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Monday, March 30, 2020

Federal Judge Slaps Down Texas Gov. Abbott's 'Emergency' Abortion Ban

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 5:33 PM

  • Lorie Shaull via Whole Women's Health
A federal judge has blocked a temporary ban on abortions Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered last week, purportedly to free up medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the ban — whatever its announced justification — violates a woman's access to abortion under the Constitution's 14th Amendment and causes "serious and irreparable harm" to patients, the Texas Tribune reports.

Yeakel granted a temporary restraining order as women's health groups seek to overturn the Republican governor's order. As part of the ruling, the judge set an April 13 date for deciding on a more lasting injunction.

"Regarding a woman's right to a pre-fetal-viability abortion, the Supreme Court has spoken clearly," Yeakel wrote. "There can be no outright ban on such a procedure."

During an online news conference last week, officials with Planned Parenthood South Texas said 60 of its clients were awaiting abortion care when Abbott issued the order.

“Access to reproductive health care is especially important during a public health crisis, and this ruling means Texans have access to much-needed care," said Tara Pohlmeyer, communications manager at Progress Texas. "Instead of trying to distract with ideology, state lawmakers like Gov. Greg Abbott and indicted-Attorney General Ken Paxton can now focus on prioritizing public health and safety measures for the state.”

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