Despite a state ban on non-essential procedures, some abortions will be allowed to continue. Judge Charles Goodwin of the United State Sixth District has issued a temporary restraining order on the ban, allowing abortions to continue immediately.
The executive order from Governor Kevin Stitt banning all non-essential medical procedures and surgeries was issued in March, but in a press release, he later confirmed that this included abortion. “We must ensure that our health care professionals, first responders and medical facilities have all of the resources they need to combat COVID-19,” Stitt said in the release. “I am committed to doing whatever necessary to protect those who are on the front lines fighting against this virus.”
Goodwin’s ruling only allows abortion for women who will be past the legal limit — which is 20 weeks in Oklahoma — by April 30th, when the ban will end. He also allowed chemical abortions to resume immediately. In truth, abortion is not medically necessary, and it is not health care. Though other medical procedures were banned due to a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) — including dermatological, ophthalmological, and dental procedures, and scheduled healthcare procedures like orthopedic surgeries — abortion has been singled out as essential.
In his ruling, Goodwin wrote “that while the current public health emergency allows the State of Oklahoma to impose some of the cited measures delaying abortion procedures, it has acted in an ‘unreasonable,’ ‘arbitrary,’ and ‘oppressive’ way — and imposed an ‘undue burden’ on abortion access — in imposing requirements that effectively deny a right of access to abortion.”
Ryan Scott Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, previously criticized the idea that elective abortions are being treated as “essential” health care. “So two federal judges say it’s ‘unconstitutional’ to temporarily ban abortion during this #coronavirus pandemic. Why?” he wrote on Facebook. “Abortion is touted as a ‘woman’s right to choose’, therefore it’s elective. Why does the abortion industry receive separate and unequal treatment? While all other elective (real) medical procedures have been banned during this time, abortion businesses claim ‘constitutionality’ from a ruling that was heinously unconstitutional (#RoeVWade)?”
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said his office plans to appeal the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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