On March 27th, Oklahoma Kevin Stitt issued an executive order postponing elective procedures and surgeries, including “any type of abortion services… which are not a medical emergency… or otherwise necessary to prevent serious health risks” to the pregnant person.
On April 6, Judge Charles Goodwin of Oklahoma’s Western District Court placed a temporary stay on the governor’s mandate, allowing some abortions, including medication abortions, to continue.
On April 21, Judge Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction blocking Oklahoma’s COVID-19 abortion ban.
This week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the state’s request to stay a preliminary injunction. The injunction allows abortion access to resume as normal in the state.
Nancy Northup, president & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated that the Governor has exploited the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to ban abortion. “In the wake of this latest ruling, it’s past time for Oklahoma to respect the essential needs of women seeking abortion care,” Northup said. “This attempt to ban abortion is an abuse of emergency powers.”
Oklahoma is one of thirteen states where executive orders have been issued to deem abortion care “nonessential” and limit access. The mandates have been blocked or lifted in eight of those states, and are currently still in effect in five– Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia.