Louisiana Shuts Down Abortion Clinics Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak

Mar 25, 2020

Update, March 30: Two abortion clinics have resumed operations this week. 

Patients are being seen at the Women's Health Care Center in New Orleans and the Hope Medical Group for Women clinic in Shreveport.

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The state’s three remaining abortion clinics have closed temporarily as a result of state health department orders linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

The closures came after Louisiana anti-abortion groups criticized abortion clinics for operating during the pandemic, alleging clinics could be aiding the spread of the virus.

While elective, abortion is a procedure with a stark time limit in Louisiana — it’s banned after 22-weeks of pregnancy, and those wanting a medication abortion must have one even earlier.

On Saturday, the Department of Health ordered all healthcare facilities to postpone medical and surgical procedures except for an emergency medical condition or to avoid harm for underlying conditions. It’s intended to free up personal protective equipment — like masks and gowns — and hospital beds.

Louisiana joins Texas, Ohio and Mississippi in banning most abortions during the pandemic.

Reproductive health advocates have slammed the move. They say abortion is an essential health care service — one that can’t be delayed — and accuse states of using the pandemic as an excuse to ban abortions. They argue that abortion procedures use a limited amount of equipment. Nationally, about 0.01 percent of abortions require follow-up care at a hospital.