Several states move to ban abortions as need for hospital beds and supplies increases

Texas, Ohio, and Louisiana are among the states that have moved to include abortions as 'medically unnecessary' surgeries that should be postponed until after the pandemic

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
(Gabriella Demczuk / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 24, 2020 - 12:23pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

As the nation faces an oncoming shortage of hospital beds and medical equipment, several states, including Texas and Ohio, have passed executive orders postponing non-medically necessary procedures from taking place. In Texas, Ohio, and Louisiana, abortion is being counted among that list of procedures.

“No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers. Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law,” read a statement by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

He clarified that the order only applies to, “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

In Texas, a state where a number of towns have declared themselves "sanctuary cities for the unborn," failure to comply to the order could result in a fine of $1,000 or a 180 day jail sentence.

Over the weekend, abortion clinics in Dayton, Cincinnatti, and Cleveland Ohio received letters from the state’s attorney general instructing them to “immediately stop performing nonessential and elective surgical abortions.”

The presidents of Preterm and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region have both said that their clinics will remain open.

“Patients cannot wait until this pandemic is over to receive safe abortion care,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president of Whole Woman’s Health, a Texas abortion clinic.

Also included on the list of postponed procedures are routine dermatologic, ophthalmological, and dental procedures, in addition to orthopedic surgeries.