Appeals court temporarily allows chemical abortions in Texas

By Texas Right to Life

Late Monday night, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked Texas from banning chemical abortions as an effort to conserve medical supplies for the COVID-19 battle.  

This ruling effectively allows chemical abortions to be committed in Texas until the appellate court has enough time to review the parties’ arguments and make a decision on the merits of the case.  Surgical abortions, however, are still banned in Gov. Greg Abbott’s coronavirus executive order. 

The Fifth Circuit cited “ambiguity in the record” leading to their decision not to grant a stay, indicating that the State’s argument that chemical abortions fall under the definition of an elective procedure did not meet the high standards necessary for the appellate court to make a quick decision to hold the lower court’s order. 

According to data from 2017, 31.6% of preborn children who fall victim to abortion in Texas are killed through chemical abortions, totaling over 17,000 deaths per year.

Background 

As NRL News Today has reported, the case has careened back and forth numerous times over the past week. The state of Texas would challenge the original decision by pro-abortion U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel; be upheld; Yeakel would modify his original blanket rejection; pro-abortion groups (Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Lawyering Project) would challenge; and the appeals court would fine-tune its decision.

As of now, chemical abortions are allowed in Texas as are abortions in those cases where a delay “would place the pregnancy beyond the 22-week state cutoff for abortions,” as the Texas Tribune reported.

Left up in the air for now is last weekend’s emergency appeal filed with the Supreme Court by the three organizations to allow them to be exempted from Gov. Abbott’s March 22 Executive Order.