Paxton noted that violating the order, which lasts until April 21, could result in fines of up to $1,000 or 180 days imprisonment.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday against Abbott, Paxton and other state officials by local providers, as well as Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, the groups called on a federal judge to block the restriction on abortion. They argued that it “violates Plaintiffs' patients' fundamental constitutional right to decide whether to have an abortion prior to viability.”
“The Texas Attorney General's enforcement threats are a blatant effort to exploit a public health crisis to advance an extreme, anti-abortion agenda, without any benefit to the state in terms of preventing or resolving shortages of (personal protective equipment) or hospital capacity,” they wrote. “As a result of these threats, this week Plaintiffs have already been forced to turn away patients in need of time-sensitive care.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health and Whole Woman's Health Alliance, said on a press call Wednesday that their three clinics in Texas had canceled more than 150 appointments this week in light of the order.
Paxton's decision “has already created a health crisis on top of a health crisis,” she said. “Abortion is essential health care and it is a time sensitive service.”
Paxton accused the providers of looking to divert key health resources and vowed to uphold the order.
“It is unconscionable that abortion providers are fighting against the health of Texans and withholding desperately needed supplies and personal protective equipment in favor of a procedure that they refer to as a ‘choice,'” he said in a statement to CNN. “My office will tirelessly defend Governor Abbott's Order to ensure that necessary supplies reach the medical professionals combating this national health crisis.”
Abbott's office did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment on the lawsuit.
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