Gov. Kim Reynolds’ latest official directive addressing the coronavirus pandemic will halt most abortion procedures in Iowa as part of their ban on “nonessential or elective surgeries.”
A conservative talk radio host tweeted out late Friday afternoon that the governor’s office said abortions were, in fact, a part of the order that was signed on Thursday. Starting Line confirmed the message from the governor’s office.
“Proclamation suspends all nonessential or elective surgeries and procedures until April 16th, that includes surgical abortion procedures,” Reynolds’ staff said.
It stands as a sweeping move with significant political consequences, even in the midst of a growing public health crisis. By effectively unilaterally banning most abortions, even temporarily, Reynolds will certainly start a firestorm of controversy as women are unable to access a major, legal reproductive health procedure.
“All nonessential or elective surgeries and procedures that utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) must not be conducted by any hospital, outpatient surgery provider, or outpatient procedure provider, whether public, private, or nonprofit,” Reynolds’ order read.
The proclamation does note that surgeries can occur if there is a threat to the patient’s life.
“A nonessential surgery or procedure is one that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient, considering all appropriate factors including, but not limited to any: (1) threat to the patient’s life if the surgery or procedure is not performed; (2) threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system; (3) risk of metastasis or progression of staging; and (4) risk of rapidly worsening to severe symptoms,” it reads.
It is not immediately clear if that means abortion would still be allowed if the life of the mother is at risk, though it seems to point in that direction.
Some other states have taken similar steps as they enact wide-ranging restrictions in the face of COVID-19’s spread. Both Texas and Ohio used the pandemic and the limited health care supplies as reasoning to ban most abortion in their recent moves.
Starting Line will have more coverage on this news as it develops.
by Pat Rynard