AG Paxton Threatens Abortion Ban In Midst Of Public Health Emergency

By introducing a wedge issue into the implementation of a vital executive order, AG Paxton is potentially complicating the coordinated response to COVID-19.

Austin, Texas – Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued guidance warning that abortion providers are covered by Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order 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.”

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez represents Central, South and East Austin’s and Southeast Travis County’s District 51 in the Texas House of Representatives. Rep. Rodriguez serves on the House Committees on Calendars, State Affairs and Ways & Means in the 86th Texas Legislature. He is a member of the Texas House Women’s Health Caucus and fought Republicans’ efforts to close the Planned Parenthood health center on East 7th Street in District 51.

Rep. Rodriguez issued the following statement regarding AG Paxton’s guidance:

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

“The decision to have an abortion is intensely personal and the Supreme Court has recognized the right to access the medical procedure. Though we are facing a public health emergency, this decision can only be made by an individual in consultation with their physician.

“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. 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.”