Do abortions fall under elective surgeries? Some Florida Republican leaders want them stopped.

Joe Gruters said he received numerous emails aimed at limit procedures.

An executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended elective surgeries while the state’s medical infrastructure stretches thin.

Some Republican activists want to know why abortion clinics are still running.

The issue was a concern raised multiple times in a Republican Party of Florida Republican Executive Committee conference call Wednesday.

One REC member said she didn’t understand why those surgeries had been allowed to continue. But to confirm it was happening, she checked a Pensacola abortion clinic’s website and found procedures were still being scheduled.

Joe Gruters, RPOF chair and a state Senator, said he’s received numerous calls on the issue.

“It’s my number one issue,” said Gruters, who has filed pro-life legislation every year he has served in the Legislature.

“We have people who are working on it.”

It could foreshadow a political conflict similar to one being waged now in Texas. There, Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have moved to stop abortion procedures while medical supplies are needed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, according to US News and World Report. Abbott signed an order that that specifically bars “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

There, penalties for violating the order include fines of up to $1,000 or 180 days in jail.

Similarly, the Attorney General’s Office in Ohio has told abortion providers in Cincinnati and Dayton to stop providing the procedure, citing an order “cancelling all non-essential or elective surgeries and procedures utilizing personal protective equipment,” a Fox affiliate there reports.


The order issued by DeSantis for Florida last Friday makes no mention of abortion, but prohibits medical professionals from providing any “medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery which, if delayed, does not place a patient’s immediate health, safety, or well-being at risk.”

So where does that leave abortion?

For pro-choice advocates, an unwanted pregnancy certainly brings with it some urgency. A number of advocacy groups on Thursday expressed support for continuing procedures.

Planned Parenthood Action, the National Women’s Law Center, United We Dream, the Alliance for Youth Action, on Wednesday released a series of tweets with the message “Abortion is essential health care.”

And amid the fight in Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio stressed it intended to continue serving those in need of abortions while being mindful of the PPE shortage in the state.

“Planned Parenthood’s top priority is ensuring that every person can continue accessing essential health care, including abortion,” the group said in a statement.

“Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to provide services that our patients depend on.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


  • Larry Gillis

    March 25, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    “My body, my CHOICE”: isn’t that how their mantra goes? “Choice” sure sounds like “ELECTIVE” to me.

    So, if elective surgery is not available now, well there it is. Live with it.

  • Roxanne

    March 25, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    Abortion is definitely elective if it is not to preserve the life of the mother. It would not be fair to many other patients whose surgeries have been postponed to allow these procedures to continue. That is discrimination and favoritism.

  • Ashley

    March 25, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    needs to stop. If my friend can’t have back surgery bc he is in so much pain but a woman can terminate her child is so elective it can’t be anything else. Let’s try and save thousands of babies a day. While we save dozens to hundreds from corona19
    Please shut them down!

  • Florida Voice for the Unborn

    March 25, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Florida Voice for the Unborn has been leading the charge in Florida for the abortion mills to be shut-down during the coronavirus emergency.

    Surgical abortions, as well as chemical abortions, are clearly elective procedures. Therefore, under Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-72, abortion facilities licensed by the State of Florida are now prohibited from offering, performing, or advertising abortions.

    Please go to our website (google it) and sign our petition to Attorney General Ashley Moody, requesting that she issue an immediate cease and desist order to all Florida abortion facilities in order to bring them into compliance with Executive Order 20-72.

    Florida Voice for the Unborn is a new grassroots Tallahassee-based lobbying group that only focuses on pro-life issues impacting the unborn. It is strictly independent, and its work is guided by faith in God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Florida Voice for the Unborn supports all peaceful efforts by elected officials and others to end abortion and save lives. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest @UnbornVoiceFL – and visit our website.

    • JC

      March 26, 2020 at 7:37 am

      You guys are completely nuts and disgusting. If you guys are guided by God, then you guys think Slavery is a-ok per Exodus 21 and Men have more powers than Women per the bible. If you guys come to my neck of the woods, I’ll fight you all the way.

  • Mike

    March 26, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    We’re talking about forcing a woman to bring a child into the world when that child is not wanted. As cops will tell you, then the cops will have deal over and over again with someone who grows up unwanted, who is much more likely to commit crimes than a wanted child. And where will the “pro-life” folks be when we’re all paying the price for their hypocrisy? Nowhere to be found. They don’t care about the child after it’s born. Thanks, Republicans!

Comments are closed.


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