A federal judge ruled on Easter Sunday that Alabama cannot halt abortions during the coronavirus pandemic.
There has been a rise in the demand for abortions nationwide during the crisis.
A preliminary injunction against the Alabama’s decision to deem abortions “non-essential” was issued by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.
“Based on the current record, the defendants’ efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy, by an undue burden or increase in risk on patients imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers,” Thompson wrote in an opinion.
Alabama had postponed all medical procedures that were not a medical emergency or “to avoid serious harm from an underlying condition or disease, or necessary as part of a patient’s ongoing and active treatment,” which included abortions.
According to a report from CBS, demand for abortion has increased during the pandemic. They report that this is at least partially due to increased economic concerns as many people continue to lose jobs during the shut down.
Julie Burkhart, who manages clinics in Wichita, Kansas, and Oklahoma City, told the news organization that Wichita location performed 252 abortions in March, up from 90 in March 2019.
Many women also cite fears of having to go to the hospital during their pregnancies.
“We don’t know enough about this to say it’s going to be fine – your pregnancy will proceed in usual fashion and there will be no impact from COVID-19,” Dr. Anne Davis, an OB-GYN at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said. “They want us to say it will be all right. We have to say, ‘We don’t know.”‘