Ohio: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on April 6 upheld a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from limiting abortions during the coronavirus pandemic. The state sought to put a hold on nonessential abortions to save personal protective equipment for medical personnel fighting COVID-19, but a federal judge blocked the move when abortion groups sued. The court’s denial of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s appeal means that abortions will be able to continue in the state.
Texas: The 5th Circuit on Tuesday gave the state permission to stop most abortions while the coronavirus rages on. In the majority opinion, U.S. Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan said the government could “reasonably restrict” constitutional rights to protect public safety, and “the right to abortion is no exception.” Later in the week, the appeals court ruled women could get an abortion if they would pass 22 weeks of gestation by the time the executive order barring abortions expires on April 22.
Alaska: The state included surgical abortion on a list of procedures that providers could postpone due to the coronavirus. This list clarifies a March order that mandated hospitals and other medical facilities cancel or postpone elective procedures. According to the state’s health commissioner, the language in the list leaves room for “professional judgment” in determining the length of the postponement.
Oklahoma: A federal judge on April 6 blocked an executive order that would have paused abortions in the state during the COVID-19 outbreak. U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin’s temporary restraining order allows the procedure to continue despite the desperate need for personal protective equipment. —L.H.