Judge Rules Tennessee Must Let Abortion Clinics Stay Open, But Churches Must Stay Closed

State   Micaiah Bilger   Apr 20, 2020   |   10:31AM    Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee must allow abortion facilities to continue killing unborn babies in elective abortions during the global coronavirus crisis, a federal judge ruled late Friday.

While many medical procedures are being postponed and churches are being closed because of the virus, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman argued in his opinion that abortions are different because they are time sensitive, The Hill reports.

“Delaying a woman’s access to abortion even by a matter of days can result in her having to undergo a lengthier and more complex procedure that involves progressively greater health risks, or can result in her losing the right to obtain an abortion altogether,” Friedman wrote.

The judge also disagreed with state Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s argument for restricting abortions, along with other non-essential medical procedures, to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and prevent further spread of the virus.

“In terms of balancing the harm to others, plaintiffs argue convincingly that the irreparable harm they would suffer without injunctive relief, which includes violation of their constitutional rights, ‘vastly outweigh[s]’ any ‘temporary reduction of PPE’ resulting from the enforcement of” the governor’s order, the judge wrote.

Here’s more from the report:

State officials said the procedures would lead to the “unnecessary use” of PPE “that are in extremely short supply, especially N95 masks,” CNN reported court documents said.

Friedman ruled that the government did not show “any appreciable amount” of PPE would be saved by prohibiting abortion procedures.

The plaintiffs, including Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi and the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health, argued they have made efforts to reduce the use of PPE and to avoid using N95 masks. The judge ruled the plaintiffs showed an abortion used less PPE and less patient interaction than giving birth.

Tennessee Right to Life blasted the ruling. It said the pro-abortion movement is putting profits from abortions above everything else, including their own employees’ safety, legitimate healthcare workers who need PPE and first responders.

“Churches are closed and other legitimate healthcare services are barred in order to protect the public health,” the organization said in a statement. “However, surgical abortions which kill unborn children and harm women and families must be allowed according to Judge Friedman, even in the midst of a global pandemic.”

A spokeswoman for Slattery said they already filed an appeal of Friedman’s ruling.

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“We thank the Attorney General for an excellent defense of the state’s position asking for enforcement of the governor’s order barring non-essential surgeries,” Tennessee Right to Life said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, Choices of Memphis and the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health sued Tennessee after Lee announced that his executive order restricting non-essential medical care includes abortions.

“This would be like any other non-essential procedure,” Lee said regarding abortion. “It would be treated the same, and my expectation and belief and certainly my expectation is that no non-essential procedures would be performed in the state during the crisis and during this time we need all of those supplies to be used on the frontlines of protecting citizens.”

Earlier, Lee spokesman Gillum Ferguson said in a statement, “Gov. Lee believes elective abortions aren’t essential procedures, and given the state of PPE in Tennessee and across the country, his hope and expectation would be that those procedures not take place during this crisis.”

Courts across the country are forcing states to continue to allow elective abortions while other medical procedures are being delayed. The abortion industry also is suing Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Arkansas to continue aborting unborn babies during the health crisis.

Abortions are different from all other medical procedures because they destroy lives, rather than save them. Recently, medical groups representing more than 30,000 doctors in America emphasized that abortions are not “essential” or “urgent,” and abortion facilities that continue to operate during the pandemic are being “medically irresponsible.”

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. Now Planned Parenthood is asking the Supreme Court to allow killing babies in non-essential abortions. The 5th Circuit then ruled that surgical abortions, but not the abortion pill, can be banned.

Maryland: Abortion centers are included in the abortion order to stop non-essential procedures but they have been caught violating the order.

Louisiana: Abortion centers are included in the order to close and all three closed initially but at least one abortion center has been caught doing abortions.

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.

Mississippi: Abortion centers are included in the order and the state’s sole abortion business has closed.

Tennessee: Tennessee Governor Wants Abortion Businesses to Close, Killing Babies is Not “Essential” Medical Care

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 and a federal appeals court allowed abortions to continue.

Kentucky: Attorney General Asks Health Department to Shut Down Abortion Clinics to Combat Coronavirus

Iowa: Governor Kim Reynolds Bans Killing Babies in Abortions to Save Medical Resources to Fight Coronavirus

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 judge also ruled that killing babies is somehow “essential” if abortion centers think so. Alabama is appealing the decision.

West Virginia: Gov Bans Killing Babies in Abortions to Save Medical Resources to Fight Coronavirus.

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.

Virginia: Christians Could be Jailed for 1 Year for Attending Church, But Abortion Clinics Can Keep Killing Babies

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.

Minnesota: Minnesota Issues Shelter at Home Order But People Can Still Go Kill Their Babies in Abortions

New Mexico: New Mexico Shuts Down Non-Essential Health Care, But Allows Abortion Clinics to Keep Killing Babies

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.

Pennsylvania: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded. Pro-life groups have criticized Governor Tom Wolf for letting abortions continue.

Maine: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico Shuts Down Pregnancy Center Over Coronavirus, Lets Abortion Clinics Stay Open

Massachusetts: Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.

International

Canada has banned every other non-essential medical procedure except abortion