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March 24, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As hospitals across the United States prioritize coronavirus treatment ahead of less urgent matters, abortion facilities in Texas and Ohio are pushing back against suspension of their businesses, demanding that elective abortions be allowed to continue as usual.

PETITION: Urge state governors to stop abortions during coronavirus crisis Sign the petition here.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have advised healthcare facilities to reschedule non-urgent appointments and elective procedures, both to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to free up time and resources to focus on patients afflicted by COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus).

Compliance with this guidance has been mixed, leading some states to mandate that facilities halt “non-essential” procedures. Among them, the attorneys general of Texas and Ohio have issued statements making it clear to abortionists that the suspension applies to elective abortions as well, NBC News reported.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demands for hospital beds and has created a shortage of personal protective equipment needed to protect healthcare professionals and stop transmission of the virus,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote. “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 healthcare professionals.” 

This includes “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” he said. “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.”

The abortion lobby has not taken kindly to these orders, with Planned Parenthood Federation of America declaring that abortion is an “essential and time-sensitive” procedure that “must remain so,” and NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland accused the state of “exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to further their agenda to close Ohio's abortion clinics.”

“The priority of all Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas is the health and safety of our patients and staff, and ensuring that Texans can access essential health care, including abortion,” read a statement signed by the heads of Planned Parenthood’s Greater Texas, South Texas, and Gulf Coast affiliates. “As recognized by medical experts, abortion is a time-sensitive medical procedure. A delay of 30 days, or even less, can make abortion completely inaccessible.”

At least one abortion facility in Ohio is openly defying the order, the Daily Caller reported.

“WE ARE OPEN,” the abortion center Preterm declared. “Abortion is legal in Ohio, and Preterm is still here providing the non-judgmental care you need.”

“Preterm is continuing to provide the full range of abortion care services because it is essential health care,” the center’s executive director, Chrisse France, told the Caller. “In compliance with the order from the Ohio Department of Health, our physicians will be making individualized determinations to ensure each person gets the health care they need and that all healthcare providers across the state have access to the supplies needed during this pandemic.”

France did not elaborate on how continuing elective abortions constitutes “compliance.” The Ohio Department of Health has so far declined to say whether it plans on taking legal action against Preterm.

The notion that abortion is “essential care” has the backing of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) excoriated in a statement.

“Continuing to perform elective abortions during a pandemic is medically irresponsible,” the statement read. “Elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’ but it does consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”

“Elective abortion, both surgical and drug induced, also generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms,” AAPLOG continued. “Most abortion providers instruct women to go to an emergency room if they have any concerning symptoms after the abortion. Approximately five percent of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in an emergency room, most commonly for hemorrhage. Surgical abortions can also result in hemorrhage. Emergency room personnel – who are already struggling to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be further strained to provide care to these women.”

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