Federal Court Preserves Abortion Access in Ohio During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 23, 2020 8:30 pm

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COLUMBUS, O.H. — A federal court extended relief for Ohio patients today by continuing to block the Ohio Department of Health from using its COVID-19 order to ban abortion access. This ruling means Ohio patients will continue to be able to access abortion services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are comments from:

Elizabeth Watson, staff attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project: “This is a crucial victory for Ohioans’ access to essential abortion care, and in the fight to ensure that the response to the COVID-19 crisis is grounded in public health, not politics. We will continue to fight against every attack by the state of Ohio on abortion providers.”

Jessie Hill, cooperating attorney, ACLU of Ohio: “We are so pleased that Judge Barrett granted a preliminary injunction so that abortion clinics can remain open to provide essential services to patients in need.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “Abortion is essential, time-sensitive health care, and patients still need access to abortion services during a pandemic. While today’s ruling may be a temporary sigh of relief for patients in Ohio, health care providers should never have been forced to go to court just to serve their patients. Using a global pandemic to pursue a political agenda is as unconscionable as it is reckless. In these times, we must also remember that the essential workers keeping our country together are the same ones who are disproportionately harmed when access to health care that’s just as essential gets used as a political weapon. Planned Parenthood will continue to fight tirelessly for all our patients’ rights to access the abortion services they need — no matter what.”

Chrisse France, executive director, Preterm: “The court has made the right decision today to prevent anti-abortion politicians from using a crisis to prevent access to essential abortion care. However, holding up the status quo will never be enough for our community. Women and all pregnant people should be trusted and given the resources needed to decide the shape and size of their families and to parent with dignity and respect. Preterm will continue to fight for access to abortion, reproductive healthcare, and resources for all people.”

Iris Harvey and Kersha Deibel, presidents and CEOs of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio: “We know our patients who need essential health care cannot wait. Abortion is a time-sensitive medical procedure. While a court battle is the last thing we want, it has become necessary to ensure patients can continue accessing essential health care without delay. Now more than ever before, we need to remain focused on providing care to patients throughout the state who are increasingly vulnerable, especially during this pandemic. Today our doors remain open for the patients who need access to essential health care, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that surgical abortion remains accessible in Ohio.”

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