Paxton orders healthcare professionals, facilities to stop all "medically unnecessary" surgeries, procedures

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement Monday warning all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures not immediately medically necessary in response to COVID-19.

The release specifically names abortion providers.

"We must work together as Texans to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our health care professionals and facilities have all the resources they need to fight the virus at this time," said Paxton in the release. "No one is exempt from the governor's executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers. Those who violate the governor's order will be met with the full force of the law." 

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Paxton's office says that the warning is related to Gov. Greg Abbott signing an executive order Saturday that "all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities shall postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient's physician."

The release said the prohibition applies throughout the state of Texas and to all surgeries and procedures not immediately medically necessary, which include routine dermatological, ophthalmological, and dental procedures, orthopedic surgeries or any type of non-medically necessary abortion to preserve the life or health of the mother.

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Paxton's office says the COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for hospital beds and created a shortage of personal protective equipment for health care professions.

The release also says failure to comply with an executive order issued by Abbott related to COVID-19 can result in penalties of up to $1,000 in fines or 180 days in jail.



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