Pro- and anti-abortion rights activists demonstrate in front of the the US Supreme Court during the 47th annual March for Life [File: Oliver Douliery/AFP]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Texas may go ahead with plans to temporarily ban most abortions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay on a ruling from a lower court that had blocked Texas from enforcing the ban.

The ruling comes amid a wider effort by several conservative states to halt the procedures, an effort abortion rights groups have called an attempt “to exploit a crisis to ban essential care”. 

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Texas officials say the ban is necessary to conserve medical supplies for health workers who are responding to the

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