Cincinnati Planned Parenthood Still Performing Abortions In Violation of Ohio AG's Order
Yost orders clinics to stop 'non-essential and elective' surgical abortions
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost ordered abortion clinics in the state to close. They can remain open; they just can't provide any treatment or procedures that are "non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures that utilize personal protective equipment."
Despite a state health order banning non-essential procedures during the coronavirus health emergency, Ohio abortion clinics remained open last week.
But after receiving complaints, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost ordered two of them to follow Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton’s orders.
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“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,” Yost said.
“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.”
On Wednesday, Acton issued an order saying “all non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures that utilized (personal protective equipment) should not be conducted.” The state is attempting preserve supplies of equipment needed in combating the virus.
“Abortion care is a time-sensitive medical situation that cannot be significantly delayed without profound consequences," NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said in response to Yost's letter.
In a statement, Iris E. Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, and Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, said: “Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to offer other health care services that our patients depend on. Our doors remain open for this care.”
Various Ohio groups opposed to abortion rights questioned the clinics’ actions; one even recorded video of people going in and out to prove it was open.
Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, wrote Friday to Ohio Planned Parenthood President Iris Harvey, accusing the group of violating the state order.
“By performing surgical abortions, your company is putting the health and safety of all Ohioans in danger,” Gonidakis said. “Your current noncompliance will undoubtedly contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and put the lives of first responders, nurses and doctors in danger.”
Although Yost’s letters went only to Women’s Med Center in Dayton and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Cincinnati Surgery Center, the two about which Yost’s office received complaints, Bethany McCorkle, Yost’s communication director, said the order to stop all non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures that require personal protective equipment applies to all clinics.