies is somehow “essential” if abortion centers think so. Alabama is appealing the decision.

West Virginia: Gov Bans Killing Babies in Abortions to Save Medical Resources to Fight Coronavirus.

States Not Protecting Babies From Abortion

Kansas: Abortions are allowed in Kansas but a county in Wichita voted to close the late-term abortion clinic there.

Virginia: Christians Could be Jailed for 1 Year for Attending Church, But Abortion Clinics Can Keep Killing Babies

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.

Minnesota: Minnesota Issues Shelter at Home Order But People Can Still Go Kill Their Babies in Abortions

New Mexico: New Mexico Shuts Down Non-Essential Health Care, But Allows Abortion Clinics to Keep Killing Babies

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. Leading pro-life groups have heavily criticized her.

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. Pro-life groups have criticized Governor Tom Wolf for letting abortions continue.

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

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico Shuts Down Pregnancy Center Over Coronavirus, Lets Abortion Clinics Stay Open

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


Canada has banned every other non-essential medical procedure except abortion