Texas and Ohio have ordered the suspension of abortion services as part of a directive to limit medical procedures that are not medical emergencies, discontinuing “non-essential” surgeries and elective procedures. It is an effort to reduce the use of personal protective equipment such as gowns, gloves and masks medical professionals need but that are limited in supply at this time.
At a press conference Tuesday, Governor Tate Reeves was asked if Mississippi would join the states taking this action as the nation continues to manage the spread of the coronavirus.
Reeves said he is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to make sure Mississippi’s only abortion clinic is complying with state recommendations.
“We’re doing everything in our power, and have for many years, to make Mississippi the safest place in America for unborn children,” Gov. Reeves said. “It is without question that the lone clinic in Jackson does, in fact, operate doing procedures that are elective and not required, and therefore they should be following the guidelines as offered by the state Department of Health. If they are not, I would be prepared to take additional action to make sure that they do so.”
The Mississippi Department of Health issued a COVID-19 Health Alert on March 19th, stating, “Physician, hospitals and medical centers must defer elective surgical and diagnostic procedures until COVID-19 spread has been diminished and the supply of protective medical equipment is restored.” The directive went on to state, “Physicians and providers should reschedule non-urgent medical appointments for a later date.”
At the Governor’s press conference, Dr. Thomas Dobbs of the Mississippi Department of Health wasn’t sure if the abortion clinic was operating during this time.
“That’s something I was not familiar with,” Dr. Dobbs said. “Before I make any comments I would need to review the situation.”
Pro-Life Mississippi reports that their sidewalk volunteers have noted that not only has Jackson Women’s Health Organization remained open but they are “packing people in their office and parking lot.”
“Our volunteers have witnessed many vehicles with out of state plates this week coming from Louisiana and Texas,” the advocacy group said in a release. “Our volunteers have filed complaints with the Health Department, the Mayor of Jackson, the Governor, and the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure. With New Orleans set to be the next epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are concerned that individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 are being packed into an office without regard to social distancing.”