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Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton exploit pandemic to score political points with anti-choice extremists

March 31, 2020 - Today, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals utilized extraordinary measures to allow Gov. Greg Abbott to ban essential, time-sensitive abortion procedures under his COVID-19 executive order. The court issued its stay before the abortion providers — represented by Center for Reproductive Rights, the Lawyering Project, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America — could even respond to arguments made to the court late yesterday by Gov. Abbott’s administration. Today’s order stays Monday’s temporary restraining order granted by a federal district court. This means Texans will will not be able to access abortion services for the time being. 

The plaintiffs will next ask the Fifth Circuit not to stay the temporary restraining order and to keep it in place as the district court planned, until the district court can hold a hearing on the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction on April 13. 

Statement of Dyana Limon-Mercado, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes 

“Texans want real leadership during this public health crisis, but opportunistic politicians like Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are using the pandemic to score political points at the expense of people’s health and safety. The governor’s Executive Order — and the attorney general’s subsequent statement on excluding abortion from essential health care — do not in any way protect public health, but, instead, continue extremely dangerous and politically-motivated attacks on access to abortion and reproductive health care in our state.

“Texans — especially low-income people, women, and women of color — already face numerous challenges when it comes to accessing their constitutional right to abortion and this attempt to ban abortions, while facing the hardships presented by COVID-19, is politics in its most despicable form. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting for its patients and health centers, no matter how many times extremist politicians try to take away our rights.”  


Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.