On Monday, the Supreme Court granted a petition from Planned Parenthood that removed a temporary ban on abortions in the state of Texas that would free up space for coronavirus patients to be cared for in spare medical facilities. The Supreme Court ruled “The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. See United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., 340 U. S. 36 (1950).”
The rule overturns a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the ban. According to Planned Parenthood’s petition, “The Governor of Texas, in reliance on the COVID19 pandemic, issued an executive order that banned nearly all abortions in Texas for at least a month, and potentially far longer.” However, they also note that the governor rescinded the Executive Order and replaced it with another one that allowed abortions to continue in Texas. It was for this reason the Supreme Court ruled the petition was moot.
The Supreme Court explained “When, as here, an appeal becomes moot ‘while on its way’ on the way to this Court, this Court’s ‘established practice’ is to ‘vacate the judgment below and remand with a direction to dismiss.'”
However, the new Executive Order still required abortion facilities to reserve at least 25% of their capacity for coronavirus patients. This move also could limit abortions in Texas. The previous executive order was faced with endless judicial attacks from multiple lower courts, with the argument allegedly being it was not reasonable for Texas to ban abortions because abortions use minimal personal protective equipment. However, the ban was not revoked or placed in permanent injunction.
President Trump, citing abortion as a major issue, nominated Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Comey Barrett to the Supreme Court during his Administration. So far, the Supreme Court has heard few cases concerning abortion.