Austin, Texas March 23, 2020
Health Care Professionals and Facilities, Including Abortion Providers,
Must Immediately Stop All Medically Unnecessary Surgeries and Procedures to
Preserve Resources to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic
AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities, including abortion providers, that, pursuant to Executive Order GA 09 issued by Gov. Greg Abbott, they must postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary.
On Saturday, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order 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.” This prohibition applies throughout the State and to all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary, including routine dermatological, ophthalmological, and dental procedures, as well as most scheduled healthcare procedures that are not immediately medically necessary such as orthopedic surgeries or any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demands for hospital beds and has created a shortage of personal protective equipment needed to protect health care professionals and stop transmission of the virus. Postponing surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary will ensure that hospital beds are available for those suffering from COVID-19 and that PPEs are available for health care professionals. Failure to comply with an executive order issued by the governor related to the COVID-19 disaster can result in penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time.
“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 Attorney General Paxton. “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.”
For information on the spread or treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website.