In a major blow to state’s rights, a federal judge has blocked parts of Oklahoma’s ban on abortions during the coronavirus pandemic.
United States District Judge Charles Goodwin, who issued the temporary restraining order against the ban, was actually appointed by President Donald Trump.
Judge Goodwin claimed that the ban on abortions would cause “irreparable harm” to the women seeking to have them.
Goodwin’s ruling stops the state from restricting medication abortions, in which women can take two pills to terminate their pregnancy. The Oklahoman reports that “the order also stops the state from enforcing a ban on surgical abortions in some cases. The prohibition on surgical abortions cannot be enforced for women who are currently eligible to seek an abortion, but would not lawfully be able to seek an abortion after Stitt’s executive order expires at the end of April 30.”
Last month, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order halting all elective surgeries, including abortions, to conserve valuable medical supplies for hospitals fighting the pandemic. He did not ban abortions which are deemed medically necessary or “necessary to prevent serious health risks to the unborn child’s mother.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood sued the state over the ban, claiming that Gov. Stitt is taking advantage of the pandemic to ban abortions.
The Hill reports that federal judges have also temporarily blocked similar orders in Ohio, Alabama and Texas — though a federal appeals court has issued a stay on the ruling in Texas, allowing the abortion ban to continue.