Texas Officials Halt Medically Unnecessary Abortions During Coronavirus

A procedure room is seen during a tour and event at Whole Woman’s Health of San Antonio,
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Monday that abortions should be be performed in the state unless the mother’s life is in danger, as part of the effort to preserve medical resources to help Texans who are infected with the coronavirus.

The number of deaths in the state from the virus numbered nine, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, on Tuesday.

Paxton’s announcement came one day after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered healthcare professionals and facilities to postpone all procedures that are not deemed “medically necessary.”

The order will be in place until April 21.

“No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers,” the statement from Paxton’s office reads. “Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.”

Violators of the order could face a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail.

The Texas Tribune reported on the development and the objection from the nation’s largest abortion provider, which, according to Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report, numbered 345,672:

Late last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sent letters to abortion clinics demanding they cease operations and instead send medical supplies to health care workers fighting the coronavirus.

Ohio abortion clinics pushed back. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region said in a statement that it would follow the state’s order on personal protective equipment but continue some procedures.

Planned Parenthood’s statement reads:

Planned Parenthood’s top priority is ensuring that every person can continue accessing essential health care, including abortion. Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to provide services that our patients depend on.

“Advocacy group Texas Freedom Network released a statement condemning the attorney general’s actions. Reproductive health care is essential, president Kathy Miller said,” the Tribune reported.

“There are many reasons women decide to have an abortion in the already limited time window state law allows, and a delay means denying them the constitutional right to make those decisions in a safe, timely manner with the help of their doctors,” Miller said in the statement.

Meanwhile, pro-lifers said these restrictions protect more than the unborn.

John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, said in the Tribune report that the abortion industry needs to focus on supporting essential healthcare providers at a critical time for the state.

“Continuing elective procedures is a public health threat,” Seago said. 

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