A federal judge in Oklahoma has issued a temporary order allowing medication abortions and time-sensitive surgical abortions to go forward in the state during the coronavirus pandemic.
That comes after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order that the state says would bans most abortions in an effort to preserve medical supplies for healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients. Stitt is among Republican officials from several states who've tried to include abortion among procedures prohibited during the pandemic. In some states, including Oklahoma, clinics have had to shut down and patients seeking abortions have been turned away.
In a written opinion, U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin said the order cannot be enforced against anyone who could lose her right to obtain an abortion as a result of the order, or to prohibit medication abortions, which use pills to terminate a pregnancy.
Oklahoma bans abortions after about 22 weeks of pregnancy. Goodwin wrote that denying an abortion to a patient nearing that cutoff would deprive her of her constitutional right, saying, "That plain and palpable deprivation of a fundamental right outweighs the injury the public may suffer if those procedures are allowed to occur."