Judge Blocks Oklahoma Ban on Elective Abortion During Pandemic

abortion clinic
AP Photo/Eric Gay

A federal judge in Oklahoma has blocked Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) order that prohibits elective abortions during the coronavirus crisis, ruling that such a restriction places an “undue burden” on abortion access.

Like many governors, Stitt suspended elective medical procedures and surgeries during the pandemic in order to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers caring for victims of the respiratory infection caused by the novel coronavirus.

Judge Charles Goodwin of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, a Donald Trump nominee, wrote, according to UPI:

The Court concludes 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 imposing requirements that effectively deny a right of access to abortion.

Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against Stitt and Attorney General Mike Hunter (R) for suspending elective abortions during the coronavirus crisis.

Since Oklahoma bans abortions past the 20th week of pregnancy, Goodwin’s order allows women who were 16 weeks pregnant on March 24, when Stitt issued the executive order, to obtain an abortion prior to the original lift on the ban on April 7.

“Absent travel to another state, the postponement directed by the executive order and press release would effectively eliminate the ability of persons in Oklahoma to get an abortion if they are 20 weeks pregnant before April 30, 2020,” Goodwin wrote.

According to UPI, the judge also allowed medication abortions to continue in Oklahoma since, he said, they require less medical equipment.

“Let this be a lesson to you that we won’t allow you to put our patients and the community at risk,” Planned Parenthood acting president Alexis McGill Johnson told pro-life politicians and activists on Twitter:

Federal judges in other states have also blocked orders suspending elective abortions to save medical equipment for the treatment of coronavirus victims.

The abortion industry, which profits from the procedure, claims it is an “essential” service that must be available to women.

Pro-life activists, however, say the abortion lobby is exploiting the pandemic for their own gain.


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