Supreme Court strikes down case law that allowed Texas governor to ban abortions during pandemic

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The U.S. Supreme Court handed a win to abortion-rights groups Monday, eliminating lower court rulings that upheld Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on nearly all abortions during the early stages of the pandemic.

Abbott, a Republican, mandated a statewide stop to "nonessential" medical procedures in March of last year, saying the pause was needed to preserve medical resources during the health crisis. However, Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health groups argued that abortions are rarely performed at hospitals and seldom require extensive personal protective equipment.



The high court's Monday ruling wiped out a pair rulings from the lower U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that sided with the Texas GOP on the ban.

While Abbott's order ended during the summer, he asked Supreme Court to permit the lower court rulings to remain in place, presumably as legal cover for future abortion restrictions.



In a statement supplied to NBC News, Planned Parenthood said it fought Abbott's procedural move because it wanted to "make sure bad case law was wiped from the books."

The health group, in conjunction with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyering Project, also called the governor's ban "a transparent attempt to chip away at access to reproductive health care by exploiting a public health crisis."

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