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March 3 Parental Notification Repeal Update

photo credit:  Jim Bowen / Flickr HB1797, which would the Repeal of the Parental Notification Act of 1995, was introduced on February 16, 2...

January 27, 2021

Supreme Court Dismisses Ruling in Texas's Temporary Abortion Ban During Pandemic

photo credit: Ben Schumin / Flickr
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a Texas abortion case. This means that in the future, this case will not be seen as a precedent for future decisions if similar situations arise.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot ordered in March for non-essential medical procedures to be halted temporarily due to the pandemic. This was so medical resources could be preserved to help patients with COVID-19. The limited supply of equipment like gloves and masks at the time made it essential to make sure hospital workers had access first.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the order included all types of abortions since abortion is an elective procedure rather than an essential one.

Planned Parenthood sued, and rulings went back and forth in federal court. A federal judge ruled against the temporary ban, but the Fifth Circuit restored the order in early April. The Fifth Circuit opinion argued that since states could temporarily restrict constitutional rights (such as worship and assembly) during the pandemic, there was no reason why abortion should be treated differently.

Gov. Abbott partially lifted the order on April 22, allowing abortions to resume in Texas, but Planned Parenthood went to the Supreme Court regardless. The abortion business was afraid that leaving the Fifth Circuit's ruling intact could negatively impact future cases. The Supreme Court granted their wish on Jan. 25, vacating the Fifth Circuit's ruling.

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