Providers in Oklahoma can once again begin performing abortions on Friday, after a federal judge ruled that Governor Kevin Stitt’s attempt to ban them cannot be enforced.
The preliminary injunction, issued earlier this week by U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin, replaces the temporary restraining order he implemented last week that allowed most abortions to continue, ABC News reports. A spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said he intends to appeal the decision.
Governor Stitt declared at the end of March that abortions would be included in his temporary ban on “minor medical procedures and elective surgeries,” a decision that promptly resulted in a lawsuit by the Center for Reproductive Rights and other abortion rights groups
“Enough is enough,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told The Oklahoman. “Oklahoma now has struck out three times—twice at the district court and once at the appellate court. It’s time for Oklahoma and other states to stop exploiting the pandemic to close abortion clinics and deny women essential, time-sensitive health care.”
“Abortion is essential, time-sensitive medical care that should not be caught in the crosshairs of political agendas, especially during a public health crisis,” Brandon Hill, president and CEO of Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said in a statement.
Governors across the country have halted nonessential medical procedures in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment and free up hospital staff, prompting Republicans to argue that abortions should be included under those mandates.