UPDATE: ACLJ Files 2nd Emergency Brief on Behalf of 62 Members of Oklahoma Legislature After Planned Parenthood Sues to Continue Elective Abortions During COVID-19 Crisis


Jordan Sekulow

April 6, 2020

6 min read

Pro Life



The ACLJ has just filed our THIRD emergency amicus brief in federal court to shut down Planned Parenthood, which is trying to use the Coronavirus crisis to expand abortion.

We’ve told you how a number of states have temporarily shut down all elective medical procedures, including elective abortions, in order to dedicate medical equipment and staff to battling the pandemic, and stave off the spread of COVID-19.

Add Oklahoma to the list of states where we’re taking direct action to uphold the suspensions on elective abortions during this global health emergency, as we just filed an emergency amicus brief representing 48 members of the Oklahoma state legislature.

Planned Parenthood and local abortionists filed a lawsuit challenging an order made by the Governor of Oklahoma to stop performing elective abortions as the state directs all of its medical resources toward treating Coronavirus patients and tries to flatten the curve. Apparently to them, the business of killing babies outweighs the need to stop the spread of this dangerous virus.

Just moments ago, we filed our amicus brief supporting the order to temporarily halt abortions on behalf of 48 members of the Oklahoma state legislature, led by state Senator David Bullard and state House Majority Leader Jon Echols. In addition, leadership from both chambers, Senate and House, have joined.

On the ACLJ’s brief are 13 Oklahoma State Senators: Greg Treat; Kim David; David Bullard; Larry Boggs; Paul Scott; Dave Rader; Julie Daniels; Greg McCortney; Paul Rosino; Rob Standridge; Roland Pederson; Wayne Shaw; and Casey Murdock.

In addition, the 35 members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives who joined are: House Majority Leader Jon Echols; Jay Steagall; Tom Gann; Kevin West; Denise Crosswhite Hader; TJ Marti; Josh West; Brian Hill; Jim Olsen; Lewis Moore; Kevin McDugle; Marilyn Stark; Sean Roberts; Brad Boles; Randy Randleman; Tammy Townley; Mike Sanders; Kenton Patzkowsky; Garry Mize; Sheila Dills; Mark Vancuren; Tommy Hardin; Mark Lepak; Lonnie Sims; Tammy West; Jim Grego; David Smith; Chris Sneed; Dustin Roberts; Chris Kannady; Jeff Boatman; Nicole Miller; Trey Caldwell; JJ Justice Humphrey; and Rhonda Baker.

In addition, we were joined by more than 75,000 of our ACLJ members, including more than 1,200 Oklahomans on our brief.

As we argued in our brief:

The State of Oklahoma has ample authority to weigh the available information concerning COVID-19, and the competing interests of all involved, and conclude that temporarily halting elective procedures will help to save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is claiming countless lives across the country—and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future—and [abortion industry’s] insistence on continuing to perform elective abortions will undoubtedly limit the necessary resources needed to treat COVID-19 patients. [Planned Parenthood and their pro-abortion allies] fail to show that elective abortions are more beneficial to the public interest than adequately treating pandemic patients and protecting healthcare workers.

We also

urge[d] this Court to also give deference to Governor Stitt and uphold his emergency order. As Amici Members are well aware, businesses across the State are suffering and sacrificing during this emergency. Abortion is, undeniably, a business; and that business should not be singled out for special treatment or status over all other business and over all other Oklahomans.

In Texas, Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby also sought a restraining order challenging their governor’s order to cease abortions. A federal district judge quickly issued an injunction blocking the Texas governor’s lifesaving order. 

Texas quickly appealed the decision, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay of the lower court’s ruling until it could fully consider the appeal, protecting innocent babies and life-saving medical equipment, at least for the time being.

We filed an emergency amicus brief in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals urging it to uphold Texas’ postponement of elective abortions during this crisis, arguing:

[Planned Parenthood’s] insistence on continuing to perform elective abortions will undoubtedly limit the necessary resources needed to treat COVID-19 patients. [Planned Parenthood] cannot show that elective abortions are more beneficial to the public interest than adequately treating pandemic patients and protecting healthcare workers. As such, allowing abortions to proceed amidst this crisis, against Governor Abbott’s order, does not fall within a narrow exception to traditional State police powers.

We also filed another emergency amicus brief in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals defending the state’s right to shut down elective abortions as part of its elective procedure suspension during the pandemic. And we will continue to follow this case as it proceeds at the district court level.

Planned Parenthood recently issued a statement that it’s going rogue, and will continue to perform abortions regardless of the order, recklessly thumbing its nose at national and state guidelines.

Planned Parenthood wants to continue its false narrative that abortions won’t place an undue strain on medical equipment. But then why did, as we reported previously, the abortion giant solicit donations of masks, gloves, shoe covers, and other medical supplies for its clinics, when these items are desperately needed in hospitals all over the country as they work around the clock to save lives and halt the pandemic? Interestingly, Planned Parenthood has stripped those requests from all of their websites and social media since we and others called them out for contradicting their own abortion distortion.

Abortion is not essential healthcare. It DOES use up critically needed medical equipment, and it DOES increase the risk of transferring the Coronavirus. Overall, it takes innocent lives at a time when all medical workers and facilities need to be focused on saving life.

These state suspensions on non-essential, elective abortions need to be upheld and enforced.

We are quickly preparing to file briefs in more of these cases in the coming days. Planned Parenthood is not above the law, and its lawsuits to keep aborting babies increase the odds of the virus spreading, and put all of our safety at risk.

UPDATE 04.08.2020: We’ve have just filed our second emergency amicus brief in this case, the fourth overall in these cases, this time in support of Oklahoma’s emergency stay request before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. We now represent 62 members of the Oklahoma state legislature. In addition to those named above, the following state senators have also joined our new brief: Senators Brent Howard, Michael Bergstrom, Roger Thompson, Lonnie Paxton, Mark Allen, Joe Newhouse, Marty Quinn, Gary Stanislawski, Ron Sharp, Chuck Hall, Adam Pugh, Dewayne Pemberton, John Haste, and James Leewright. Moreover, more than 100,000 ACLJ members signed on to our latest brief. We specifically urge the court to follow the Fifth Circuit’s well-reasoned ruling allowing Texas to implement a similar measure temporarily halting elective abortions as part of their restriction on all elective procedures in the state. As the Fifth Circuit rightfully held, in the case of pandemic a “settled rule allows the state to restrict, for example, one’s right to peaceably assemble, to publicly worship, to travel, and even to leave one’s home. The right to abortion is no exception.”

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