Texas to allow abortions amid pandemic after court fight

By Nate Raymond and Andrew Chung (Reuters) - Texas will allow abortions to resume following a legal battle over whether the Republican-governed state could enact a near-total ban on the procedure to preserve supplies of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic. The state in a filing late on Wednesday told a federal judge in Austin, Texas, that a new executive order by Republican Governor Greg Abbott regarding elective medical procedures provided exemptions that would allow abortions to not be postponed.

Reuters April 24, 2020 00:12:27 IST
Texas to allow abortions amid pandemic after court fight

Texas to allow abortions amid pandemic after court fight

By Nate Raymond and Andrew Chung

(Reuters) - Texas will allow abortions to resume following a legal battle over whether the Republican-governed state could enact a near-total ban on the procedure to preserve supplies of personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state in a filing late on Wednesday told a federal judge in Austin, Texas, that a new executive order by Republican Governor Greg Abbott regarding elective medical procedures provided exemptions that would allow abortions to not be postponed.

The order allows healthcare facilities to resume elective medical procedures if they agree to reserve hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients and not request personal protective equipment from public sources during the coronavirus crisis.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office said because the abortion providers challenging an earlier, stricter order by Abbott that expired on Tuesday have certified their compliance with the exemptions, there "is no case or controversy remaining."

The abortion providers included Whole Woman's Health and Planned Parenthood, which in an email on Thursday said the new order "allows patients - once again - to get an abortion in the state."

Texas is one of several conservative states that have sought limits on abortion through broad restrictions on non-emergency procedures aimed at freeing up medical resources to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

In late March, Abbott issued an executive order aimed at addressing concerns about hospital capacity during the coronavirus pandemic by prohibiting medical procedures not immediately necessary.

Paxton subsequently announced that he interpreted the order as applying to abortion providers as well and said they should postpone any abortions that are not necessary to preserve a woman's life and health.

In a lawsuit, Planned Parenthood clinic operators and other abortion providers argued that the abortion ban would run contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade that women have a constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

A federal judge initially blocked the state from enforcing the near-total ban on surgical and medication-induced abortions, but a federal appeals court reversed that ruling.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin then narrowed his temporary restraining order, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday overturned his decision to allow medication-induced abortions to proceed.

The court at that time left in place a portion of Yeakel's decision that prevented the state from banning surgical abortions for women who would be past the legal limit for the procedure by the time Abbott's order expired.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston and Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.