AUSTIN, TX — In the midst of a battle against the new coronavirus, the state's attorney general on Monday ignited a skirmish in ongoing culture wars by stressing that the governor's new ban on elective medical procedures — meant to accommodate the growing numbers of patients felled by the pandemic — includes abortions.

"We must work together as Texans to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our health care professionals and facilities have all the resources they need to fight the virus at this time," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a prepared statement. "No one is exempt from the governor's executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers. Those who violate the governor's order will be met with the full force of the law."

2020欧洲杯赛事Paxton made the thrust of his messaging clear in his news advisory's lengthy headline: "Health Care Professionals and Facilities, Including Abortion Providers, Must Immediately Stop All Medically Unnecessary Surgeries and Procedures to Preserve Resources to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic."


Don't miss the latest coronavirus updates from health and government officials in the Austin area. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters for what you need to know daily


Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Saturday stating that "all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient's physician."


Don't miss the latest coronavirus updates from health and government officials in the Austin area. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters for what you need to know daily.


The order is designed to accommodate patients in the midst of a growing number of cases of COVID-19, a respiratory ailment caused by a member of the coronavirus family that's a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses triggering outbreaks in the past. To date, 352 positive cases of the illness have been confirmed throughout Texas, including eight fatalities.


Related story: Coronavirus: Texas Halts Elective Surgeries, Eases Hospital Rules


2020欧洲杯赛事Paxton — a conservative Republican who has often voiced his pro-life stance, as has his party's standard-bearer, Abbott — framed his press advisory as having "... warned all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities, including abortion providers, that, pursuant to Executive Order GA 09 issued by Gov. Greg Abbott, they must postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary."

The governor's ban itself includes "... scheduled health care procedures that are not immediately medically necessary such as orthopedic surgeries or any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother." Failure to comply with an executive order, Paxton added, is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Those at the other end of the ideological spectrum took Paxton to task for the move, seeing it less as a public service announcement than one rooted in his political party's pro-life political stance.

MJ Hegar, who is seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in Texas, is among those decrying the inclusion of abortions in an executive order meant to save the lives of COVID-19 patients. "I refuse to stand quietly by as politicians exploit a global pandemic to ruthlessly attack Texas women's reproductive rights," she said. "With millions of women and their families facing very real threats to their health and economic livelihood, we will not allow our politicians to further put their health and potentially their lives in jeopardy."

2020欧洲杯赛事Hegar said such divisive rhetoric amid a pandemic is antithetical to unity. "At a time when elected officials should be focused on finding bipartisan, commonsense solutions to keep our families safe as we face COVID-19, Republicans in Texas are weaponizing this as an opportunity to ban legal abortions."

District 51 state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, who represents a large swath of Austin and the southeastern portion of Travis County, also took Paxton to task for his advisory related to abortion procedures.

"Attorney General Ken Paxton is wrong to threaten reproductive rights," Rodriguez said. "Through this guidance, he is seeking to unilaterally end millions of Texas women's access to abortion for an indefinite period of time."

2020欧洲杯赛事Calling a woman's decision to have an abortion "intensely personal," Rodriguez noted that the right to the procedure has been enshrined by past Supreme Court action. The decision to undergo the procedure can only be made by the person in consultation with their physician, he added.

"To be clear, Attorney General Paxton is using the current public health emergency to impose abortion restrictions that Republicans have been unable to achieve through the Texas Legislature or the courts. AG Paxton's guidance is unacceptable, and it must not stand. Attorney General Paxton is also potentially complicating the implementation of an otherwise uncontroversial and medically necessary executive order by introducing such a consequential and politically divisive issue into the conversation."

Rodriguez called instead for an esprit de corps to fight the pandemic with unity rather than divisiveness. "In this time of crisis, Texans are coming together to fight COVID-19. The spirit of solidarity is crucial to our coordinated response. There is an overwhelming amount of work to be done, decisions to be made and logistics to be organized, and we cannot afford to be divided at this time."

Across America  |  News  |  
Across America  |  News  |  

Latest Coronavirus Myths: 5G, Malaria Drug, Face Masks,

Does 5G wireless service exacerbate the coronavirus? Is hydroxychloroquine, used to treat malaria and lupus, a “silver bullet” for COVID-19?


By Beth Dalbey, Patch Staff