Arizona Ban On 'Non-Essential' Surgeries Will Not Include Abortions

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer
Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 2:17pm
Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 2:18pm

Abortions will remain available in Arizona despite Gov. Doug Ducey's executive order halting all "non-essential or elective" surgeries.

On Tuesday, Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood told Capitol Media Services the language in the document effectively "deputizes the healthcare provider to make a determination in each case.''

Howard, however, won't say what procedures are still being done and which are being classified by Planned Parenthood as essential.

That interpretation apparently satisfies Ducey.

"The intention of the executive order is to reserve critical supplies like ventilators and personal protective equipment for essential surgeries and for healthcare workers responding to COVID-19,'' gubernatorial press aide Patrick Ptak said. "It's also intended to free up hospital capacity.''

Howard said his clinics are taking steps to do that.

"We have adopted a policy specifically to ensure that we're preserving personal protective equipment and providing guidance to our staff to evaluate each patient's situation to determine if the care is essential."

Arizona's executive order echoes Texas' ban on non-essential or elective surgeries, which is currently being challenged in federal court.

Howard said the critical difference between Ducey's order and Texas' is that Arizona's specific language allows licensed medical professionals to judge what is essential.

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