"We are thankful to Attorney General Yost for protecting Ohio's most vulnerable populations and holding abortion clinics accountable to the law," Ohio Right to Life said March 21.
The pro-life group had previously written Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio to complain about what it said was a violation of the order.
"As countless other clinics across the state comply with this health order and prioritize the lives of their fellow Ohioans, Planned Parenthood continues to put profit and abortion above the safety of our society's most vulnerable members--children and the elderly," Ohio Right to Life president Michael Gonidakis said March 21.
If the Ohio Department of Health finds its order was violated by any surgical facility in the state, the attorney general office's spokeswoman said, "they can refer it to our office to pursue legal action on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health."
In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton said Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide order barring non-essential surgeries applied to abortion clinics.
"We must work together as Texans to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our health care professionals and facilities have all the resources they need to fight the virus at this time," said Paxton. "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."
Failure to comply with the Texas executive order could mean fines of up to $1,000 or 180 days in jail.
The Ohio letters were sent to facilities only if they were subjects of complaints to the health department, the Washington Post reports. Besides Planned Parenthood Ohio Southwest Region, abortion clinics which received letters included the Women's Med Center in Dayton and the Preterm facility in Cleveland.
"The Ohio Department of Health has received a complaint that your facility has been performing or continues to perform surgical abortions, which necessarily involve the use of (personal protective equipment)," Fulkerson's letter to the Planned Parenthood affiliate said.
"Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient," he said, referring to the health department's criteria.
These criteria for essential procedures include threat to a patient's life, "threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system," and "risk of rapidly worsening to severe symptoms" unless the surgery is performed.
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Fulkerson said he looked forward to hearing confirmation that Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and its facility are complying with the order.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said abortion is "a time-sensitive medical situation that cannot be significantly delayed without profound consequences." It accused the attorney general and Gonidakis of Ohio Right to Life of "exploiting the Covid-19 crisis to further their agenda to close Ohio's abortion clinics," CNN reports.
A March 18 joint statement from eight medical groups including the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, which tends to take pro-abortion rights stands, asserted that abortion is "an essential component of comprehensive health care."
The groups argued that abortion is "a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible."
"The consequences of being unable to obtain an abortion profoundly impact a person's life, health, and well-being," said the joint statement, encouraging collaboration between community- and hospital-based clinicians to "ensure abortion access is not compromised during this time."