Published On: Fri, May 1st, 2020

Tennessee court rules to allow abortions during COVID outbreak, lockdowns

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that Tennessee must continue to allow abortions during the COVID-19 outbreak, despite the governor’s emergency order banning nonessential procedures for three weeks.

The executive order limiting medical procedures was issued on April 8 by Gov. Bill Lee and is in place until the end of the month.

Failure to comply would be considered a Class A misdemeanor.

According to the Associated Press, Tennessee Attorney General Alex Rieger argued in court that the ban on elective surgeries was issued in order to preserve the dwindling supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors who are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 as well as to help slow the spread of the virus by limiting contact between individuals.

Abortion, since it is not medically necessary, was included in that ban.

Rieger said that abortion is not being singled out, but is simply being treated as any other elective medical procedure is being treated.

A U.S. District judge ordered last week that abortions should be allowed during the pandemic. Other states have been dealing with similar battles concerning abortion amid the outbreak including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Texas where judges recently ruled to allow abortion to continue despite the risks.


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