Texas Judge ‘Defies’ Appeals Court, Backs Planned Parenthood Plea to Lift Ban on Some Abortions During Pandemic

Planned Parenthood, Care No Matter What
Jeffrey Haderthauer/AP Photos

Planned Parenthood and its allies in the abortion industry once again received the backing of Judge Lee Yeakel of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, who rebuked Texas officials for including abortions as banned elective procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, Yeakel, a George W. Bush appointee, said he was allowing some abortions to continue after his initial ruling was reversed by a 2-1 decision of a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

Responding to Yeakel’s decision Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released the following statement:

The issuance of a second temporary restraining order defies the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and demonstrates a lack of respect for the rule of law. Just two days ago, the Fifth Circuit dissolved the district court’s previous restraining order because it failed to apply settled law to the facts. We will once again ask the Fifth Circuit to uphold Governor Abbott’s decision to stop all elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 crisis.

Judge Kyle Duncan of the Fifth Circuit said Yeakel had erred in his original decision, citing precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Duncan wrote that “individual rights secured by the Constitution do not disappear during a public health crisis, but … Rights could be reasonably restricted during those times.”

“The district court’s result was patently wrong,” Duncan continued. “[T]he district court usurped the state’s authority to craft emergency health measures.”

Reuters reported that “within hours” of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, the abortion lobby’s attorneys “returned to Yeakel’s court with a more narrow request that he allow medication abortions and procedural abortions in some situations.”

Paxton told CBS News he will defend Abbott’s executive order banning most abortions during the coronavirus crisis to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

“My guess is it’ll go to the Supreme Court either way,” the attorney general said. “We’ll either appeal it or Planned Parenthood will appeal it, so my guess is that’s where it ends up.”

Abbott’s executive order bans many elective procedures, including abortions, in order to preserve scarce personal protective equipment for healthcare workers treating victims of the infection caused by the coronavirus.

When the CBS reporter suggested abortion is different because it is “protected by the Constitution,” Paxton replied:

The governor’s order deals with all elective procedures, so it wasn’t like he singled out abortion services, he didn’t single out anybody. This covers every single elective service. We’re in a period of crisis and the governor is operating under different powers than he normally would operate under during normal times.

When the reporter said, “Many people don’t consider it [abortion] elective,” Paxton added:

They always claimed it was a choice. They’re the ones who have always said that it is elective, so by their very own definitions, the way they phrase their own terminology and definition, it’s always been a choice and today is no different. They’ve been claiming that for years and years and years. They’ve claimed that this is all about choice, so clearly there is a lot of election involved in this and it is a choice and today’s no different.

The narrative that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are being singled out was challenged by Dr. Christina Francis, chair of the board of the American Association of Prolife OB/GYN’s (AAPLOG).

Francis recently told Breitbart News:

Elective surgeries and procedures across the country are being postponed indefinitely – and this even includes some surgeries for cancer, joint replacements in people living with debilitating pain, life transforming reconstructive surgeries, and the list goes on and on.

Francis remarked that abortion activists such as Alexis McGill Johnson, acting CEO of Planned Parenthood, are daring “to assert that an elective procedure that ends the life of one human being and harms the other is more essential than these (not to mention the fact that women are being packed into Planned Parenthood waiting rooms in direct defiance of social distancing orders)?”

She added that Planned Parenthood, which profits from abortions, “has proven time and time again that its sole focus is abortion, not women’s healthcare.”

Francis explained many of Planned Parenthood clinics have shut down all services except abortions during the pandemic.

“If they were truly concerned about women’s health, they would be providing those other services and not doing abortions,” she said. “Abortion proponents continuously assert that abortion is essential women’s healthcare, when, in fact, it is neither essential nor healthcare.”

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