Supreme Court voids rulings that upheld a Texas abortion ban during the pandemic

The Supreme Court has voided rulings that upheld a Texas abortion ban during the pandemic.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court decided to overturn two decisions from lower courts that sustained an executive order from Texas Gov., Greg Abbott (R), banning most abortions during the pandemic. The recent Supreme Court ruling states that, “The judgment is vacated and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case as moot”. This effectively erases the decision made by the appeals courts to uphold Gov. Abbott’s executive order.

In March of 2020, Gov. Abbott signed an executive order that, among other things, suspended most abortions in an attempt to conserve medical supplies for healthcare professionals dealing with Covid patients. The order was originally declared too broad by a federal judge in Texas, and the abortion ban was lifted. However, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the executive order and sided with republican officials in Texas, including state Attorney General Ken Paxton who said in a tweet that, “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’”.

Although the order was changed over the summer to allow abortions, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other pro-choice organizations filed a lawsuit to erase the decision from the books. As stated in their lawsuit, “The Texas Attorney General’s enforcement threats are a blatant effort to exploit a public health crisis to advance an extreme, anti-abortion agenda, without any benefit to the state in terms of preventing or resolving shortages of PPE or hospital capacity”. Despite opposition from republican officials and pro-life advocates, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling marks a win for Planned Parenthood and proponents of the pro-choice movement. Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Lawyering Project said in a statement, “important we took this procedural step to make sure bad case law was wiped from the books”, according to NBC News.




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