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Abortion Clinic challenges Ark. order banning almost all abortions during COVID-19 pandemic

by | Apr 13, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

Little Rock Family Planning Services, Arkansas’ only surgical abortion clinic, today “asked a federal judge to block a state order banning the procedure except to protect the life or health of the mother during the coronavirus pandemic,” the Associated Press reported.

“State health officials accused the clinic of violating an order preventing elective surgeries during the outbreak,” The AP’s Andrew DeMillo reported the abortion clinic “filed the motion days after officials sent a cease-and-desist letter to the facility.”

In the letter, sent last Friday, the state Department of Health told the abortion clinic that it had violated an order preventing elective surgeries during the public health crisis. “That prohibition applies to surgical abortions that are not immediately necessary to protect the life or health of the patient,” the department said, according to DeMillo.

In a story posted on Friday, the AP also said

The state’s health secretary on Thursday encouraged the clinic to stop seeing out-of-state patients. In Friday’s letter, the department said any further violations of its order would result in the suspension of the clinic’s license.

“The risk was particularly high because a high proportion of those cases were coming from out of state … bringing that risk of transmission with them from other states with a higher rate of COVID-19 than Arkansas,” Health Secretary Dr. Nathaniel Smith said.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said any facilities that violated the order on elective surgeries would face “decisive action.” Health Department Spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said other health care providers have been investigated, but no others have received cease-and-desist letters.

“All medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortions, must be postponed until after this crisis has ended.”

Categories: Abortion
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