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Gov. Kevin Stitt includes abortions in executive order postponing elective surgeries

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Gov. Kevin Stitt at a press conference at the Oklahoma City Capitol March 1.

Gov. Kevin Stitt clarified Friday that abortions are included in his executive order postponing elective surgeries until April 7, unless the abortion is considered a medical emergency by law or otherwise necessary to prevent serious health risks to the mother.

The clarification was sent in a press release from Stitt’s office, which added that the order also includes routine dermatological, ophthalmological and dental procedures, as well as most scheduled healthcare procedures such as orthopedic surgeries.

Stitt’s executive order postponing surgeries came Tuesday as his office issued a “safer-at-home” order urging populations especially vulnerable to COVID-19 to stay home, and a separate order closing nonessential businesses in counties with a confirmed case of the coronavirus.

According to the release, the rapid spread of COVID-19 has increased demands for hospital beds and has created a shortage of personal protective equipment, sometimes referred to as PPE, which is needed to protect health care professionals and stop transmission of the virus. The delay in elective surgeries is aimed at extending current supplies of PPE resources.

“We must ensure that our health care professionals, first responders and medical facilities have all of the resources they need to combat COVID-19,” Stitt said in the release. “I am committed to doing whatever necessary to protect those who are on the front lines fighting against this virus.”

Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and assistant news managing editor for The Daily. Previously he worked as summer editor-in-chief and as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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