Judge Stops Ohio Order Banning Abortions as Non-Essential Medical Procedures

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 23, 2020   |   6:41PM   |   Columbus, Ohio

A federal judge again has blocked Ohio health leaders from including elective abortions in their temporary ban on non-essential medical procedures during the coronavirus crisis.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett ruled against the state, arguing that doctors should be the ones to decide on a case-by-case basis if a woman should have a surgical abortion, The Plain Dealer reports.

He also claimed enforcement of the restriction would “inflict irreparable harm” on women seeking abortions.

In late March, Barrett issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing the life-saving restriction on abortions. Then in April, he clarified that some surgical abortions may be delayed on a case-by-case basis if the delay does not threaten the woman’s life or prevent her from getting an abortion at a later date.

However, Barrett’s new ruling allows basically all surgical abortions to continue in Ohio during the health crisis, as long as the abortionist thinks the abortion is necessary.

Planned Parenthood, Preterm Cleveland and other Ohio abortion facilities filed the lawsuit challenging Ohio’s restriction in March.

Because of the order and similar ones 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.

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In Ohio, the order, issued by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, mandates 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.

Attorney General Dave Yost slammed the abortion industry for being irresponsible and endangering lives. His office has been fighting the lawsuit in court.

“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 earlier this month.

Other states are still battling in court to be allowed to include elective abortions in their restrictions on non-essential health care. Earlier this week, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Arkansas to enforce its restriction on abortions.

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.” Common abortion complications include infections, blood clots, hemorrhaging and an incomplete abortion. Abortion risks include future preterm births, breast cancer, suicide, anxiety/depression, and death. And it is not true that abortions are safer than childbirth.