INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Right to Life says it will urge state and local authorities to monitor abortion clinics to ensure they comply with an emergency order that begins Tuesday.
The goal: to preserve personal protective equipment needed to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Eric Holcomb in the order called on “all health care providers, whether medical, dental or other and health care facilities, whether hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dental facilities, plastic surgery centers, dermatology offices, and abortion clinics” to cancel or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical or invasive procedures. The order also includes veterinarians.
The order defines non-urgent surgical or invasive procedures as ones that would be delayed without “undue risk to the current or future health of the patient as determined by the patient’s treating physician, dentist or health care provider.”
Indiana Right to Life issued a news release congratulating Holcomb on his order.
“Governor Holcomb’s new orders make it clear that abortion clinics are not exempt from complying with the suspension of elective surgeries,” said Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and chief executive officers, in the release. “In a time of crisis and severe medical equipment shortages, abortion clinics must not be allowed to use up precious medical supplies that Hoosiers need during the current health emergency.”
Federal judges in Ohio, Texas, and Alabama on Monday blocked orders banning nonessential medical procedures from limiting abortion access during the coronavirus outbreak.
Federal Judge Michael Barrett in the Southern District of Ohio wrote Monday that the Ohio Department of Health’s order halting nonessential procedures “likely places an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to choose a pre-viability abortion, and thus violates her right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.” He added that “its enforcement would, per se, inflict irreparable harm.”
Federal Judge Lee Yeakel in the Western District of Texas wrote in an order Monday, “The attorney general’s interpretation of the Executive Order prevents Texas women from exercising what the Supreme Court has declared is their fundamental constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable.”
Yeakel, a President George W. Bush nominee, suggested the issue might head to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis. He would “not speculate on whether the Supreme Court included a silent ‘except-in-a-national-emergency clause’” in its previous rulings on abortion.
Nancy Northup, president, and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement Monday that the ruling in the Texas lawsuit “sends a message to other states: Using this pandemic to ban abortion access is unconstitutional. Abortion care is time-sensitive and essential health care that has a profound impact on a person’s health and life, which is why it is protected as a constitutional right.