Texas moves to halt abortions during coronavirus outbreak

Texas moves to halt abortions during coronavirus outbreak
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Texas’s attorney general said Monday health care providers can no longer perform surgical abortions because medical resources should be preserved for coronavirus patients.

Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said abortion providers are subject to an executive order issued over the weekend requiring health care facilities to postpone all surgeries that aren’t “immediately medically necessary.”

“No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers,” Paxton said in a statement Monday.

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“Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Sunday requiring all health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not needed to save the life of a patient or correct a serious medical condition.

The directive is intended to free up beds in hospitals and conserve gowns, gloves and masks that are needed to protect health workers but are in short supply all around the world.

Paxton said Monday that order includes abortion, though only 4 percent of abortions are performed in hospitals in the U.S., according to the Abortion Care Network.

“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.

Ohio’s attorney general issued similar warnings to two abortion providers Friday, ordering them to stop “non-essential” procedures that require equipment such as surgical masks.

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The state’s health department ordered the suspension of all “nonessential medical procedures and elective surgeries Wednesday.

"You and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions. Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient," Attorney General Dave Yost (R) wrote in the letter, according to CBS.

However, Planned Parenthood, one of the abortion providers that received the letter, said it will continue to provide abortions because it is an “essential” procedure.  It also noted it is complying with the state's rules on preserving personal protective equipment for health workers.