Federal judge blocks Texas' temporary prohibition of abortions due to COVID-19

Talk 1370 Newsroom
March 30, 2020 - 5:23 pm

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Texas' prohibition on abortions as a part of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been blocked by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel granted a temporary restraining order on Monday, barring the state from pursuing charges against abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood and other women's rights advocates brought a lawsuit challenging an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott that banned all procedures and surgeries deemed not medically necessary, in an effort to increase hospital beds and conserve medical equipment for the fight against COVID-19.

A day later, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion that Abbott's order applied to abortion clinics, unless the woman's life or health were in danger.

"Regarding a woman’s right to a pre-fetal-viability abortion, the Supreme Court has spoken clearly," Yeakel wrote in his ruling. "There can be no outright ban on such a procedure."

Both sides are scheduled to return to the matter on April 13 - the date the temporary restraining order will expire - when Yeakel could enter a permanent injunction against the state.

A spokesman for Paxton said the state is exploring its options.

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