On Friday, March 20, the Ohio Attorney General’s office issued a letter to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Cincinnati Surgery Center and another to the Women’s Med Center in Dayton that pointed out that the non-essential and or elective surgeries and procedures utilizing personal protective equipment the two organizations were continuing to perform must be canceled.
But as the pro-life organization Live Action pointed out, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s Cincinnati Surgery Center thumbed its nose at the state, writing on its Facebook page the very next day that it was “complying” with the order, but added, “Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion … Our doors remain open.”
In the letter to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Attorney General Dave Yost’s office had written:
On March 17, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health issued an order pursuant to the Department’s powers under R.C. 3701.13. That order (attached) cancelled all non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures utilizing personal protective equipment (“PPE”) as of 5:00 p.m. on March 18, 2020. The order was issued, in part, to preserve PPE for health care providers who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading in our state and also to preserve critical hospital capacity and resources.
The Ohio Department of Health has received a complaint that your facility has been performing or continues to offer to perform surgical abortions, which necessarily involve the use of PPE. On behalf of the Department, 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. The Department of Health has outlined criteria to consider when determining whether a procedure is essential (see attached order). If you or your facility do not immediately stop performing non-essential or elective surgical abortions in compliance with the attached order, the Department of Health will take all appropriate measures.
This is an unprecedented time in the state’s history and everyone must do their part to help stop the spread of this disease.
LiveAction noted, “According to The Columbus Dispatch, one abortion facility spokeswoman whom the news outlet contacted ‘pointed to a statement from a consortium of gynecological groups saying clinics should remain open,’ disregarding the state of Ohio’s order.”
Ohio Right to Life president Michael Gonidakis wrote to Ohio Planned Parenthood President Iris Harvey, “By performing surgical abortions, your company is putting the health and safety of all Ohioans in danger. Your current noncompliance will undoubtedly contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and put the lives of first responders, nurses and doctors in danger.”
As Live Action noted, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently stated in a press release:
Continuing to perform elective abortions during a pandemic is medically irresponsible. Abortions use up much needed resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. The practice also potentially generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms … Uterine perforation and hemorrhage can occur with surgical abortions. Because most abortion providers do not manage their own complications, instead instructing women to go to an ER if they have problems, emergency rooms who are already struggling to keep up with the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to need to provide care to these women.