Seeking an abortion amid the coronavirus pandemic? Better hope you're not in Ohio. The state's attorney general has told two abortion facilities to stop providing services that require personal protective equipment—which includes abortion, CBS News reports. "You and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions," writes Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in the two letters. "Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient." A Yost rep says that applies to all Ohio abortion clinics, but it's unclear whether it applies to medication abortion, which doesn't use such protective equipment.
For the record, Ohio isn't too abortion-friendly. The state already requires anyone seeking the procedure to get in-person counseling—which is meant to deter abortion—and recently imposed a "heartbeat ban" that forbids abortions when embryonic cardiac activity can be detected, about five to six weeks into pregnancy, usually before anyone knows they're pregnant. "The government should not use this crisis as an excuse to target abortion clinics and attempt to take away the ability of Ohioans to access abortion, which is time-sensitive and essential health care," says an ACLU official. It's unclear whether Ohio clinics will comply, and BuzzFeed reports that Planned Parenthood vows to keep clinic doors open nationwide. (Read more abortion stories.)