Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that exempts abortion clinics from a mandate to cancel all elective surgeries.
Several abortion providers sued the state last Monday seeking relief from the Ohio Department of Health’s order to cancel all elective and non-essential surgeries.
Just a few hours after the lawsuit was filed, Judge Michael Barrett of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio returned with a ruling and granted abortion providers a temporary restraining order allowing abortions to continue for the time being.
“Enforcement of the Director’s Order as applied to surgical abortion procedures will result in an unconstitutional deprivation of Plaintiffs’ patients’ Fourteenth Amendment right to substantive due process because enforcement creates a substantial obstacle in the path of patients seeking pre-viability abortions, thus creating an undue burden on abortion access,” Barrett said in ruling.
Planned Parenthood Acting President Alexis McGill Johnson said the “swift ruling” should send a “clear message to politicians and anti-abortion activists.”
“Exploiting a global pandemic to ban abortion is illegal. Anti-abortion activists have tried to exploit fear of the COVID-19 pandemic to push a dangerous political agenda. Enough is enough. It’s time to get to work and do what’s necessary to contain the COVID-19 virus and address urgent public health needs that threaten our communities,” she said in a statement.
Chrisse France, executive director of Preterm clinic, argued that “abortion is an essential and time-sensitive health care service.”
“Everyone deserves to have access to safe, timely care and a delay of only a few weeks can make abortion completely inaccessible,” she added.
Attorney General Yost, however, filed a notice Wednesday stating that Ohio will appeal Barrett’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and request a stay of the order until the appeal is decided.
“This is the right thing to do and we thank Gov. DeWine and Attorney General Dave Yost for their quick action. Why should abortion facilities be exempt from the health directives issued to all ambulatory surgical facilities? Abortion is not an emergency situation,” said Molly Smith, president of Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio. “By defying the directives issued by the Ohio Department of Health the abortion facilities in Ohio put all citizens in danger.”
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