Texas Gets Green Light to Ban Abortions During Pandemic, Court Rules
State of Texas gets pro-life backing from federal appeals court
The State of Texas has won its case in the federal appeals court after the three-judge panel ruled in favor of allowing a ban on abortions to stand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans ruled Tuesday that Texas's enforcement of a ban on most abortions during the coronavirus crisis can stand.
The federal court overturned the decision of a lower court and affirmed the state’s right to ban elective abortions during the Chinese virus pandemic.
Gov. Greg Abbott and governors of other states have banned elective medical procedures, including abortions.
The move seeks to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers caring for victims of COVID-19 infection.
Judge Kyle Duncan, a Donald Trump appointee, cited precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court in his decision, The Texas Tribune reported.
"Individual rights secured by the Constitution do not disappear during a public health crisis, but … Rights could be reasonably restricted during those times," Duncan wrote.
When faced with a society-threatening epidemic, a state may implement emergency measures that curtail constitutional rights so long as the measures have at least some “real or substantial relation” to the public health crisis and are not “beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law.”
The Fifth Circuit said U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who blocked the Texas ban stating, “before fetal viability outside the womb, a state has no interest sufficient to justify an outright ban on abortions,” had erred in his order.
According to the Tribune, Duncan said Yeakel’s order “[bestowed] on abortion providers a blanket exemption from a generally-applicable emergency public health measure.”
Duncan said Yeakel had represented Abbott’s order as a total ban on abortions, according to Breitbart.
“Properly understood,” he wrote, the governor’s executive order is a “temporary postponement” of many procedures, such as colonoscopies.
Abortion is essential, time-sensitive, and it CANNOT wait for a pandemic to pass. Instead of playing politics during a pandemic, @GovAbbott *should* be focusing on the health care needs of his constituents.— Alexis McGill Johnson (@alexismcgill) April 7, 2020
We won’t let this injustice stand. Our patients deserve better. https://t.co/0atmfbRJ0x
Anti-choice officials in Texas are exploiting the #COVID19 crisis, prioritizing ideology over science to push their extreme agenda of banning abortion and controlling women.— NARAL (@NARAL) April 7, 2020
But this isn't over. Abortion is essential healthcare. https://t.co/1rSajI7kga
Members of the abortion industry condemned the Fifth Circuit’s decision and vowed to take further legal action.