WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) –A growing number of states are closing abortion clinics during the coronavirus crisis.
They argue abortions fall under the nonessential elective medical procedures the Trump administration has advised against for the time being, even though the White House has not mentioned whether those procedures include abortions.
The bans are making their way through the courts and losing, while some state officials try to get more governors on board.
“I am very pro-life but putting that aside, I don’t see how anyone with a straight face can argue that at this point in time an abortion clinic is an essential business,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA. “I just don’t get it.”
Kennedy wants abortion clinics to close during the pandemic to free up personal protective equipment, like masks, gowns and gloves, for doctors treating COVID-19 patients.
“It puts pressure on our healthcare system,” Kennedy said. “What I’m hoping will happen is that the governor will just declare them non-essential businesses and shut down.”
While Louisiana isn’t banning abortions yet, other states are already seeing their bans challenged in court. The ban in Texas has made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the groups representing the abortion providers, said in a statement, “This is an extraordinarily difficult time, but this is an easy case. Texas is blatantly abusing its emergency power to obliterate Roe v. Wade.”
This week, a federal judge temporarily blocked the ban in Alabama. Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL, said during a pandemic, the focus should be on a holistic approach to healthcare for everyone.
“The abortion rate is going to fall, just like the infant mortality rate is going to fall, just like the maternal mortality rate is going to fall,” Jones said.
More court decisions on the bans could come down this week.