April 9, 2020 – Today, a federal district court granted a second temporary restraining order against Gov. Abbott’s COVID-19 order, which the State threatened to enforce as a ban on time-sensitive abortion services. Under this latest order, abortion providers — represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Lawyering Project — may provide medication abortion as well as abortion procedures for patients who would be unable to access abortion due to their gestational age on April 22 (the day after Gov. Abbott’s executive order is set to expire).
This comes two days after the 5th Circuit used a rare procedural mechanism to reverse the first emergency restraining order granted to the Texas abortion providers — Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, Planned Parenthood Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, Planned Parenthood South Texas Surgical Center, Whole Woman’s Health, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, and Austin Women’s Health Center. As a result of the governor’s order and the 5th Circuit’s rulings, the providers have been forced to turn hundreds of patients away while the legal battle continues.
After just a few weeks, the enforcement of Abbott’s order has already had dramatic effects on patients’ lives, with some being forced to travel hundreds of miles in a pandemic to access basic and essential health care.
Statement of Dyana Limon-Mercado, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
“Some patients in Texas will now be able to seek their constitutionally-protected right to abortion care. But, it remains that Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are exploiting a global health crisis to further their extremist political agenda to block virtually all abortion access. Gov. Abbott’s actions fly directly in the face of medical experts, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and show the disregard our state’s leadership has for governing in the best interest of public health. Meanwhile, women’s lives and well-being hang in the balance. Texas often leads the way when it comes to restricting people’s rights to reproductive health care, and this is no more apparent than right now as communities struggle to deal with the hardships of COVID-19 and face increased burdens to access essential, time-sensitive health care. Rest assured, Planned Parenthood will continue fighting for its patients, no matter what.”
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.