Doctors Sue to Stop Abortions During Coronavirus Outbreak, Say Killing Babies is “Not Essential”

State   |   Tom Ciesielka   |   Apr 29, 2020   |   11:25AM   |   St. Paul, Minnesota

A coalition of doctors and Minnesota residents have sued the state’s abortion providers to stop them from performing surgical abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaint names Governor Tim Walz, Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health Jan Malcolm, and each of Minnesota’s five abortion clinics as defendants. The plaintiffs include doctors, nurses, the AALFA Family Clinic, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Pro-Life Action Ministries, and several concerned individuals.

The complaint notes that Governor Walz has ordered a halt to all “non-essential or elective” surgeries and procedures that use personal protective equipment (such as masks, gloves, and gowns). Because the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment, the Governor suspended elective surgeries to conserve personal protective equipment for COVID-19 first responders and others providing essential and medically necessary health care.

But the State Department of Health is refusing to enforce the Governor’s order against abortion providers. And state officials are allowing abortion clinics to squander personal protective equipment on elective and unnecessary surgical abortions—even when medication abortion (which uses less personal protective equipment) remains available as an alternative means of aborting a pregnancy. At the same time, the Governor has shut down all other elective surgeries and procedures that consume personal protective equipment except for abortion, which exempts abortion providers from the rules that all other health-care providers are required to follow.

“Not only is the governor’s action in allowing elective surgical abortion dangerously unsafe,” explained Thomas More Society Special Counsel Erick Kaardal, “but critically and irresponsibly wasteful. These elective abortion procedures take personal protective equipment away from hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, doctors, nurses, and others on the frontlines of trying to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.”

The lawsuit is also challenging the Governor’s decision to exempt abortion-clinic workers from executive orders that mandate social distancing.

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The lawsuit asks the court to declare that Walz, Malcolm, and the state’s abortion clinics are violating the Equal Protection Clause by exempting abortion providers from Minnesota’s COVID-19 prevention measures. The complaint is also requesting that Walz and Malcolm be enjoined from enforcing their COVID-19 executive orders “unless and until those orders are amended or reinterpreted to prohibit surgical abortions.” The plaintiffs also seek an injunction to stop the defendant abortion clinics from performing surgical abortions when medication abortion remains available.

AALFA Family Clinic is an independent center providing a range of medical services for families located in the Twin Cities area with eight medical professionals on staff. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a professional medical group with over 4,500 members. These medical practitioners, along with Pro-Life Action Ministries—a life advocacy group—and the individual citizens filing suit, are condemning Walz and Malcom for wasting the state’s limited supply of personal protective equipment and aggravating the spread of COVID-19 by undermining Minnesota’s social-distancing efforts.

Read the Thomas More Society’s complaint on behalf of AALFA Family Clinic and its medical professionals, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Pro-Life Action Ministries, and the individually named Minnesota residents, filed April 28, 2020, with the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota Fourth Division in Pro-Life Action Ministries, et al. v. Tim Walz, et al., here.