A pair of federal judges have blocked orders in Texas, Alabama, and Ohio that temporarily restricted abortions as part of their respective bans on non-essential surgeries and procedures during the coronavirus pandemic — a move intended to preserve much-needed medical supplies.
Even amid the temporary ban on abortion in Texas, Faithwire reported on one clinic that was allegedly carrying out chemical terminations. And last week, several groups — including Planned Parenthood — filed a lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for implementing the restriction.
On Monday, though, two judges sided with the abortion providers, deciding it is medically essential to allow women the option to terminate their pregnancies during the pandemic, claiming a freeze on abortion would cause too much harm to those seeking the procedure.
“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,” wrote U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel.
Yeakel went on to argue that restricting abortion — as has been done with most other medical procedures — during a worldwide health crisis is in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which granted legal cover for abortion nationwide.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, which participated in the lawsuit against Abbott, praised the judges’ decision, describing abortion as “essential healthcare.”
“It’s a time-sensitive service, especially during a public health crisis,” she told The Hill. “Many people are already financially insecure and futures are uncertain. We applaud today’s ruling, which will allow us to do what we do best, provide safe and compassionate abortion care to those who need it.”