25 Apr Jonathan Cartu Reviews: Group of doctors sue Fort Worth, demand ban of most
A group of doctors has petitioned for Fort Worth to ban certain abortions during the coronavirus shutdown and is asking that the city’s stay-at-home order be declared invalid if the city does not do so.
The Thomas More Society, a conservative anti-abortion law firm based in Chicago, filed the lawsuit in Tarrant County district court Friday. The complaint says Mayor Betsy Price and the city of Fort Worth are violating Texas law by allowing elective abortions to continue.
The complaint demands either Fort Worth ban abortions in its stay-at-home order, or that the order be declared invalid.
The plaintiffs of the suit are three Fort Worth oral surgeons — Gregory B. Scheideman, William F. Runyon Jr. and David W. Kostohryz Jr. — Fort Worth orthodontist John Kelley and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The surgeons’ practice, Fort Worth Oral Surgery PA, and Kelley’s clinic, Kelley Orthodontics, are also listed as plaintiffs.
Whole Woman’s Health in Fort Worth and the Southwest Fort Worth Health Center, as well as the city of Fort Worth and Price, are named as defendants in the suit.
The city and the women’s clinics haven’t yet issued statements in response to the complaint.
The complaint accuses Fort Worth clinics that provide abortions of “selfishly consuming personal protective equipment on elective and unlawful abortions at a time when every piece of personal protective equipment must be conserved.”
The suit also says that “an order that allows an illegal medical procedure (abortion) to continue while prohibiting lawful procedures such as dentistry, oral surgery, and orthodontics during the COVID-19 pandemic is inconsistent with the state statutes that criminalize abortion, all of which continue to exist as ‘general laws enacted by the Legislature of this State.’”
While Gov. Greg Abbott passed a statewide order banning medication and surgical abortions on March 21, the plaintiffs want Fort Worth to independently prohibit abortions, except for in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
If a judge grants the groups’ request for a temporary injunction, the city would be blocked from enforcing its stay-at-home order unless it’s amended to prohibit abortions.
“Plaintiffs Fort Worth Oral Surgery PA, Kelley Orthodontics, and Doctors Scheideman, Runyon, Kostohryz, and Kelley will suffer probable, imminent, and irreparable injury absent a temporary injunction because their businesses have been shut down on account of the city’s stay-at-home order, and they are suffering discriminatory treatment by having their lawful practices shuttered while illegal abortion providers are allowed to continue operating,” the complaint says.
A legal back-and-forth has ensued over Abbott’s executive order, and aspects of the abortion ban have been repeatedly reinstated and reversed. Texas abortion providers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take emergency action to restore medical abortion services.
On Monday, a federal appeals court reinstated most of Texas’ ban on abortions, ruling that medication abortions, which are induced by taking pills, may not be permitted. The decision is a reversal of the court’s previous decision.
Abbott previously said that his order banning elective medical procedures was intended to increase hospital capacity and conserve personal protective equipment to combat spread of the novel coronavirus.
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