On Tuesday, March 31, a United States appeals court ruled to allow Texas to continue enforcing limits on people’s ability to obtain safe and legal abortions due to the state’s policy to postpone “non-essential” procedures in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a New York Times release by Reuters, “Texas and other states that previously pursued abortion restrictions have sought to crack down on abortion availability during the pandemic” which has prompted abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Health to sue to block the policies “after clinics said they were forced to cancel hundreds of appointments for abortions across the state.

In response to the 5th Circuit court’s decision, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin, TX ruled that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s actions to block abortion access “prevents Texas women from exercising what the Supreme Court has declared is their fundamental constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable.” And according to Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, “the 5th Circuit is escalating the fear and confusion women seeking abortion in Texas are already experiencing.”

Sources: The New York Times 3/31; Reuters 3/31

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