U.S. appeals court allows Texas abortion ban amid pandemic

A U.S. appeals court ruled that a Texas abortion ban is back in effect - at least for now.

The order limits women's ability to receive abortions - part of the state stopping non-urgent medical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tuesday (March 31) ruling came from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just a day after a federal judge blocked the Texas ban and called it unconstitutional.

Texas is one of five states that took steps to limit access to abortion and linked those steps to COVID-19.

The fast-moving litigation facing Texas could soon reach the conservative-majority Supreme Court.

The Fifth Circuit's green light on Tuesday lets state officials enforce the abortion limits while the legal merits of the ban are decided in the courts.

The order was announced last week by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican.

Paxton said the ruling would quote, "justly prioritize supplies and personal protective equipment" for doctors fighting the spread of COVID-19.

Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood tried to block the Texas policy on Monday (March 30) after clinics said they were forced to cancel hundreds of abortion appointments across the state.

They argue that the restrictions violate the rights to abortion recognized by the Supreme Court in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Alabama and Oklahoma all previously pursued abortion restrictions and are now cracking down during the pandemic.

Abortion rights advocates have criticized the actions as political opportunism.

Video Transcript

[CHEERING]

- A US appeals court ruled that a Texas abortion ban is back in effect, at least for now. The order limits women's ability to receive abortions, part of the state stopping non-urgent medical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic. The Tuesday ruling came from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just a day after a federal judge blocked the Texas ban and called it unconstitutional. Texas is one of five states that took steps to limit access to abortion and linked those steps to COVID-19.

The fast-moving litigation facing Texas could soon reach the conservative-majority Supreme Court. The Fifth Circuit's green light on Tuesday let state officials enforce the abortion limits while the legal merits of the ban are decided in the courts. The order was announced last week by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican. Paxton said the ruling would, quote, "justly prioritize supplies and personal-protective equipment for doctors fighting the spread of COVID-19."

Abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, tried to block the Texas policy on Monday, after clinics said they were forced to cancel hundreds of abortion appointments across the state. They argue that the restrictions violate the rights to abortion recognized by the Supreme Court in its 1973 Roe versus Wade decision. Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Alabama, and Oklahoma all previously pursued abortion restrictions and are now cracking down during the pandemic. Abortion-rights advocates have criticized the actions as political opportunism.

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