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US federal judges declare abortions must continue during coronavirus outbreak

Federal judges have declared that the abortion industry must be allowed to continue business as usual in Alabama, Ohio, and Texas.
Tue Mar 31, 2020 - 3:17 pm EST
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March 31, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – While states order suspensions of non-essential medical procedures in order to conserve resources and contain the spread of the coronavirus, judges have declared that the abortion industry must be allowed to continue business as usual in Alabama, Ohio, and Texas.

US 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 infected patients.

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.

So far, federal Judges Myron Thompson, Michael Barrett, and Lee Yeakel have issued temporary injunctions allowing elective abortions to continue in Alabama, Ohio, and Texas, respectively, CNN reports.

“The benefits of a limited potential reduction in the use of some personal protective equipment by abortion providers is outweighed by the harm of eliminating abortion access in the midst of a pandemic that increases the risks of continuing an unwanted pregnancy, as well as the risks of travelling to other states in search of time-sensitive medical care,” claimed Yeakel, who presides over the Western District of Texas.

Barrett, of the Southern District of Ohio, falsely claimed that denying a woman a legal abortion “violates her right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment,” and therefore temporarily suspending abortions alongside all the other actual medical procedures being suspended without challenge “would, per se, inflict irreparable harm."

Pro-life groups have condemned the judges’ orders, and the attorneys general of all three states have vowed to appeal the ruling.

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily stayed Yeakel’s order 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.”

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  abortion, alabama, coronavirus, judicial activism, lawsuits, lee yeakel, michael barrett, myron thompson, ohio, texas

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