There’s a lot of bullshit going on at the hands of politicians right now. In the face of a global pandemic, Republicans in Idaho have been using their time to attack trans student-athletes, and in Ohio, it appears that politicians are using the covid-19 outbreak directly as an excuse to suspend abortion services in the state.
You and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions. Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient. If you or your facility do not immediately stop performing non-essential or elective surgical abortions in compliance with the [health director’s] order, the Department of Health will take all appropriate measures.
The letters came from Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost who, in 2019, had said “Sometimes, the evolution of the law requires bold steps,” after the state became one of six to pass some of the most restrictive abortion laws on the books, commonly known as “heartbeat bans.”
Abortion is, as we know, an essential procedure, so there is some small hope that providers may be able to argue for continuing to provide their services. This is the tact, at least, that the Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region is taking, saying in a statement that they would “still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to offer other health care services that our patients depend on.” It’s unlikely the Attorney General will see it as such, but the statement is further proof as to why we should fully fund Planned Parenthood, which continues to be a beacon of hope and strength even under the most difficult of circumstances.
Following Friday’s letter, NARAL President Ilyse Hogue released a statement calling out the Attorney General’s abortion halt for what it was, a push to further a political agenda disguised as care in a time of crisis.
This move is part of a coordinated effort and Governor DeWine and Attorney General Yost’s close ties to extreme anti-choice groups like Ohio Right to Life are no secret. Medical care shouldn’t be determined by politicians pushing their own self-serving agenda—peoples’ needs must always come first, especially at a time like this. It’s alarming to see the lengths they will go to in an effort to deny us our fundamental freedoms, and we refuse to stand by as they put dangerous ideology above the collective health and well-being of Ohioans.
I guess it’s unsurprising that horrible politicians are going to continue to push their horrible agendas even in the face of horrible times, but it would be great if they could just stop for a moment and focus on fixing one problem as opposed to creating more.