Abortion providers in Ohio, Alabama, and Iowa are suing over coronavirus abortion restrictions.
The American Civil Liberties Union announced lawsuits against government entities in Ohio, Alabama, and Iowa on Monday afternoon, in coordination with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and abortion providers in each of these states.
The ACLU’s lawsuits in Ohio and Iowa seek to “allow the clinics to continue providing access to critical, time-sensitive care during the COVID-19 pandemic,” after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Ohio Department of Health banned abortions during the pandemic as nonessential.
“Ohio’s politically motivated attack on abortion providers is not grounded in science or public health,” said Elizabeth Watson, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
Watson added: “As leading medical groups have recognized, abortion is essential and time-sensitive health care. We hope the court will recognize the urgency of this matter and grant relief for our clients so that they can continue the vital work of providing care to their communities.”
In Alabama, the ACLU, Dr. Yashica Robinson, and three independent abortion clinics are striking preemptively out of fears that Alabama will also ban abortion during the coronavirus since the state has attempted to pass the most extreme pro-life laws in the country—banning all abortions and criminalizing performing an abortion.
“Abortion providers take seriously their responsibility to protect the health and safety of their patients, the staff, and their community,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama.
Marshall continued: “But pregnant people need health care whether it’s prenatal care and childbirth services or abortion care. Preventing them from getting an abortion doesn’t do anything to stop the COVID-19 virus, it just takes the decision whether to have a child out of their hands.”
Neither Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey nor the Alabama Department of Health has responded to repeated requests for comment as to whether the state considers abortions nonessential.
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