Despite city and state orders to postpone all non-emergency surgeries in Alaska during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Anchorage is “operating as normal,” according to clinic staff.
In a March 23 phone call, a staffer at Planned Parenthood on Lake Otis Blvd. in Anchorage was asked if the clinic is continuing to provide abortions during the health crisis.
“Yeah. No, we’re still open right now,” the staffer replied. “If anything changes, we’ll be calling patients but for now we are operating as normal.”
Information provided on the Planned Parenthood answering machine proceeded to give potential patients information on how to schedule an abortion in person or online, but did not mention any restrictions or limits on the abortion services it currently provides.
On March 16, however, Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a mandate requiring all patients, providers, hospitals and surgical centers to “postpone or cancel all non-urgent or elective procedures for three months to decrease the overall impact on the Alaska health care structure and preserve personal protective equipment.”
The mandate includes pre-scheduled surgeries deemed non-essential, along with a recommendation that hospitals create task forces to “to evaluate on a case-by-case basis and make a determination on borderline surgeries.”
The state’s actions are in line with guidelines from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the American College of Surgeons.
“Given Alaska’s distances and limited health care capacity, it is especially important to open acute health care beds for anticipated COVID-19 care and preserve personal protective equipment,” the state mandate explains. “The State of Alaska believes that delaying non emergent procedures is a protective measure for both patients and the health care workforce and will better prepare us for the anticipated impact COVID-19 will have on our health care system.”
Governors across the nation are being urged to mandate that all abortion centers cease non-emergency abortions.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz issued a similar emergency order on March 20, stating that “all Healthcare Operators shall postpone appointments that are non-urgent or non-emergency whenever possible, and consider alternatives to face-to-face visits, in accordance with CDC guidance for Healthcare Facilities.”
Governors across the nation are being urged to mandate that all abortion centers cease non-emergency abortions. Several states have already issued directives to abortion centers.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s order restricts “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.” Violation of the order can result in a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail. Ohio has issued a similar order “to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions” to preserve needed personal protective gear for health care workers addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Gov. Mike Dunleavy
- Alaska Health & Social Services Commissioner Adam Crumb
- Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink