Coronavirus and the States: Judges Block Abortion Bans; Governors Push Back on Trump Testing Claims

By: - March 31, 2020 12:00 am

Executive Director Chrisse France talks last month about Preterm, a busy abortion clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Judges in the state overturned coronavirus-related abortion restrictions. Tony Dejak/The Associated Press

Read Stateline coverage of the latest state action on coronavirus.

Yesterday, judges overturned temporary coronavirus-related abortion prohibitions in Alabama, Ohio and Texas. The decisions may have implications for similar bans in Iowa, Mississippi and Oklahoma, where governors designated abortions nonessential.

At least 32 states ordered hospitals and other medical facilities to postpone nonessential surgeries to ease demand for personal protective equipment and other medical supplies during the coronavirus crisis, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.

Several obstetrics and gynecology medical groups issued a statement asking states not to categorize abortion as nonessential. “Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care,” the statement said.

The cases decided in Alabama, Ohio and Texas were brought by Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups. Similar cases are pending in Iowa and Oklahoma.

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Christine Vestal

Christine Vestal covers mental health and drug addiction for Stateline. Previously, she covered health care for McGraw-Hill and the Financial Times.