Human Rights

Appeals Court: Texas Can Ban Abortions Amid Pandemic

This overrules a previous decision that said abortions could be performed while the ban's legality was determined in the courts.

Appeals Court: Texas Can Ban Abortions Amid Pandemic
Rick Bowmer / AP

An appeals court is allowing Texas to limit abortions as part of its response to the coronavirus.

A three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to allow the ban on Tuesday. This overruled a federal judge who issued a temporary restraining order on the block Monday, allowing abortions to continue while the ban is challenged in the coming weeks.

Texas deemed abortions not "medically necessary", which meant the procedure was put on hold to help preserve medical equipment for coronavirus treatment. 

But pro-abortion rights groups like Planned Parenthood sued, saying the orders are unrealistic because making women wait weeks or months to get an abortion could effectively bar them from getting one at all.

Judges issued similar restraining orders against abortion bans in Ohio and Alabama while lawsuits play out. Iowa, Mississippi and Oklahoma have all issued similar stops on the procedure.