facebook linkedin twitter

Judges Block Abortion Bans in Three States

March 31, 2020 by Dan McCue
Abortion rights advocates demonstrate outside the Supreme Court building. March 4, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Federal judges in three states blocked efforts to shutter abortion providers during the coronavirus outbreak.

In Texas, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel held that the Supreme Court has already “spoken clearly” on a woman’s right to abortion and therefore Texas was acting unlawfully when it attempted to ban all abortions in the state through April 21.

Over the weekend, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an order blocking nonessential surgeries in order to free up medical supplies to fight COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

That was followed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, saying the order banned “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers sued, accusing the state’s Republican leaders of exploiting the pandemic for their own political ends.

Yeakel agreed, saying in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, “there can be no outright ban on such a procedure.”

Paxton has already appealed the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans, arguing, “Abortion providers who refuse to follow state law are demonstrating a clear disregard for Texans suffering from this medical crisis.

“For years, abortion has been touted as a ‘choice’ by the same groups now attempting to claim that it is an essential procedure,” Paxton said in a written statement. “All Texans must work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. My office will continue to defend Governor Abbott’s order to ensure that supplies and personal protective gear reach the hardworking medical professionals who need it the most during this health crisis.” 

In Alabama, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order blocking a ban similar to the one in Texas, finding the state’s concerns about conserving medical equipment during the pandemic, does not “outweigh the serious, and, in some cases, permanent, harms imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to privacy.”

Thompson said his restraining order will stay in effect through April 13 while he considers additional arguments.

Alabama closed many nonessential businesses with a state health order, effective Saturday. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said earlier Monday the state would not offer a “blanket exemption” to abortion clinics.

Lastly, in Ohio, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett wrote that an Ohio Department of Health’s order halting nonessential procedures “likely places an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to choose a pre-viability abortion, and thus violates her right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

He added that “its enforcement would, per se, inflict irreparable harm.”

The ruling instructed clinics to determine on a case-by-case basis if an abortion can be delayed to maximize resources — such as preserving personal protective equipment — needed to fight the coronavirus. If the abortion is deemed necessary and can’t be delayed, it’s declared legally essential.

Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics that sued last year to try to thwart a law that bans most abortions after a first detectable fetal heartbeat are asking a court to speed up its decision in that case and to consider a recent coronavirus order by the state health director.

In filings Monday, the groups’ attorneys argued “the state is again attempting to ban abortions” through Dr. Amy Acton’s directive barring all “non-essential” procedures and Attorney General Dave Yost’s threats that it will be rigidly enforced. 

Law

September 17, 2021
by Dan McCue
Authorities Say They’re Ready, Come What May, for Saturday’s J6 Rally

WASHINGTON -- Empty streets, a large police presence and a smattering of tourists taking photographs of the newly installed security... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Empty streets, a large police presence and a smattering of tourists taking photographs of the newly installed security fence lent a somber air to Capitol Hill Friday as preparations continued for Saturday’s J6 rally. It was a reminder, despite the remaining summer foliage, of... Read More

September 13, 2021
by Dan McCue
Fencing Surrounding Capitol to Return Ahead of Sept. 18 Rally

The head of the U.S. Capitol Police confirmed on Monday that fencing surrounding the U.S. Capitol in the wake of... Read More

The head of the U.S. Capitol Police confirmed on Monday that fencing surrounding the U.S. Capitol in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege on the building will return ahead of a follow up rally by Trump supporters on Sept. 18. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger... Read More

September 10, 2021
by Victoria Turner
Federalist Society Event Focuses on Competition and Antitrust Issues

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden’s controversial executive order on competition was the topic being discussed at a Federalist Society event... Read More

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden’s controversial executive order on competition was the topic being discussed at a Federalist Society event held Thursday.  The July 9 Executive Order 14036 entitled, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” seeks to address competition issues and reform the antitrust laws governing... Read More

September 9, 2021
by Dan McCue
Justice Department Sues to Block Texas Abortion Law

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued the state of Texas over a newly enacted law that prohibits... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued the state of Texas over a newly enacted law that prohibits nearly all abortions in the state. The move came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the legislation, which bans all abortions after... Read More

September 8, 2021
by Dan McCue
New, Pro Bono Legal Defense Network Hopes to Aid Harried Election Officials

The temptation is to liken them to the undeterable posse that pursed Robert Redford and Paul Newman to the end... Read More

The temptation is to liken them to the undeterable posse that pursed Robert Redford and Paul Newman to the end of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” “Who are those guys?” Butch asks so often toward the closing credits of the 1969 film that it becomes... Read More

Plea And a Trial Loom in Next Month for Giuliani Associates

NEW YORK (AP) — The October illegal campaign contribution trial of an associate of Rudy Giuliani — and a guilty... Read More

NEW YORK (AP) — The October illegal campaign contribution trial of an associate of Rudy Giuliani — and a guilty plea set to occur this week by a second associate — puts a spotlight on Giuliani as a criminal probe of the former mayor and his... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top