Abortion providers, AG Paxton continue executive order fight

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FILE – In this Aug. 21, 2019, file photo, a sign is displayed at Planned Parenthood of Utah in Salt Lake City. An appeals court is considering whether to block a Trump administration rule that bans taxpayer-funded health clinics from referring patients for an abortion, a rule that has already prompted many providers, including Planned Parenthood, to leave a longstanding federal family planning program. Eleven judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, in challenges brought by 22 states as well as Planned Parenthood and other organizations. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Opponents of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order to shut down abortion providers during the COVID-19 pandemic have won a second temporary restraining order to restore services.

On Thursday, a federal district court granted the restraining order after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the first one to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and won.

Paxton’s office said it issued an immediate appeal to reverse the latest restraining order.

Abortion providers say that abortions are time-sensitive, essential services — and according to Gov. Abbott’s order — they are not. The order said providers have to stop services to make sure enough personal protective equipment is available for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

“We are relieved that the district court has again stepped in to stop Governor Abbott from blocking women from accessing time-sensitive, essential abortion care,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“It’s time for Texas to stop its crusade to end abortion, which will inflict irreparable harm on women seeking care at this difficult time,” Northup said.

Paxton, meanwhile, disagrees, saying abortion facilities “continue to demand special treatment not available to any other health care provider in Texas.”

“For years, abortion has been touted as a ‘choice’ by the same groups now attempting to claim it is an essential procedure,” Paxton said, “and they decided to press forward despite a higher court ruling entered just days ago that a district court cannot block an Executive Order that protects public health during a crisis.”

The appeal of the first temporary restraining order was just three days ago.

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