AUSTIN, Texas (KETK/Texas Tribune) – Abortion providers announced in a press conference on Wednesday a lawsuit against Texas due to an executive order from Gov. Abbott that suspended the procedure during the coronavirus outbreak.
Abortion rights groups said they will be seeking a temporary injunction with a more permanent halt to follow later.
Abbott earlier this week stopped all unnecessary medical procedures to free up capacity and resources for healthcare providers. Attorney General Ken Paxton later stated that the order also applied to abortions.
Planned Parenthood President Alexis Johnson fired back almost immediately, saying that the move was an “exploitation” of the coronavirus crisis.
Sealy Massingill, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said in an interview with the Texas Tribune that clinics in Dallas and Austin have had to turn back nearly 150 appointments.
She also stressed that with abortions on a time-sensitive deadline already, this would create a “health crisis on top of a health crisis.”
Paxton responded to the lawsuit on Twitter, saying “It is 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.’”
So far, Texas and Ohio appear to be the only states nationally that have enacted bans on abortions in response to the coronavirus. Abortion rights groups in Ohio promised a similar lawsuit to the one in Texas.