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Gov. Holcomb orders all non-urgent medical procedures to cease — including abortions

Governor Eric Holcomb.JPG
Posted at 7:39 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 19:39:41-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday said an executive order he signed Monday that directs medical professionals to cancel or postpone 'elective and non-urgent' procedures, including abortions, was issued with an eye on the expected coming surge of COVID-19 cases.

The executive order specifically calls out all health care providers "whether medical, dental or other, and health care facilities, whether hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dental facilities, plastic surgery centers, dermatology offices and abortion clinics" to preserve personal protective gear for health care providers battling the novel coronavirus pandemic. The executive order directs those 'elective and non-urgent' procedures to be canceled or postponed beginning Wednesday.

"The executive order that I signed yesterday had the coming surge in mind," Holcomb said during his daily update on Tuesday. "That's why I directed all healthcare facilities — hospitals, surgical centers, veterinarians, dermatologists, yes, abortion clinics — to cancel all elective or non-urgent procedures."

READ | Judges slow abortion bans in Texas, Ohio during pandemic

Holcomb's order leaves discretion about whether a procedure is urgent or if not doing the procedure would cause harm to the patient up to the patient's doctor to determine.

"We are all watching the numbers, both positive cases of COVID-19 and deaths mount by the day," Holcomb said. "We're living in and through an 'all hands on deck' moment if I've ever seen one and it is unifying our state in ways that I could not imagine."

Federal judges in Texas and Ohio have temporarily blocked efforts to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic. The rulings issued Monday came as providers in Alabama, Iowa, Ohio and Oklahoma filed lawsuits to stop states from trying to close their doors during the outbreak.