The Ohio Attorney General’s office has sent letters to two abortion clinics Friday, saying that they’ve received complaints that they are continuing surgical abortions. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Attorney General’s office has sent letters to two abortion clinics Friday, saying that they’ve received complaints that they are continuing surgical abortions despite coronavirus restrictions.

“On behalf of the Department, you and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions,” said each letter, send by Ohio Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Fulkerson.

The letters were sent to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio in Cincinnati and Women’s Med Center of Dayton. The Ohio Department of Health asked Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office to issue the letters, said Melanie Amato, a department spokeswoman.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio is complying with the order regarding protective equipment, according to a statement from Iris E. Harvey of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Kersha Deibel of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region.

“PPSWO’s attorney immediately responded to Ohio Attorney General Yost’s letter, assuring him that PPSWO was complying with Director Acton’s order,” the statement said. “Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to offer other health care services that our patients depend on. Our doors remain open for this care.”

On Tuesday, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed an order telling hospitals that elective surgeries must be canceled in order to preserve gowns, masks and other personal protective equipment needed by medical officials.

The order allowed four exceptions — including a threat to the patient’s life if not performed; threat of permanent dysfunction of the patient’s organs, risk of progression or metastasis of a disease; a time-sensitive risk of rapidly worsening symptoms.

Surgical abortions, Ohio Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Fulkerson wrote, require personal protective equipment.

“If you or your facility do not immediately stop performing non-essential or elective surgical abortions in compliance with the attached order, the Department of Health will take all appropriate measures,” he wrote.

Fulkerson asked each clinic to acknowledge they’re complying and to send any questions to him.

On Friday, Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said that he had sent a letter directly to the Planned Parenthood clinic.

“Ohio Right to Life and Ohioans across this great state call on Ohio’s abortion facilities to put the health and safety of our children, elderly and other vulnerable populations above profit and above abortion,” he said in a statement. “Lives are literally depending on it. Their current noncompliance will undoubtedly contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and put the lives of first responders, nurses and doctors in danger.”

But NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland said abortion is time-sensitive and cannot be significantly delayed without profound consequences.

“Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Right to Life president and State Medical Board member Mike Gonidakis should not be exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to further their agenda to close Ohio’s abortion clinics,” she said.

At the Saturday state news briefing, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said, “We cannot allow the politics of things to get in the way of what we need to do in a state emergency.”