(4-13-20) During this time of the ‘Stay at Home‘ order by Governor DeWine due to the COVID 19 virus in an effort to protect and save lives…another battle is being fought in Federal Court to stop another life-saving battle…abortions.
Mid-March Dr. Amy Acton placed an order, that went into effect March 16th, to stop non-essential or selective surgeries.
Non-elective procedures would be: A surgery that is life-saving, a procedure that saves an organ, or a procedure that prevents the progression of disease.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost ordered two abortion clinics in the Cincinnati area to follow Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton’s order and adding a warning that it applies to all clinics in the state.
Planned Parenthood, shortly after receiving the order from Yost, released a joint statement from Iris E. Harvey and Kersha Deibel, presidents and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region –
“Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to offer other health care services that our patients depend on. Our doors remain open for this care.”
Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life in response to Planned Parenthood –
“By performing surgical abortions, your company is putting the health and safety of all Ohioans in danger. Your current noncompliance will undoubtedly contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and put the lives of first responders, nurses and doctors in danger.”
That order met with resistance and was quickly overturned in the Sixth US District Court.
A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati declined to get involved with a lawsuit over how abortion providers in Ohio can continue to provide their services during the State’s public-health order restricting non-essential surgeries during the coronavirus pandemic. The judges dismissed Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s appeal of a ruling from Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett. The ruling temporarily blocks Ohio officials from using the health order to stop women from access to surgical abortions.
A federal judge in Columbus on Friday (April 10th) extended the temporary restraining order for two additional weeks blocking Ohio’s ban on all abortions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled yesterday in Alabama that the state cannot stop abortions when he issued a preliminary injunction sought by the clinics to prevent the state from stopping abortions as part of a ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thompson said in his opinion –
“Based on the current record, the defendants’ efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy, by an undue burden or increase in risk on patients imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers.”
Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project told the Associated Press
“Preventing someone from getting an abortion doesn’t do anything to stop the COVID-19 virus, it just takes the decision whether to have a child out of their hands.”
The decision could also effect court actions taking place in both Ohio and Texas. It might also cause other court actions to states with Stay at Home orders in an effort to restart services that have been termed non-essential.