Federal Court of Appeal ruling allows ‘medical abortion’ in Texas as court challenge continues

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The order of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest development in a lawsuit that bounces between federal courts in Texas, causing chaos on the ground for clinics and patients across the state. Monday’s ruling is temporary, but it could block or perhaps even avoid a potential Supreme Court showdown on the issue.
The controversy began last month when Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order that was interpreted as restricting access to abortion in the state, citing the need to preserve personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

Abortion right supporters challenged the scope of Abbott’s order in court, sparking a back-and-forth legal battle between a district court judge who initially blocked the implementing decree as it applied to access to abortion and a federal appeals court that twice overturned the district court. judge.

The latest salvo came on Monday night when the appeals court said it would reject a Texas request to block medical abortions, a procedure where a patient takes two pills, which is often performed early in a pregnancy. Abortion providers claim that no PPE is used for a medical abortion.

The court noted “ambiguity” in the current record as to whether medical abortions are covered by the governor’s order.

The court ruling means that a pending Supreme Court petition is unlikely to be effective, at least for now.

CNN has contacted the Texas attorney general’s office for comment on the decision.

Alexis McGill Johnson, Interim President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, called the move “very temporary relief for some Texans.”

“As people try to navigate their new realities in a pandemic – job loss, quarantine with abusive partners, or even having to take essential jobs – we need more access to health. abortion, no less. This fight is far from over, she said.

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Kehoe Young

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