Yesterday, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging Governor Reynolds’ proclamation suspending all non-essential surgeries until mid-April because of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Planned Parenthood, continuing to abort babies will help preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), and so abortions should continue. In other words, Planned Parenthood says that abortions will save lives during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Governor Reynolds ordered that hospitals and clinics postpone all surgeries that can wait so that the PPE used during those non-essential surgeries can be preserved for the fight against COVID-19.
But Planned Parenthood’s Medical Director, Jill Meadows, says that to preserve PPE, abortions should continue.
Delivering a baby, she says, takes more PPE than performing an abortion. If a mother is carrying a baby to term, then Meadows says that this “pregnant person” will have to show up to the clinic “multiple times” to check on the status of her baby, which “will require the use of masks and sterile gloves.” And she says “an actual birth could involve multiple gowns, masks, and sterile gloves.”
“A patient continuing a pregnancy will thus require significantly more PPE than a patient presenting for abortion,” Meadows says. “Providing abortion care,” Meadows tells the district court, “will help patients avoid” the hospital and thus save PPE.
In the filing, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland notes that it provides medication and surgical abortion at two health centers in Iowa, in Des Moines and Iowa City, and medication abortion at three additional Iowa health centers, in Ames, Cedar Falls, and Council Bluffs. According to their filing, they provide abortions up to 20 weeks and 6 days. In 2019, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland performed 3,170 abortions in the state of Iowa.