Governor mandates providers postpone elective surgical abortions due to COVID-19 outbreak

Commissioner Adam Crum talks about the mandate to postpone elective surgical procedures. (04/07/20)
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is asking medical providers to postpone a long list of elective procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, included among the list are elective surgical abortions.

According to Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum, the goal of postponing elective procedures is to save personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and patients at hospitals.

Surgical abortions are found in a list of procedures that can be delayed for a few weeks.

“Healthcare providers are to postpone surgical abortion procedures unless the life or physical health of the mother is endangered by continuation of the pregnancy during the period of postponement,” the order reads.

With the governor’s mandate announced Tuesday evening, Alaska will join six states to postpone nonessential abortions during the coronavirus pandemic, including Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.

A federal appeals court sided with Texas, allowing the governor to ban most abortions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Earlier Tuesday, the governor announced his vetoes to the operating budget. Included in the long list of cuts is $334,000 to be reduced from the Alaska Supreme Court’s budget. The cut mirrors one he made in 2019 to the court system’s budget over abortion decisions.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska sued the governor over that veto. The case is currently before an Anchorage Superior Court judge.

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