EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been a controversial topic for decades and now the question of abortion could be finding its way back to the Supreme Court.
Some states are restricting abortions, as coronavirus concerns have put many elective surgeries and non-essential medical procedures on hold. The goal is to limit the supply of personal protective equipment, so healthcare workers on the frontlines battling COVID-19 can have it.
On Tuesday, the Federal Appeals Court in Texas ruled in favor of an executive order to stop any abortions that were non-essential — where the health of the mother is not in jeopardy. This includes medication abortions which are given by a pill.
Planned Parenthood reportedly said it would be going to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to seek relief.
The Texas ruling said that in the midst of an epidemic, a state can “implement emergency measures that curtail constitutional rights.”
“This is not about abortion. Unfortunately, this ends up being the way that these things get debated around here,” Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said. “We can have all those debates later, we need to put out the fire now, and the fire is COVID 19.”
West Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Alabama and Oklahoma have also either considered or have put abortions on hold. Some abortion providers have won lawsuits in those states for emergency relief saying this is a time-sensitive issue.
Locally, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) said they are still open. They have 17 centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
“This health crisis is being used as a tool to shut down clinics, deeming many of our services, including access to abortions as non-essential care,” PPSNE board member Nancie Schwarzman said. “Can you imagine anything more essential and time-sensitive?”
In its annual luncheon on Tuesday, which was virtual this year, PPSNE said it would be keeping their doors open for all critical, time-sensitive services, including abortion, by appointment only.