This story has been updated on March 30 with additional states and CDC data.
One of the temporary restrictions being passed in states is prohibiting elective surgical procedures due to COVID-19, yet some states are playing politics by making an exception for elective abortions at Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities.
Although the situation is rather fluid in nature, here are some of the latest status reports on those states with orders to stop elective, non-essential surgeries and those states giving an exemption for elective abortions. (Sources: LifeNews, Live Action News, Politico, CDC)
FACT: The top eight states with the most COVID-19 cases reported have all allowed exemptions for abortions to continue despite a statewide order to prohibit elective surgical procedures (as of March 30).
States playing politics by providing an exemption for elective abortions despite the order to stop all elective procedures:
New York (#1 of states with COVID-19 cases reported – 59,219 total as of March 30, 2020): Planned Parenthood continues to perform abortions and is actually “preparing for an influx of patients seeking surgical abortions.”
New Jersey (#2 in reported cases – 13,386): Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded. Governor makes an exception for “the full range of family planning services and procedures, including terminations of pregnancies” from his executive order that suspends elective surgeries.
California (#3 – 5,739): Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded.
Michigan (#4 – 5,486): “Reproductive health clinics in Michigan are still providing abortion services, citing an exemption for “pregnancy-related visits and procedures” in Gov. Whitmer’s executive order restricting non-essential medical services.” (Lansing State Journal)
Massachusetts (#5 – 4,955): State Department of Health says “terminating a pregnancy is not considered a nonessential, elective invasive procedure for the purpose of this guidance.”
Florida (#6 – 4,768): “At this time and under regular circumstances, medical professionals are responsible for determining the urgency of surgeries and the impact procedures will have on patients,” says Governor Ron Disantis.
Illinois (#7 – 4,596) Abortion clinics were included in a list of essential health services released March 20 by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) administration, according to NBC Chicago.
Washington (#8 – 4,506): Shut down non-essential health care but abortion centers are excluded. (Note: Washington State was #4 at time of first publishing.)
Pennsylvania (#10 – 3,394): Prohibited all elective surgical procedures but abortion centers are excluded.
Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania announced that they are now 100% abortion – their facilities are closed to all service except abortion.
Take Action: Call your State Senator and State Representative to let them know you think this is unacceptable. For their contact information, click here.
Colorado (#13 – 2,307): Gov. Jared Polis (D) says a medical procedure is considered essential if “there is a risk of metastasis or progression of staging of a disease or condition if the surgery or procedure is not performed.”
Virginia (#20 – 1,020): Governor Northam directs “all hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures” but order does not apply to “the full suite of family planning services and procedures.”
Minnesota (#29 – 576): Abortion services are considered essential as part of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s (D) COVID-19 emergency plan, according to the Star Tribune.
Oregon (#30 – 548): Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency order “exempts abortion services from its delay of non-urgent surgical procedures,” says Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D).
Hawaii (#44 – 141): “While the current situation is burdening many sectors of our society, there is no basis to infringe upon a woman’s right to safe medical services, including reproductive health care, as part of the government’s response to COVID-19,” says Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors (D).
States ordering to stop all elective surgical procedures, including abortions:
Louisiana (#9 of states with COVID-19 reported cases – 3,540 total): Abortion centers are included in the order to close and all three have closed.
Texas (#12 in reported cases – 2,552): Abortion centers are temporarily closed after Gov. Greg Abbott’s order.
Tennessee (#16 – 1,537): Governor Bill Lee issued a “halt to non-emergency dental work and nonessential hospital and surgical outpatient procedures, but the order did not specifically mention abortion…The order defines a non-essential procedure as one “that is not necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve the health and safety of a patient, as determined by a licensed medical provider.” However, a spokesperson for Gov. Lee indicated his office wanted abortion included and expressed “hope and expectation” that abortion would be halted.
Maryland (#19 – 1,239): Abortion centers are included in Gov. Hogan’s order to close but whether they have officially closed is unknown.
Oklahoma (#31 – 481): “Gov. Kevin Stitt… amended his executive order to specifically prohibit abortions unless necessary to prevent health risks to the mother. The ban would apply through April 7, although it could be extended.”
Iowa (#34 – 336): Abortion centers are included in Governor Reynolds’ order to close.
Nebraska (#46 – 120): On March 26, 2020, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts released an order which prohibits elective surgery. He also clarified that the order also includes abortions.