Federal judges blocked orders in Texas, Alabama, and Ohio that sought to include abortion within bans on nonessential surgical procedures during the coronavirus emergency, The Hill reported.
In order to preserve personal protective equipment for potential increases in cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, states have suspended nonessential surgeries. Some hospitals have faced shortages of critical protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and gowns.
Some conservative states have chosen to include abortion in those orders, while some liberal states like New York and Virginia have deemed abortion essential.
On Monday, federal judges sided with the opinion that abortion was essential and that banning it would cause too much potential harm to pregnant women.
"The benefits of a limited potential reduction in the use of some personal protective equipment by abortion providers is outweighed by the harm of eliminating abortion access in the midst of a pandemic that increases the risks of continuing an unwanted pregnancy, as well as the risks of traveling to other states in search of time-sensitive medical care," U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in the Texas case.
Yeakel issued a temporary restraining order and wrote that the inclusion of abortion in the nonessential surgery bans violated the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade, which established the right to a pre-viability abortion.
Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups sued Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Iowa, and Oklahoma over the inclusion of abortion in their bans.
"Abortion is essential healthcare, and it's a time-sensitive service, especially during a public health crisis," Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, said, The Hill reported. "Many people are already financially insecure and futures are uncertain. We applaud today's ruling, which will allow us to do what we do best, provide safe and compassionate abortion care to those who need it."