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Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Abortion Ban During Wuhan Virus Shutdown

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Texas are suing the state, claiming providing abortions is an essential, not elective, procedure.


Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers filed a lawsuit against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday after the Lone Star State deemed abortions a nonessential medical procedure during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the state’s plan to conserve medical supplies and space in emergency rooms, Abbott directed health care providers to halt all elective surgeries and medical procedures that aren’t immediately necessary, including abortions.

Alexis McGill Johnson, the acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, claimed abortion is an “essential, time-sensitive medical service that cannot be delayed.”

“Gov. Abbott and anti-abortion activists nationwide are forcing a legal and political fight in the middle of a public health crisis,” she said.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates three abortion facilities in Texas, told The Hill her organization had to cancel 150 appointments this week after the Texas mandate came down.

As states work to ensure their ICUs and ERs can handle a surge of coronavirus cases, the goal of temporarily banning abortion is to prevent women from having to visit an overflowing and contagious ER in the case of facing a botched surgical or chemical abortion. Common side effects of non-surgical or chemical abortions are incomplete abortions, hemorrhaging, and infection, for which women, especially poor women, ultimately seek treatment in emergency rooms. Some studies have shown that as many as 5 to 7 percent of all women obtaining chemical abortions will require surgical procedures.

Planned Parenthood’s facilities have stopped providing surgical and chemical abortions in Texas, but not in Ohio, where a similar directive was given to all health care providers. The Ohio Department of Health is also seeking to preserve protective gear for medical personnel fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio said its doors would remain open as it continues to conduct surgical abortions, despite the fact that abortion was deemed a nonessential procedure.

Abortion activists have promised to pursue legislative action in Ohio as well.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, said running to the courts for special treatment is nothing new for the abortion industry.

“Suing to carry out abortions during a time of national emergency, when so many Americans are making heroic sacrifices, is the latest example of their extreme disregard for women’s health and safety and for the common good,” she said.