Planned Parenthood asks Supreme Court to ease Texas abortion restrictions during COVID-19 outbreak

The abortion provider was joined in the petition by several other pro-choice groups.

Updated: April 11, 2020 - 8:53pm

Several pro-choice groups including Planned Parenthood are petitioning the Supreme Court to roll back restrictions on abortion clinics in the state of Texas put in place during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Texas last month joined several other states in putting a temporary halt on elective surgeries in order to ensure enough medical resources were available for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients. Among the procedures temporarily halted by the order were abortions, according to the state's Attorney General Ken Paxton. 

A Texas district court initially ruled that some abortions could still be obtained under the state policy, but Friday a federal appeals court reversed that ruling, upholding Paxton's interpretation of the executive order.

The court ruled that states "may implement emergency measures that curtail constitutional rights" provided it can reasonably justify those orders given the circumstances. 

In a statement regarding the appeal to the Supreme Court,  Planned Parenthood acting President and CEO Alexis McGill said obtaining abortions is "a matter of health care, not political opinion."

"Now is the time to be making abortion more accessible, not less. Medical professionals everywhere are being trusted to make necessary but difficult decisions about if and when to treat patients. Doctors who provide abortions are asking to do the same — because they, not politicians, know what’s best for their patients," she said. 

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyering Project were co-filers in the case. 

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