Ohio abortion facilities can continue to kill unborn babies in elective abortions during the coronavirus pandemic after a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
The abortion industry is battling state health officials in court for a special exception to a state restriction on non-essential health care because of the coronavirus.
Because of the order and similar like it across the U.S., people’s cancer treatments, heart procedures, dental work and many other necessary but not critical medical procedures are being postponed. These orders are meant to conserve medical resources and prevent further spread of the coronavirus. But the abortion industry believes it should be exempt because abortions cannot be put off forever.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, Preterm Cleveland and other abortion facilities in their challenge of the Ohio order.
Then, on Monday, a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel dismissed state Attorney General Dave Yost’s appeal of Barrett’s ruling, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The judges said they decided to wait for Barrett to issue a full ruling on the matter.
Here’s more from the report:
Barrett clarified in a Thursday ruling that surgical abortions in Ohio could still be delayed under the health order on a case-by-case basis, as long as doing so didn’t threaten the woman’s life, or prevent the woman from her right to get an abortion before the fetus is viable, which can be as early as 21 weeks. He also wrote that lawyers from Attorney General Dave Yost’s office declined to state their position on what abortion providers could do under Acton’s order until a Wednesday legal filing.
In their Monday ruling dismissing the state’s appeal, appellate Judges Guy Cole and Ralph Guy wrote Barrett’s ruling didn’t seem inconsistent with what Yost’s office eventually said was the state’s legal interpretation of how Acton’s order applies.
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Barrett wrote, the appellate judges noted, that abortion providers “may not perform surgical abortions if they can induce the same abortion medicinally or perform abortions that can be delayed without jeopardizing the mother’s health, life, or ability to exercise her Fourteenth Amendment right to a pre-viability abortion.”
However, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, Bethany McCorkle, said they are not wholly discouraged by the ruling.
“The Court rejected the abortion providers’ argument that every surgical abortion is medically necessary,” she said. “And it confirmed that the State may enforce Dr. Acton’s order against any abortion provider who performs a surgical abortion that could have been safely postponed or performed with medication. That is a win in every respect that matters.”
It is not clear when Barrett will issue a full ruling. His initial decision stopped the state from enforcing its order on abortion facilities for two weeks.
Meanwhile, Texas is enforcing its restrictions on abortion facilities after a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in the state’s favor last week. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order helps support hospitals and medical clinics that need additional medical gear and supplies to treat patients with the coronavirus.
In Ohio, the order, which was issued by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, mandated that non-essential surgical procedures cease in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to conserve medical equipment in short supply. While the vast majority of Ohio’s medical professionals took immediate action to comply, abortion facilities across the state continued to perform surgical abortions.
Yost slammed the abortion industry for being irresponsible and endangering lives.
“Never mind the concerns regarding the pandemic; never mind the unnecessary use of scarce [personal protective equipment] will inevitably cause nurses, doctors, and first responders to become afflicted with COVID-19; never mind that some of them will transmit that disease to others; never mind that some of the afflicted will die. According to the abortion providers, no slight inconvenience to the on-demand provision of elective abortions is a price worth paying to avoid these grisly, preventable deaths,” Yost said in a statement last week.
Pro-life leaders praised the attorney general for fighting to save lives.
“We thank Attorney General Yost for enforcing the law and ensuring that Planned Parenthood and their abortion allies are held to the same standard under the State’s Health Order that every other surgical facility is currently,” Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews.com. “Regardless of how many times Planned Parenthood ignores the law and claims that they deserve special treatment under the Health Order- we know better. Abortion is not essential and these facilities’ blatant disregard for human life and safety during this crisis only serves to underline that fact.”
The order, issued March 17, mandated that all non-essential surgical procedures be halted in order to preserve vital PPEs and reduce the spread of COVID-19. On March 20, Ohio Right to Life sent a letter to the president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio calling on them to close in compliance with the ODH’s Health Order. Soon after, Ohio Right to Life started a petition to urge the Ohio Department of Health to enforce the Health Order and hold surgical abortion facilities accountable to the law.
Although the situation is fluid, here are the latest reports from LifeNews.com on the status of abortion and orders to stop non-essential medical services:
States Attempting to Protect Babies From Abortion
Texas: Abortion centers are temporarily closed after Governor Greg Abbott’s order. But Texas abortion businesses have sued the state to reopen. Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit as well to do abortions and ignore the order. A federal judge blocked the order and allowed abortion centers to keep killing babies but a federal appeals court reinstated the order.
Ohio: Abortion centers are included in the order to close but they are refusing to close. The health department is now investigating those violations. Meanwhile, a judge has blocked the state’s order banning abortions and later ruled that it’s up to abortion companies if abortions are essential.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Gov Orders Abortion Businesses to Close, Killing Babies is Not “Essential” Medical Care. The Planned Parenthood abortion business has sued to keep doing abortions.
Indiana: Governor Bans Killing Babies in Abortions to Save Medical Resources to Fight Coronavirus. At least one abortion business is refusing to comply.
Alabama: Alabama stopped abortions under its non-essential order until April 13th but a judge ruled the state can’t infringe on the so-called “right” to abortion. The state is fighting the ruling at the appeals court.
States Not Protecting Babies From Abortion
Kansas: Abortions are allowed in Kansas but a county in Wichita voted to close the late-term abortion clinic there.
New York: New York has issued an order to stop non-essential health services but is not applying it to abortion centers. New York Attorney General: Coronavirus Crisis is No Reason to Stop Killing Babies in Abortions. NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio has threatened to permanently close churches while letting abortion centers stay open.
New Jersey: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
Michigan: Governor Whitmer has stopped non-essential medical surgeries but allowed abortion clinics to keep killing babies. Leading pro-life groups have heavily criticized her.
North Carolina: Pro-life groups have called on the governor to stop abortions during the coronavirus crisis.
Washington: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
California: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded. But 11 Planned Parenthood abortion centers have voluntarily closed.
Maine: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
Massachusetts: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
Canada has banned every other non-essential medical procedure except abortion.