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Texas orders postponement of medical procedures that are not 'immediately necessary'

The order includes operations like abortions and dental procedures.

AUSTIN, Texas — A recent order by the Texas governor is forcing the postponement of any medical procedure that cannot be proven to be immediately medically necessary, including operations like abortions or dental procedures.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday warned all licensed health care professionals and health care facilities that, pursuant to Executive Order GA 09 issued by Gov. Greg Abbott, they must postpone such procedures.

The governor issued an executive order on 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.” 

RELATED: Gov. Abbott issues 2 executive orders to free up 'countless hospital beds'; says no statewide shelter in place

This prohibition applies throughout Texas and includes routine dermatological, ophthalmological and dental procedures, as well as most scheduled healthcare procedures such as orthopedic surgeries or any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

This comes as the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic has increased demands for hospital beds and has created a shortage of protective equipment needed to protect health care professionals and stop virus transmission. 

Failure to comply with an executive order 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 more information on the coronavirus, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

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