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Do I need to tell you that the Fifth Circuit did it again?

I’m going to tell you anyway, because it’s what happened.

Right there with them

In the latest turn of a whiplash-inducing federal court battle over Texas GOP officials’ near-total ban on abortion during the novel coronavirus outbreak, a federal appeals court on Friday once again lent support to state officials and prohibited the procedure under all but a few narrow circumstances.

For now, the higher court said, the only patients who may terminate their pregnancies in Texas are those who would pass the legal gestational limit for abortions while a gubernatorial emergency order barring elective medical procedures remains in place. The news comes just a day after a federal district judge in Austin ordered that those patients, as well as others planning to undergo “medication abortions,” which involve ingesting pills, should be permitted to terminate their pregnancies as planned.

Texans bans abortions starting 22 weeks after a patient’s last menstrual period, meaning some patients would have been unable to terminate their pregnancies at all.

Providers said the newest order from the federal appeals court makes abortion “largely inaccessible” and said they will weigh every legal option — including seeking emergency relief from the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The court is unjustifiably forcing women to wait until the 11th hour to get the time-sensitive, essential healthcare that they are constitutionally guaranteed,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We will pursue all legal options to ensure no women are left behind.”

Already, hundreds of patients have seen their planned abortions disrupted, and providers have been thrust into uncertainty as the legal status of the procedures they perform has changed as many as three times during a single week.

The litigation is far from complete, with deadlines as soon this weekend for attorneys on both sides of the case to make more arguments before the court.

See here for the previous update. Someone whose galaxy brain is bigger than mine is going to have to explain to me the rationale for banning medication abortions, since as far as I can tell that imposes no burden on the healthcare system. I don’t know what else there is to say. The Chron has more.

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  1. Bill Daniels says:


    This doesn’t take a galaxy brain to figure out. Ever heard Rahm’s mantra, “Never let a crisis go to waste; it allows you to do things you could never have done before?” Well, here you go. Oh noes, we’ve got to shut down everything! You shouldn’t be surprised R’s are going to take this opportunity to shut down things they don’t like, just as some blue states have shut down gun stores and ranges. Of course, I can’t really explain the states like PA that shut down the liquor stores, too. Everyone enjoys booze regardless of political ideology. No answer for that one, other than unlimited power breeds contempt. I’m sure the people who exercised their power to close the liquor stores were fully stocked up, in advance. They won’t be thirsty.

    This makes perfect sense for the 5th, just as decisions coming from the 9th Circuit in California make sense. No one is really even pretending anymore, the veneer is gone. Remember when Justice Roberts indignantly said something to the effect of, there are no Obama judges or Bush judges? Bullshit. Of course there are, and he knows it.

  2. […] here for the previous update. It’s possible that SCOTUS will react the way they did following the […]

  3. […] here and here for the background. It’s still far less than great, in that it accepts the premise […]