FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky has joined Texas, Ohio, Alabama and Oklahoma in the legal fight to force abortion clinics to shut down elective procedures like other health professions during the coronavirus outbreak.
Abortion providers are suing the states, claiming they are entitled to receive a blanket exemption from such orders and should not have to follow the same rules as everyone else.
The amicus briefs support each of the state’s executive orders, which require abortion providers to follow the same mandates as all other medical providers and stop elective procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit this week temporarily upheld the Texas executive order halting elective procedures, staying a decision by the lower court that had allowed elective abortion procedures to continue.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined two amicus briefs in the Fifth Circuit on this issue, one arguing in favor of the temporary ruling, and one arguing the Texas executive order should be upheld for the duration of the pandemic.
Abortion advocates have said they are simply pro-choice, which refutes their argument that abortions are anything other than elective procedures, Cameron said.
By ignoring the ban on elective medical procedures, abortion providers are willfully putting their own patients at risk for contracting COVID-19 as well as risking the health of our frontline healthcare workers who need the PPE used for elective abortion procedures, Cameron argued in the brief on the state’s behalf.
“We stand with Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Oklahoma in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we, again, call on our Acting Secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Eric Friedlander, to certify the Commonwealth’s abortion providers are violating his ban on elective medical procedures so that our office can take immediate action here in Kentucky,” Cameron said of the debate.
Last week, Cameron called on Friedlander to certify, pursuant to KRS 15.241, that Kentucky’s abortion providers are violating the ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friedlander has not responded to the request, and abortion providers continue to perform elective abortion procedures in the Commonwealth, in violation of Gov. Beshear’s executive order, Cameron argues.
On March 14, Gov. Beshear recommended hospitals cease performing elective procedures. Subsequently, on March 23, Friedlander ordered all non-emergent, non-urgent in-person medical, surgical, dental, and any other healthcare practice or procedure to cease.