CNA Staff, Apr 14, 2020 / 16:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A federal judge said on Easter Sunday that the state of Alabama cannot move to limit abortion procedures through measures intended to focus medical resources on fighting coronavirus.
Granting a preliminary injunction on Sunday, April 12, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson wrote that “efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy, by an undue burden or increase in risk on patients imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers.”
The defendants in this case were Alabama’s state health officer Scott Harris and Attorney General Steve Marshall. The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of Dr. Yashica Robinson. Robinson is an abortion doctor based in Huntsville, AL.
Several other states, including Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas, and Texas, have attempted to classify elective abortions as non-essential procedures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many states have suspended medical procedures deemed non-emergency or non-essential in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus among healthcare professionals and to free up medical resources and hospital capacity.
On March 19. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) issued a statewide order which stopped all medical procedures except for emergencies or those needed to “avoid serious harm from an underlying condition or disease, or necessary as part of a patient’s ongoing and active treatment.”