Texas AG: Planned Parenthood not singled out by coronavirus order

shutterstock 1073950334 Planned Parenthood Location. | Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has disputed Planned Parenthood's claim that the state targeted abortion clinics in an order prohibiting non-essential medical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Interview an interview that will air Thursday on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Paxton said that the abortion provider was itself demanding special treatment in a legal challenge to the executive issued last month by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott issued the executive order (GA 09) on March 22, halting non-essential surgeries and medical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic, in order to free up resources and medical personnel to treat COVID patients.

Abbott clarified that the order would apply to "any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother."

"What they are actually asking to be singled out," Paxton said Thursday. "[They want] to be treated better than everybody else during this crisis, so they could be doing elective abortions, when those resources could otherwise be used to save somebody's life." 

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups filed litigation over the executive order, claiming Abbott singled out the procedure. A federal district court initially blocked the order, but the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on that ruling March 31, permitting Abbott's order to go into effect.

In a statement Tuesday, Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called Abbott's order "heartless," adding, "No other form of health care is being targeted this way - only abortion."

During the interview on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Paxton argued that the Texas order does not single out abortion clinics, but is "a ban on elective procedures which also includes abortion."

"It includes orthopedic surgeries, it includes dental procedures, it includes dermatological procedures, it includes all kinds of elective procedures, they are not being singled out, they are just being treated like everybody else," Paxton said.

Paxton argued that any type of nonessential medical procedure "had to be stopped" in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment for health care professionals battling the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We're trying to conserve those because there's a shortage of them, and conserve resources like hospital beds, and even the focus of doctors' time," Paxton said.

Paxton argued that through its lawsuit, Planned Parenthood is asking for special treatment.

"We didn't want anybody treated any differently but apparently Planned Parenthood and the abortion providers felt like they should be given an exception to how other people and how other providers are being treated," he said.

The order, Paxton said, "applies to everyone."

The full interview with Paxton will air Thursday at 10:00 PM EST on EWTN.

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Kate Scanlon is a producer for EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

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