Los Angeles Times - 03.04.2020

(C. Jardin) #1






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Castillo-Pino E, Medina M. An introductionto the epidemiology and burden
of urinarytract infections.TherAdv Urol.2019;11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.
gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502976/#bibr4-1756287219832172.Published May2,
2019 .Accessed December 10, 2019.

UseonT-Zone toreduce
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Republican-led states are
moving to dramatically cur-
tail access to abortion amid
the coronavirus pandemic,
prompting a wave of law-
suits that could soon bring
the dispute to the Supreme
While several states and
the federal government have
discouraged nonessential
medical procedures like cos-
metic surgery and elective
dental work during the na-
tional health crisis, six
states — Indiana, Iowa, Mis-
sissippi, Ohio, Oklahoma
and Texas — went a step fur-
ther, prohibiting abortion,
unless to protect the life or
health of the woman.
The Republican gover-
nors say their orders are vi-
tal to preserving hospital ca-
pacity and personal protec-
tive equipment for health-
care workers treating
COVID-19 cases.
But abortion rights sup-
porters say the states are ex-
ploiting the crisis to block or
delay access to abortions,
perhaps until a pregnancy is
so far along it will be harder
or impossible to end. They
say the orders violate Su-
preme Court rulings first
spelled out in Roe vs. Wade
that states cannot ban abor-
tion before a fetus is viable
outside the womb, about 24
They also note that many
abortions conducted early
in a pregnancy — up to 10
weeks under the Texas law
—rely on a pill and can be
completed with no use of
hospital or personal protec-
tive equipment.
Federal judges have
blocked the bans from going
into effect in nearly all the
states. But the U.S. 5th Cir-
cuit Court of Appeals al-

lowed the Texas ban to take
effect on a temporary basis.
Abortion providers vowed to
appeal to the Supreme
Court if necessary.
“We are absolutely ready
to take every legal action
that we have to, to keep clin-
ics open,” said Nancy Nor-
thup, president of the Cen-
ter for Reproductive Rights,
the legal organization repre-
senting providers in several
states. “These emergency
abortion bans are an abuse
of power and they are part of
a long-term effort to use
sham justifications to shut
down clinics and make an
end-run around Roe vs.
The order is having an
immediate effect in Texas.
Already, the Planned Par-
enthood facility and other
providers that have filed suit
have had to cancel hundreds
of scheduled appointments.
In Texas, the prohibition
includes “any type of abor-
tion that is not medically
necessary to preserve the life

or health of the mother,” ac-
cording to state Atty. Gen.
Ken Paxton. Violating the
ban would result in a $1,
fine or six months in jail for
the provider.
In Iowa, Republican Gov.
Kim Reynolds and abortion
providers reached agree-
ment Wednesday to allow
surgical abortions if delay-
ing them would push the pa-
tient past the point at which
legal abortions are allowed,
according to the Associated
In Michigan, Democratic
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer —
who recently clashed with
President Trump over the
federal response to the virus
—did not include abortion
in her order blocking nones-
sential procedures. Anti-
abortion groups including
the Susan B. Anthony List
and Michigan Right to Life
chastised her decision.
“Gov. Whitmer should
end these unnecessary pro-
cedures that further strain
our healthcare system, and

abortion businesses in the
state should cooperate,”
said SBA List President
Marjorie Dannenfelser, who
also condemned Democrat-
ic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom
Wolf ’s order for not includ-
ing abortion.
Governors have framed
the state orders as tempo-
rary, saying they will last for
a limited number of days, or
for as long as there is an
emergency. They’ve said wo-
men can wait until after the
bans are lifted to obtain an
abortion. But that won’t be
an option for many women
because federal and many
state guidelines encourag-
ing people to stay home will
be in effect for another
month at least, if not longer.
The legal battle marks a
continuation of what has
been a decades-long effort
by many red states to limit
access to abortion. If the
Supreme Court is asked to
make an emergency ruling
on the issue, it could provide
an unexpected early glimpse

of how the recently reshaped
bench views abortion rights.
Justices were already ex-
pected to deliver by June the
first abortion ruling since
Trump’s two appointees
joined the court, in a Louisi-
ana case questioning
whether abortion providers
need to have admitting privi-
leges at a nearby hospital. If
suddenly faced with an
emergency appeal over the
Texas order, “the Supreme
Court may be forced to
weigh in on this much sooner
than [the justices] wanted
to,” said Mary Ziegler, a pro-
fessor at Florida State Uni-
versity College of Law who
has written extensively
about the legal history of
That should concern
abortion rights supporters,
she said. “This court ... has a
track record of granting
more leeway to the govern-
ment in times of emergency,”
she said.
U.S. District Judge Lee
Yeakel, who temporarily
blocked the Texas order
from taking effect, sug-
gested that only the justices
could undermine the Roe
decision to allow for a “silent
gency clause.’”
In court documents, Re-
publican state leaders argue
that they have the authority
to temporarily ban access to
nonessential healthcare
procedures to protect the
health of all citizens during a
pandemic. They say allow-
ing abortions to proceed
while not allowing other pro-
cedures would give abortion
an elevated status.
“The right to abortion
does not have preeminence
over all of the other individu-
al liberties that are being
temporarily curtailed,” Tex-
as wrote in court documents
this week.
Steve H. Aden, chief legal
officer and general counsel
at Americans United for
Life, which opposes abor-
tion, anticipates the court
will allow the state orders to
remain in place because the
country is fighting a pan-

“The power of the state to
take extreme measures to
deal with a health crisis like
this is really the apex of its
constitutional powers,” he
said, citing a 1905 precedent
that let states fine or impris-
on citizens who did not get a
small pox vaccination dur-
ing an epidemic of the dis-
ease. “There really isn’t
much that a state cannot do
to respond to what is truly a
health emergency.”
Abortion rights support-
ers dispute the idea that
abortion is a nonessential
procedure comparable to a
face lift or carpal tunnel
surgery, saying it is time-
sensitive and constitution-
ally protected.
They also say that while
the coronavirus emergency
is real, closing abortion clin-
ics won’t change the pan-
demic’s trajectory.
Ending access to abor-
tion “doesn’t lower the risk
of transmitting the virus. It
just forces people to stay
pregnant and have children
against their will,” said Jen-
nifer Dalven, director of the
Reproductive Freedom
Project at the American Civ-
il Liberties Union. “So it’s
not surprising that the
states that are now using the
COVID crisis to stop people
from getting abortion care
are the very same states that
have a history of passing
laws to ban abortion or using
sham rationales to shut
down clinics.”
Dalven says the orders
have to be viewed through
the lens of the states’ long-
standing opposition to abor-
tion and history of enacting
prohibitions on the pro-
cedure through medical
regulation, which under-
mine their case that they’re
working to protect the pub-
lic from the coronavirus.
The Supreme Court
heard a case last month that
questions a Louisiana regu-
lation requiring abortion
providers to have admitting
privileges at a nearby hospi-
tal. The court has not yet is-
sued a decision.

Pandemic sparks new battle over abortion

ACTIVISTSdemonstrate outside the Supreme Court last month as justices took
up the first major abortion case in years. New cases may require rulings sooner.

Saul LoebAFP/Getty Images

Advocates object as

red states move to

block it along with

elective procedures.

By Jennifer Haberkorn

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