Special treatment: Some states keep abortion businesses open during pandemic

Image: NJ Gov Phil Murphy speaks at Planned Parenthood event (Image: Twitter)

The profitable abortion industry and its political allies are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by carving out exceptions for abortion in published orders prohibiting non-essential and elective surgeries during the pandemic. Abortion is not an essential service; it kills human beings in the womb, the most vulnerable among us. Not only that, but there is a very real potential for complications from surgical as well as chemical abortion (abortion pill), which will divert resources from those suffering from COVID-19 (coronavirus). Despite this, some state governors seem to be paying back abortion allies like Planned Parenthood, which tend to contribute heavily to politicians who promote their pro-abortion agenda. Below are states who are giving the abortion industry a free pass during a time of worldwide crisis:


According to a local media report from March 27, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis, is allowing abortions to continue under his order.

An email from the state’s Joint Information Center on COVID-19 to reads, “This executive order allows for the delay of all non-urgent or non-emergency procedures or surgeries which, if delayed, do not place a patient’s immediate health, safety or wellbeing at risk, or will, if delayed, not contribute to the worsening of a serious or life-threatening medical condition.”

“At this time and under regular circumstances, medical professionals are responsible for determining the urgency of surgeries and the impact procedures will have on patients….If the medical professional decides that the patient is in need of emergency surgery and/or that delaying the procedure will be life-threatening to the patient, they should proceed as normal.” The paper went on to quote from a PP statement, rather than the order, “Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to offer other health care services that our patients depend on. Our doors remain open for this care.” While this report indicates the state is giving abortion a pass, it does appear to suggest that the information is coming from PP – so Live Action News will continue to momitor.


Live Action News previously documented how on March 15, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker declared abortion to be exempted from the state’s “nonessential” health services category — therefore, considering it “essential” to continue during a pandemic. The abortion industry naturally has a financial self-interest in promoting abortion during a pandemic.

Image: Mass carves out exception for abortion in COVID19 executive order (Image: Twitter)

Mass carves out exception for abortion in COVID19 executive order (Image: Twitter)

The order was made in conjunction with an emergency declaration issued by the governor, which excludes abortion from being listed as a “nonessential” elective invasive procedure, stating, “DPH defines nonessential, elective invasive procedures as procedures that are scheduled in advance because the procedure does not involve a medical emergency; provided, however, that terminating a pregnancy is not considered a nonessential, elective invasive procedure for the purpose of this guidance. However, the ultimate decision is based on clinical judgement by the caring physician.”


According to, “Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan says Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order, issued Friday, to prohibit elective procedures does not extend to abortions. Whitmer supports abortion rights.” On March 25, 2020, the Lansing State Journal acknowledged that abortions are still being committed.

Right to Life of Michigan has issued a press release calling for the governor to halt abortions. It reads in part, “Botched abortions can require follow-up surgical procedures or emergency room visits. Use of the abortion pill often results in complications such as excessive bleeding requiring visits to a doctor’s office. Patients and staff inside abortion facilities increases the likelihood of coronavirus spreading from close contact.


A Star Tribune report from May 25, 2020, states that while “Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order Wednesday asking Minnesotans to stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary… Walz specifically mentioned clinics providing reproductive healthcare as essential services allowed to stay open.”

New Jersey

On March 23, 2020, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy published an order in which he — a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood — included an exemption for abortion facilities. It states in part, “As part of the state’s effort to preserve the capacity of the health care system to respond to COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 109, directing the suspension of all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults that are scheduled to take place after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27. The Governor’s Executive Order applies to all medical and dental operations that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of the patient, as determined by the patient’s physician or dentist.”

In addition to the suspension outlined above, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order also requires the following:

  • Protecting the capacity of hospitals: Physicians and dentists, who are planning to perform surgery or invasive procedures in their offices, must consider the potential burden of post-surgery complications on local hospitals prior to performing any operation.
  • Explicit exemption for family planning and termination of pregnancies: The order provides that it shall not be interpreted in any way to limit access to family planning services, including termination of pregnancies.
Image: NJ Gov carves out exception for abortion in COVID19 executive order

NJ Gov carves out exception for abortion in COVID19 executive order

New York

Buzzfeed reported earlier this week that abortion facilities were still open in New York during the pandemic.

Image: NY abortion remains open amidst COVID19 (Image: Matt Walsh on Twitter)

NY abortion remains open amidst COVID19 (Image: Matt Walsh on Twitter)

The Governor of New York, a staunch supporter of abortion and Planned Parenthood, canceled all elective surgeries in the state, effective March 25, 2020, but the executive order did not mention abortion. Planned Parenthood is headquartered in New York and indicated they are open during the COVID-19 crisis, calling abortion “essential healthcare.” However, a message on the Planned Parenthood of Greater New York affiliate website states, “Our health centers in Bronx, Glen Cove, Goshen, Hornell, Kingston, Massapequa, Monticello, Oneida, Queens, Rome, Staten Island, and Watkins Glen will be closed on Wednesday, 3/25.”

Then, on March 26, 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a statement calling for local and federal officials to to protect abortion access during the COVID-19 crisis. It read in part (emphasis added):

To be clear, the coronavirus is not an excuse for federal, state, or local governments to curtail women’s reproductive freedoms or limit their choices. Any woman who wants to go into a doctor’s office or into a clinic today and get an abortion should continue to be able to do so. And for those who do not feel comfortable leaving their homes as we battle COVID-19, we are fighting to maintain women’s access to abortion and the abortion pill so that their reproductive choices are not limited.

North Carolina

On March 20, 2020, the state published an order requiring that “all hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers suspend all elective and non-urgent procedures and surgeries. Elective and non-urgent procedures and surgeries are defined as any procedure or surgery that if not done within the next 4 weeks would cause harm to the patient. Beginning today, March 20th, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers should institute an explicit, real-time review of all non-time sensitive procedures and surgeries.”

According to, “North Carolina, health department spokeswoman Sarah Peel said abortion clinics would not be covered by a directive asking hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to suspend all elective and non-urgent procedures and surgeries.”


On March 25, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued an order that “directed all hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures to help conserve supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE)….” He then added that, “This Order does not apply to the full suite of family planning services and procedures nor to treatment for patients with emergency or urgent needs.”

He was immediately thanked by Planned Parenthood and NARAL on Twitter.



According to the order, there is an exception for abortion. It reads:

EXCEPTION: The above prohibition does not apply to the full suite of family planning services and procedures or to treatment for patients with emergency/urgent needs (examples of the latter include, but are not limited to, people with heart attacks, strokes, or motor vehicle accidents)

A report published March 19, 2020 by the News Tribune states that Planned Parenthood went to to thank Gov. Inslee for “recognizing that reproductive health care including abortion is care that can’t wait, and for making sure it WILL continue to be available.”


Most states, in their orders to halt all non-essential and elective procedure, do not clarify whether abortion is permitted under the various procedure bans during COVID-19. Abortion facilities in many states continue to kill preborn children, using vital resources that could otherwise be used to save lives.

Here are the states that do not specifically clarify whether abortion is permitted in their orders to halt elective/non-essential procedures:

ARIZONA: The order “halts all elective surgeries in the state,” but doesn’t mention abortion.

CALIFORNIA: The state includes healthcare in its shelter-in-place order. It reads in part, “The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions, and health care. When people need to leave their homes or places of residence, whether to obtain or perform the functions above, or to otherwise facilitate authorized necessary activities, they should at all times practice social distancing….The healthcare delivery system shall prioritize services to serving those who are the sickest and shall prioritize resources, including personal protective equipment, for the providers providing direct care to them.”

The State’s Q&A also states, “Non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, and elective procedures must/should be cancelled or rescheduled. If possible, health care visits should be done remotely.”

Despite a shelter-in-place order in California, the Dallas Morning News reported a claim that from Dr. Abigail Aiken, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, that “Calfornia has classified abortion as an essential health service.” Live Action News is attempting to verify.

COLORADO: The order allows surgeries to continue for limited reasons. But abortion-supporting media like Rewire News argue that because it states that a procedure is allowable if “there is a risk of metastasis or progression of staging of a disease or condition if the surgery or procedure is not performed,” then that means abortion is allowable.

CONNECTICUT: Connecticut’s order halting non-essential procedures and health care does not specify abortion either way.

DELAWARE: It appears that Delaware’s orders do not specify abortion either way. A report by states, “Governor Carney says any activity that is essential to your health and the health and wellbeing of your family members including pets is when you should leave your home. That includes picking up and delivering groceries or prescriptions to your loved ones, and even taking them to the doctor.”

GEORGIA: According to Rewire News, rather than halt elective surgeries as hospitals have chosen to do, the Feminist Women’s Health Center abortion chain has prioritized abortion over what they refer to as “elective wellness services.” Prolifers in in the state are calling for the governor to prohibit abortion during COVID-19, claiming that while hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers are being prudent, abortion facilities are still operating.

HAWAII: Media reports indicate that Hawaii Gov. David Ige has ordered the entire state, except for essential workers, to stay at home and work. The order lists “healthcare services” as an exception and does not specify abortion either way.

ILLINOIS: The Illinois Department of Public Health is recommending “cancelling ALL elective surgeries and procedures to immediately decompress the healthcare system during the COVID-19 response that are considered non-emergent or elective.” No indication was given whether abortion would be exempt. The state has one of the most liberal laws regarding abortion for any reason.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health director Ngozi Ezike, MD, have asked asked for all outpatient surgery centers and veterinarians to “donate unused personal protective equipment to providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.” Despite the plea for valuable medical resources, several Planned Parenthood facilities vowed to remain open. A media report from March 20 states, “Planned Parenthood has temporarily closed all but 6 Illinois locations during the COVID-19 crisis.” The facilities that remain (Austin, Chicago, Aurora, SpringfieldFlossmoor, and Peoria) all commit abortions.

INDIANA: An order issued in Indiana states that, “Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers should cancel and/or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical procedures immediately. This action will help the healthcare system conserve resources and personnel necessary to meet emerging health needs. Physicians should continue to perform critical procedures necessary to prevent short-term and/or long-term adverse effects to their patients’ overall health.”

But according to Indiana Right to Life, “In spite of state and federal directives ordering the suspension of elective surgical procedures, Indiana’s surgical abortion centers are continuing to do a booming business.”

KANSAS: According to the Washington Times, “Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell said Monday that he’ll ask the commission to strip abortion clinics from the list of “essential” businesses that can stay open during the pandemic, thus shuttering the Trust Women Wichita Clinic, The Wichita Eagle reported.”

MAINE: An order issued by Gov. Janet T. Mills recommends “[p]ostponing all non-urgent medical procedures, elective surgeries, and appointments at hospitals and health care providers across the state until further notice…. This will relieve the strain on the health care system as Maine prioritizes COVID-19-related cases.” The order does not specifically mention abortion.

PENNSYLVANIA: Governor Tom Wolf issued an order for all “non life sustaining businesses” to close. Despite this, on March 25, 2020, ABC27 reported, “Planned Parenthood Keystone, one of three regions in Pennsylvania for the state’s largest abortion provider, recently announced that their abortion-performing facilities will remain open ‘for abortion services only.’ Another region in the state, Planned Parenthood Southeastern PA, announced they have temporarily closed their centers but this “does NOT include their abortion services.”

A Planned Parenthood Facebook post from March 24, 2020, reads, “To ensure the health and safety of our patients, staff, and community, Planned Parenthood Keystone has temporarily closed all of its health centers for family planning visits effective March 23, 2020. At this time, Planned Parenthood Keystone is serving patients in Allentown, Wilkes-Barre, Warminster, Reading, York, and Harrisburg for abortion services only.”

The Pennsylvania Family Council has called for the governor to close abortion businesses.

VERMONT: This order “determined it is necessary to suspend all non-essential adult elective surgery and medical and surgical procedures…” and does not specify abortion either way.

WASHINGTON, D.C.An order issued March 17th does not specify abortion either way. It reads in part, “In addition to halting all hospital elective procedures, the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) is recommending that ALL elective medical procedures, non‐urgent hospital and outpatient visits, and non‐urgent dental procedures be postponed to preserve health care capacity as our community mitigation strategies work to flatten the epidemic curve… While many elective procedures have limited side‐effects, all procedures carry the possibility of complications that may necessitate additional medical treatment. In an abundance of caution to conserve medical resources, elective or non‐urgent medical and dental procedures should be postponed if the delay will not cause harm. Providers are encouraged to use telehealth options as appropriate. If telehealth is not an appropriate option, providers should reschedule appointments whenever possible. “

WEST VIRGINIAThe order is very broad. It does not mention abortion specifically, and states, “Any activity is essential if the purpose of the activity is… obtaining non-elective medical care….” However, the definition of a business that is “essential” includes terms such as “clinics” and others which the abortion industry could very easily exploit.

Read about other ways the abortion industry is seeking to exploit this pandemic:

  • Claiming that targeting preborn children with abortion is “essential” to protect lives — an oxymoron.
  • Pushing for the FDA to lift their REMS safety requirements and expand use of the abortion pill online or in pharmacies.
  • Push telemedicine for abortion or the abortion pill in states where it is prohibited.

Click here to learn which states are attempting to protect preborn human beings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editor’s Note: This post will continue to be updated as further information becomes available. 

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