AUSTIN, Texas, USA (AP) – Texas and Ohio bans on limiting all nonessential surgery have sparked a new battle over the right to abortion amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered Sunday to limit the use of medical equipment to prepare for an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients. The order prohibits hospitals from performing surgeries unless the patient faces an imminent danger of “serious adverse medical effects or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.”
An Abbott spokesperson confirmed that the order includes abortions.
Anti-abortion activists in Texas praised the move.
“The abortion industry has been hoarding desperately needed medical equipment in the state such as masks, gloves and other protective supplies,” the Texas Right to Life group, which opposes the termination of pregnancy, said Monday.
A spokesperson for family planning organization Planned Parenthood in Texas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In Ohio, clinics received a letter Friday from Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, ordering them to stop all “non-essential” surgical abortions because they said they violated an order issued March 17 by the state’s director of public health.
Clinics, groups defending the right of women to decide and even several legislators rejected the measure, pointing out that abortions are essential and urgent.
“Always during an emergency there is a possibility that the government will go too far citing the need for ‘security’ or ‘maintaining law and order,'” the Democratic legislature caucus said in a statement.
“In times of national crisis, we have seen before how excessive measures are applied that violate our rights. And let there be no doubt: that is what we are seeing today, “he added.