April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – This week, the governors of Indiana and West Virginia joined the growing list of states ordering a temporary halt to elective medical procedures during the coronavirus crisis, including aboriton.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order suspending “elective or non-urgent” procedures at any “medical, dental or other, and healthcare facilities, whether hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dental facilities, plastic surgery centers, dermatology offices and abortion clinics,” RTV6 reported.
“We are all watching the numbers, both positive cases of COVID-19 and deaths mount by the day,” Holcomb said. “We're living in and through an 'all hands on deck' moment if I've ever seen one and it is unifying our state in ways that I could not imagine.”
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, meanwhile, declared Tuesday that “all elective surgeries will be off the bubble, as of tonight,” the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. His order defines “elective” procedures as anything “not immediately medically necessary to preserve the patient’s life or long-term health,” with exceptions for procedures that “cannot be postponed without compromising the patient’s long-term health,” that “cannot be performed consistent with other law at a later date,” or “are religiously mandated.”
Justice’s order does not specifically mention abortion, but West Virginians for Life is interpreting it as banning abortions. In a statement, the group said it “applauds” Justice and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for the order, which “should mean that elective abortions will not be available in West Virginia during this pandemic.”
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 numerous states to mandate that facilities temporarily halt “non-essential” medical procedures. Several of them have clarified that elective abortions will be held to the same standards as all other procedures during this time, leading to several lawsuits demanding exemptions for Planned Parenthood and other abortion centers.
In response, the abortion lobby has sued in multiple states, leading federal judges to issue temporary injunctions allowing elective abortions to continue in Alabama, Ohio, and Texas, although the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals quickly reversed the injunction for Texas.
Pro-life medical professionals have assailed the abortion industry’s demands for special treatment, arguing that exempting elective abortion puts business interests ahead of public health.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) says that while “elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’” 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.”