Planned Parenthood drops injunction request against Reynolds' nonessential surgery ban

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 4:19 PM CDT
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A group of petitioners has dropped their request that a court enters a temporary injunction against an emergency order from the governor's office that prohibits nonessential surgeries during the spread of the novel coronavirus and will resume some abortion services, according to court documents.

The order, issued by Judge Andrew Chappell, acknowledges that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Emma Goldman Clinic had withdrawn their motion to block Gov. Kim Reynolds' order that limits nonessential surgical procedures through April 16, 2020.

Reynolds' order suspended those surgeries, defined as those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient, which utilize any personal protective equipment. Supplies of that equipment are being strained by the continued spread of COVID-19 in Iowa.

Planned Parenthood and the other petitioners withdrew their motion after the state filed a brief that essentially explained that there were more exemptions for the emergency order than Planned Parenthood had interpreted and that the order did not specifically target surgical abortions.

The state said that factors that would allow a surgical procedure to be completed could include whether a patient needed to have an abortion before April 16 in order for it to be considered legal in the state, saying that falls into the category of whether a procedure could be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient.

“Today, the Court entered an order by agreement of the parties that allows physicians to treat abortion the same as other procedures and allows them to make a case-by-case determination for each patient," a joint statement from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Emma Goldman Clinic said. "Therefore, Planned Parenthood will resume seeing patients for in-clinic procedures, in compliance with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation.”

The petitioners in the case can continue to make constitutional arguments against the emergency proclamation, if they choose, according to the order.