Ohio has just become the first state to specify abortion as a “nonessential” medical procedure to be postponed as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to deplete medical equipment such as gloves, gowns, and masks.
According to CNN, top health care officials across the country believe there is not enough stockpiled medical protective equipment to meet the need of the nation’s healthcare system in dealing with the virus. In an effort to conserve equipment and hospital beds, the White House recommended canceling nonessential elective surgeries.
While other states have made it clear that abortion is considered “essential” and should carry on business as usual, the Ohio Attorney General’s office sent letters to several abortion clinics ordering them to cease “services.”
“The order was issued, in part, to preserve PPE (personal protective equipment) for health care providers who are battling the Covid-19 pandemic that is spreading in our state and also to preserve critical hospital capacity and resources,” read the letters, according to CNN.
The letters comply with an order from Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, who wrote that effective March 18, all non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures “should not be conducted.”
“This is not an abortion issue,” Bethany McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, told CNN. “A letter was also sent to a urology group that was allegedly performing elective surgeries. As our client, if Dr. Acton’s office determines that her order was violated by any surgical facility in Ohio, they can refer it to our office to pursue legal action on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health.”
In the order, Acton defined a nonessential surgery as “any procedure that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient.”
However, Ohio abortion providers have defined abortion as “essential health care” and are thus far refusing to cancel a single appointment.
“Planned Parenthood’s top priority is ensuring that every person can continue accessing essential health care, including abortion,” Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region said in a statement. “Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to provide services that our patients depend on.”
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— Planned Parenthood (@PPSWO) March 21, 2020
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio argued that “abortion care is a time-sensitive medical situation that cannot be significantly delayed without profound consequences.”
“Ohioans are continuing to rely on their trusted community abortion providers during this crisis, and Ohio’s elected officials should not stand between patients and their doctors,” the group said. “Abortion is an essential health service. Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Right to Life president and State Medical Board member Mike Gonidakis should not be exploiting the Covid-19 crisis to further their agenda to close Ohio’s abortion clinics.”
In a press conference on Saturday, Acton said the order was strictly about preserving medical equipment to stave off shortages in the event that Ohio hospitals become overrun with coronavirus patients.
“I am the doctor for 11.7 million people and all women no matter where they fall on this,” Acton said. “…We cannot allow the politics of things to get in the way of doing what we have to do in a state of emergency.”
Pray that God can use this crisis to reveal the harsh reality of abortion and just how unnecessary it truly is.
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