AUSTIN, Texas (FOX7) – Planned Parenthood joined other abortion providers Wednesday in suing Texas over moving to ban abortions during the coronavirus outbreak, including one clinic owner saying Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s weekend order has already resulted in more than 150 canceled appointments.
The federal lawsuit filed in Austin, Texas, is among the most high-profile challenges to a government response to the coronavirus pandemic. Abortion providers accused Republican leaders in Texas of exploiting the pandemic for politics after Abbott on Sunday halted nonessential surgeries in order to free up medical supplies to fight COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
That was followed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, saying the order banned “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”
The order in Texas is in effect until at least April 21.
“Abortion is essential healthcare, and it is a time-sensitive service,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health. She said the 150-plus cancellations across her three clinics in Texas left some women “begging for the abortions they needed.”
Hours before the lawsuit was filed, Paxton said in an interview with a conservative group called Texas Values that the state would be watching all medical procedures and that any unnecessary procedures needed to be stopped, which he said included abortion.
In a statement released Wednesday night, Paxton called it “unconscionable that abortion providers are fighting against the health of Texans and withholding desperately needed supplies and personal protective equipment in favor of a procedure that they refer to as a ‘choice.’
“My office will tirelessly defend Governor Abbott’s Order to ensure that necessary supplies reach the medical professionals combating this national health crisis,” the attorney general said.