Appeals Court Finds Medical Abortions in Texas Non-Essential

Victor Westerkamp
By Victor Westerkamp
April 22, 2020COVID-19
Appeals Court Finds Medical Abortions in Texas Non-Essential
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New-Orleans said Monday Texas state was within its rights to ban chemical and other abortion procedures as it sought to slow the use of masks, gowns and other protective medical gear (Wally Gobetz/Flickr/Creative Commons [CC BY 2.0 (])

An appeals court decided that Texas lawmakers may deem chemical abortion a non-essential medical treatment, clearing the way for a ban on the practice under an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott during the CCP virus pandemic.

On Monday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that abortion providers could not sufficiently prove that a chemical abortion, whereby the patients do not undergo any internal physical examination, does not weigh on medical resources and equipment reserved for fighting COVID-19. They could not prove medical workers did not use latex gloves when treating their patients, making the practice forbidden under the governor’s executive order.

The same three-member panel of judges decided the week before that chemical abortions, whereby the client takes two pills and no internal investigation is involved, could not be ruled a medical procedure.

The appeals court on that occasion reinstated in part the ruling of a lower court in Austin on April 9, by a U.S. District Judge that went even further by stating that all methods of abortion up to 22 weeks in pregnancy could not be considered medical procedures and were thus exempted from the emergency ban.

In their opinion, the three-judge panel wrote, “[Abortion providers] argue that medication abortions are not covered by [the order] because neither dispensing medication nor ancillary diagnostic elements, such as a physical examination or ultrasound, qualify as ‘procedures.'”

The judges argued that, in case of medication-induced abortion, where the patient takes two pills in one day to induce abortion, it is not satisfactory substantiated that this should be classified as a medical procedure, neither that it would require the use of protective equipment or impede any medical procedures meant to battle the CCP virus, or novel coronavirus as it is commonly called, that causes COVID-19.

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