Texas Clinics Are Providing Abortions Again After Statewide Order Expires

Apr 22, 2020

Clinics that provide abortions have resumed providing the procedure after a state ban on nonessential medical procedures expired.

Texas officials said abortions were included in Gov. Greg Abbott's order last month banning nonessential medical procedures to preserve resources during the coronavirus pandemic. The order expired at midnight.

On Friday, the governor announced he was issuing a new order, loosening restrictions on some surgeries. He said whether abortions could proceed would be up to the courts.

Abortion providers now say they can go back to seeing patients.

Sarah Wheat, the chief external affairs officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas in Austin, said the clinics are operating “like every other licensed health care facility” in the state.

"Our patients ... have really been put in an incredibly stressful, challenging situation not being able to access time-sensitive abortion appointments,” Wheat said. "We are reaching back out to those patients and trying to get them scheduled so they can come in for the appointment that they need.”

Wheat said Planned Parenthood officials have read the new order closely and are making sure they are in compliance with it.

For now, a legal challenge to the state’s ban is still working its way through the courts. Abortion providers sued the state, arguing abortions are essential and time-sensitive medical procedures that should never have been banned.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating to see how the governor has used this pandemic for political goals,” Wheat said.

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