AUSTIN, Texas — Planned Parenthood and a number of other abortion providers have filed suit against the State of Texas to challenge the interpretation of an order postponing “all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary.” The abortion groups complain that they have been “forced to turn away patients” and that the coronavirus crisis is being used “to advance an extreme anti-abortion agenda.”
“At a minimum, those patients will not be able to obtain an abortion for weeks or even months, given that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to last far beyond the order’s stated expiration date,” the legal filing states. “Some will not be able to access abortion at all and will be forced to carry pregnancies to term.”
It argues that abortive mothers’ “constitutional right” to a pre-viability abortion is being violated and that delivery of the child will be much more costly to the women than abortion.
“[F]orcing them to continue their pregnancies will in fact impose far greater strains on an already-taxed healthcare system, as prenatal care and delivery involve much greater exhaustion of hospital health care services and PPE than abortions,” the complaint asserts. “All will be delayed in getting the abortion care they are seeking, with attendant risks to their health, wellbeing, and economic security.”
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment rates are soaring, meaning that families are losing not only their income but in many cases their employer-provided health insurance; the medical and economic hardships of pregnancy and childrearing, for many families, is thus more acute now than ever,” it also states.
“[C]arrying an unwanted pregnancy burdens patients physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially.”
As previously reported, on Saturday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order instructing medical facilities to “postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death …”
Attorney General Ken Paxton specifically noted in a statement on Monday that the order includes abortion facilities, but excepting “life or health of the mother” cases. He advised that those who violate the order can face penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days jail time.
“We must work together as Texans to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our health care professionals and facilities have all the resources they need to fight the virus at this time,” Paxton said. “No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers. Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.”
Planned Parenthood vowed to sue, posting to social media on Wednesday, “Dear Texas, you can’t use a pandemic as an excuse to block access to abortion. See you in court.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights, which assisted with the lawsuit, also stated in a press release, “Abortion care is time-sensitive and essential health care that has a profound impact on a person’s health and life, which is why it is protected as a constitutional right. Texas is abusing the state’s emergency powers and we are filing suit today to stop it.”
However, Paxton stood his ground, writing on Twitter, “It is unconscionable that abortion providers are fighting against the health of Texans and withholding desperately needed supplies and personal protective equipment in favor of a procedure that they refer to as a ‘choice.’”
According to reports from those who minister outside abortion facilities, such locations have continued to operate despite the order, and many facilities across the United States have not closed in the midst of the COVID pandemic, asserting that orders regarding non-essential businesses do not apply to them as abortion is essential.
In speaking on the issue of abortion, the late author and speaker Francis Schaeffer once lamented that society no longer views its fellow man as being made in the image of God, and has consequently devalued both young and old, having no issue with ending life.
“The intrinsic value of the human life is founded upon the Judeo-Christian concept that man is unique because he is made in the image of God, and not because he is well, strong, a consumer, a sex object or any other thing,” he said.
“[W]hatever compassion there has ever been, it is rooted in the fact that our culture knows that man is unique, [and] is made in the image of God. Take it away, and I just say gently, the stopper is out of the bathtub for all human life.”
The late preacher Lee Roy Shelton similarly wrote in “The Crimes of Our Times,” “The revelation of God made to man out of His blessed Word proves that He has purposes for every individual and for the [human] race, stretching far beyond the present moment or manifestation; and to terminate a single life is to set yourselves up as wiser and superior to God.”
“The immensity of the issues of death is so great that there can be no sin against humanity, and accordingly, against God, greater than that of taking a human life.”
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