AS the US begins to lay down the regulations and restrictions needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Texas has joined Ohio in stating that almost all abortions should be considered as non-essential procedures and should be delayed.
This topic has arrived after numerous states throughout the country have come to terms with their lack of critical medical equipment, including hospital space, masks and ventilators. Medical staff have been asking for extra supplies and protective gear as many have to take sick leave due to their exposure to the virus.
In order to make these medical resources readily available, Texas Attorney General Paxton clarified that “no one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers”.
The order expires on April 21, however, if this order has been violated, individuals can face up to 180 days in jail or a $1,000 (€923) fine.
This political decision has been highly criticised by abortion rights groups in the US, as they argue that abortion should be considered an essential service. They also note that most abortion care is not delivered in a hospital setting.
In Ohio where similar action has been taken, the Attorney General Dave Yost informed clinics that they should stop all abortion services which require the use of medical protective equipment.
The Planned Parenthood clinic responded by saying it would be able to completely comply with their orders regarding the use of protective gear, however it would still be providing “essential procedures, including surgical abortion”.