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Coronavirus In Ohio: Appeals Court Upholds Decision To Block Surgical Abortion Ban

A sign is displayed at Planned Parenthood of Utah Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer
Associated Press

A panel of three federal court judges won’t get involved in a dispute over abortion and the state’s coronavirus order regarding elective surgery – which will keep facilities that perform abortions open for now.

The Sixth U.S. District Court of Appeals has dismissed the state’s request to appeal a federal judge’s ruling preventing it from closing the six Ohio clinics that perform surgical abortions. Two of the three judges wrote they didn’t have jurisdiction.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost had sent the clinics a letter saying they must close under the state’s coronavirus order banning elective surgeries. Yost says the state’s hospitals need the personal protective equipment the clinics use in those procedures.

Last week, U.S. Judge Michael Barrett issued a 14-day temporary restraining order says abortion providers must determine on a case-by-case basis if a surgical procedure can be safely delayed.

An attorney for the clinics, Jessie Hill, says the facilities are providing an essential service allowed under the order and adds patients are encouraged to get medically induced abortions over surgical abortions when possible.

In a written statement, Ohio Right to Life thanked Yost for taking legal action to try to close the clinics.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.