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Appeals court panel upholds lower court decision allowing abortions during pandemic

by | Apr 14, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

On Monday a three-judge federal appeals court panel dismissed a challenge brought by the state of Oklahoma to a lower court ruling that allowed so-called “medication” [chemical] abortions and certain surgical abortions to continue during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The three judges on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused on a technicality to consider the merits of the issue,” according to Nolan Clay of the Daily Oklahoman.

“The ruling involves Gov. Kevin Stitt’s emergency ban on elective surgeries and minor medical procedures in the state until the end of the month because of the coronavirus crisis,” Clay explained. “The governor in March made clear that those restrictions include most abortion services.”

A number of pro-abortion organizations challenged the ban, and earlier this month, District Judge Charles Goodwin granted a temporary restraining order. Yesterday, “the three judges agreed the state cannot challenge Goodwin’s ruling because it is only a temporary restraining order,” Clay added. “Attorney General Mike Hunter is expected to ask the court to reconsider.”

By contrast, “Abortion providers will now seek a preliminary injunction from the district court which will continue to block the ban from taking effect until the case concludes,” ABC 8 in Tulsa reported [https://ktul.com/news/coronavirus].

Naturally, pro-abortion organizations hailed the unsigned opinion.

“It’s important that the appellate court rejected Oklahoma’s attempt to ban abortions in the state,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “It’s time for Oklahoma and other states to stop exploiting the pandemic to shutdown clinics. Oklahoma’s true motive has never been more apparent. This has nothing to do with the current pandemic–it’s purely politics.”

Categories: Judicial
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