5th Circuit Halts Elective Abortions in Texas Pending Appeal

On Monday afternoon, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed temporary enforcement of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order stopping elective procedures, including abortions, pending appeal.

Per the order, any abortion “not medically necessary to preserve the life or health” of the patient must be halted as part of the state’s directive suspending “non-essential” medical procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report in The Hill, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay on a ruling from a lower court that had blocked Texas from enforcing the ban. State officials argue the ban is intended to conserve medical supplies for health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. But abortion rights advocates say states are using the pandemic as an excuse to block access, the report said.

A three-member panel of the appeals court ruled the order from the lower court be stayed until an appeal from Texas is considered. Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups filed suit against Texas last week, and U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked Texas from enforcing the ban, writing it is likely unconstitutional.