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Federal Judge Blocks Stitt's Order Banning Most Abortions During COVID-19 Emergency

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A federal judge on Monday blocked Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s ban on most abortions in the state during the COVID-19 emergency.

Stitt included surgical and medication abortions in his executive order last month delaying minor procedures in order to preserve personal protective equipment for health care providers.

U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin ruled Monday Stitt’s order imposed requirements that effectively deny a right of access to abortion.

"The court has stopped Gov. Stitt from exploiting this devastating pandemic as a weapon in his battle to ban abortion," Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement. "Abortion is time-sensitive, essential healthcare. Women in Oklahoma are again able, for the time being, to access abortion care in their state at a time when travel is even more challenging."

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood.

Goodwin issued a temporary restraining order that blocks Sitt's ban on surgical and medication abortions through April 20, but it can be extended.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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