Attorney General Cameron Joins Amicus Briefs Supporting Four States in Banning Elective Abortions During COVID-19 Pandemic

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 2, 2020) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today announced Kentucky joined amicus briefs supporting Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Oklahoma in their efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) by halting elective medical procedures, including abortions.

The amicus briefs support each of the state’s executive orders, which require abortion providers to follow the same mandates as all other medical providers and stop elective procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Abortion providers are suing the states, claiming they are entitled to receive a blanket exemption from such orders and should not have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit this week temporarily upheld the Texas executive order halting elective procedures, staying a decision by the lower court that had allowed elective abortion procedures to continue.  Attorney General Cameron has joined two amicus briefs in the Fifth Circuit on this issue, one arguing in favor of the temporary ruling, and one arguing that the Texas executive order should be upheld for the duration of the pandemic.

“Abortion advocates have long said that they are simply ‘pro-choice,’ which refutes their argument that abortions are anything other than elective procedures,” said Attorney General Cameron.  “By ignoring the ban on elective medical procedures, abortion providers are willfully putting their own patients at risk for contracting COVID-19 as well as risking the health of our frontline healthcare workers who need the PPE used for elective abortion procedures.  We stand with Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Oklahoma in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we, again, call on our Acting Secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Eric Friedlander, to certify that the Commonwealth’s abortion providers are violating his ban on elective medical procedures so that our office can take immediate action here in Kentucky.”

Last week, Attorney General Cameron called on Acting Secretary Friedlander to certify, pursuant to KRS 15.241, that Kentucky’s abortion providers are violating the ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Secretary Friedlander has not responded to the request, and abortion providers continue to perform elective abortion procedures in the Commonwealth, in violation of Gov. Beshear’s executive order.

On March 14, Gov. Beshear recommended that hospitals cease performing elective procedures.  Subsequently, on March 23, Acting Secretary Friedlander ordered all “non-emergent, non-urgent in-person medical, surgical, dental, and any other healthcare practice or procedure” to cease.  As explained by Acting Secretary Friedlander, the outbreak of COVID-19 is “a public health emergency.”  Therefore, “aggressive social distancing measures have been mandated by emergency order as a necessary measure to limit and contain the spread of the COVID-19 infection.”