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U.S.Judges Block 3 States From Limiting Abortions During Pandemic

Bans Put in Place

Federal judges in Texas, Ohio, and Alabama have blocked restrictions that were set on abortions after the states deemed the procedure nonessential during the coronavirus health crisis. 
Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to postpone all medical procedures that are not immediately necessary in an effort to free up hospital space and equipment for COVID-19 treatment. 
statement from the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, released the following day, specified that this included “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”  Failure to comply with the order could have led to penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days in jail.
Similar mandates were issued by Ohio and Alabama officials earlier this month. Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost issued a letter to several clinics ordering them to temporarily stop providing abortions as well. In Alabama, an order was issued broadly limiting medical procedures during the outbreak. The Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office suggested abortion clinics could face prosecution under this order. 
Hundreds of abortion appointments across these states were canceled following these bans, and legal action was swiftly taken. 
The lawsuit in Texas was filed last week by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, representing abortion providers in the state.
On Monday, abortion rights groups and providers — including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — filed lawsuits against officials in Ohio and Alabama to block coronavirus-related abortion bans. 
Similar lawsuits were filed in Iowa and Oklahoma on Monday. 

Abortion Bans Deemed Unconstitutional 

Federal judges sided with the plaintiffs in the Texas, Ohio, and Alabama lawsuits on Monday when they lifted the temporary abortion restrictions in each state. 
Texas came first, when District Court Judge Lee Yeakel granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the ban from affecting abortion clinics across the state. 
“The attorney general’s interpretation of the Executive Order prevents Texas women from exercising what the Supreme Court has declared is their fundamental constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable,” Yeakel wrote.
Yeakel added he would “not speculate on whether the Supreme Court included a silent ‘except-in-a-national-emergency clause'” in its previous abortion rulings.
Yeakel’s order expires on April 13, when he has a hearing scheduled on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.
Later Monday night, Texas Attorney General Paxton said his office would appeal the ruling “to ensure that medical professionals on the frontlines have the supplies and protective gear they desperately need.”
According to a press release Tuesday, Paxton followed through on his word and filed for “immediate appellate review” in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Also on Monday, in Ohio, District Court Judge Michael Barrett sided with abortion rights groups and issued a two-week temporary restraining order on the state’s ban. 
Barrett wrote an abortion ban would cause “irreparable harm” that does not outweigh the state’s reasoning for the order. 
In a statement, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the Health Department’s order was to “save lives in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency” and he will be taking action to achieve that goal, “be it an emergency appeal, a trial on the preliminary injunction, a more specifically drawn order or other remedy.”
Then in Alabama, District Court Judge Myron Thompson ordered the suspension of the state’s ban on abortion until April 13.
“Because Alabama law imposes time limits on when women can obtain abortions, the March 27 order is likely to fully prevent some women from exercising their right to obtain an abortion,” Thompson wrote Monday. 
“And for those women who, despite the mandatory postponement, are able to vindicate their right, the required delay may pose an undue burden that is not justified by the State’s purported rationales,” Thompson added.
Dr. Yashica Robinson, an Alabama OB/ob-gyn and plaintiff in the case, told CNN she was “thrilled” by the decision and criticized the state order as “an attempt to attack access to essential health care under the guise of pandemic response.”
Plaintiffs in the Ohio and Texas cases had similar joyous reactions. 
Chrisse France, the executive director of one of the clinics that received a letter from Yost’s office, told CNN she was “relieved” by the ruling. 
“Everyone deserves to have access to safe, timely care and a delay of only a few weeks can make abortion completely inaccessible,” France said. 
“This ruling sends a message to other states: Using this pandemic to ban abortion access is unconstitutional,” Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement after the Texas ruling was announced.
Other states, including Kentucky and Mississippi, are also still considering abortions as nonessential procedures during the coronavirus crisis. 

1 comment:

  1. of course, the judges have a fedish for killing the unborn babies

    ReplyDelete