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The Controversy Around 'Essential' Businesses

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We're gonna return now to a question that continues to confound and even anger many people across the country as government shut down most activities in effort to contain the spread of the corona virus what is considered essential of course some jobs businesses or services are recognized as essential across the board first responders hospital in urging Kerr personal grocery store workers and pharmacies but in the absence of a national stay at home order individual states and cities have been making their own decisions and some jurisdictions have chosen to define what's essential in a way that has sparked controversy and even lawsuits Texas for example is one of a handful of states that have sought to label most abortion services as non essential meanwhile in California it's up to each county to decide whether a gun shops should be allowed to remain open and in Arizona barber shops and hair salons seem to be on the essential business list until the governor there reversed course to help us understand all this week called on three reporters were covering these stories terra Haley is a senior contributor for Forbes Thomas Peele as an investigative reporter for the bay area news group and when I got this a staff correspondent at Bloomberg government thank you all so much for joining us hi thank you thanks for having us here you're very welcome terra Haley we will start with you since you've been covering the abortion ban in Texas I understand that this ban was not originally and governor Greg Abbott's executive order so how did this come about the primary rationale has been that halting all abortions will preserve PP which stands for personal protection equipment so that includes things such as masks and gloves and face shields governor Abbott didn't specify anything about abortion in the actual order then the Attorney General Ken Paxton has a long long history of being very opposed to abortion rights and looks for opportunities to involve himself in making decisions about it so he the very next day after governor Abbott's order he passed he released a statement stating that that included abortion and it was very unclear at first which abortions that included it was assumed to be only surgical abortions so all surgical abortions in Texas were put on hold as soon as Paxton's order came out then a few days later on that following Friday the medical abortions abortions which use medication for termination of pregnancy those abortions were also halted and it wasn't really clear with the justification for those was since those don't use PP beyond gloves for an ultrasound so gonna ask you does the confusion what what it that's that's my question is what is the argument because the argument around surgical abortions as it's not a treatment of a disease and therefore these idms the scarce items like or increasingly scarce items like personal protective equipment needed to be reserved for Amer urged urgent matters but that doesn't apply to medically and medical abortion medical portion so what was the rationale it's not clear why they can justify it when the P. P. E. that would be used for abortions as much less than what would be used for prenatal care and for birth services especially if someone has a C. section so I think that's part of what they're going to be debating in the courts the question is what happens while it's working its way through the courts and at first it was allowed to proceed and then the fifth circuit of appeals reversed that so the justifications I think are still being worked out I was gonna ask about this because yesterday on this program we spoke to new York's Attorney General issued James and she is one of at think at this point it's a dozen and a half attorneys general from other states who are supporting legal challenges to the Texas border and what what's the what's the status of that challenge now what are some of the arguments of people have been making here the biggest argument is that abortion is a time frame for the procedure you cannot be pregnant indefinitely there there is a an actual time limit to when you can start to when you can no longer seeking abortion in taxes that's twenty weeks after twenty weeks you can no longer seeking abortion and obviously if you pay too long then you are going to be giving birth so it's not like you can delay it like you could a hip replacement or a thyroid surgery it is something that actually depends on time sensitive needs and in the midst of this we don't know how long the social distancing in the need for PP will both go on so to delay it indefinitely is a big concern I think Ohio has taken a different approach to take that into account Ohio it was very unclear for awhile what they were allowing what they were not and then it was finally clarified in one of the recent lawsuits where they said that surgical abortions should be delayed until they can't be delayed so basically if it's reaching a point where the woman is entering the window where she would no longer be able to have an abortion thing she is allowed to have it so that's a little bit more thoughtful in terms of the need for PP versus the time sensitive nature of an abortion okay Thomas P. all over you let's talk about California dear governor Gavin Newsom did not explicitly restrict gun stores as a non essential business but he's leaving it up to the sheriffs from each county to determine whether they should remain open could you just talk a little bit about the decision making their sure this began when the bay it but in six counties in the bay area issued the nation's first shelter in place orders in mid March and that came of course with a list of businesses that they deemed essential it could stay open grocery stores pharmacies gas stations things people really need to to survive even as they your stay home but gun stores were not mentioned no no businesses are explicitly mentioned as being ordered to close and some gun stores stayed open and there's been a well documented now national run on guns in the last month the FBI data is showing sales spiking and in Los Angeles the sheriff there our expo in a way that said very publicly he didn't want to run on gun stores he didn't want people who are not familiar with firearms buying them in a panic at this moment and he ended up flip flopping a couple of times or sandals county's top lawyer issued an opinion they deem gun shops essential the sheriff backed off the next day governor Gavin Newsom who is very active proponent of gun control was asked at a press conference about the issue any pundit he he kicked it back to the sure saying that he would leave the question of whether gun shops were central to the sheriffs in each individual county do you have a sense of why the governor's been reluctant to make a state wide decision on this no I think it's it's purely political Newsome signed fifteen gun control measures last November but I think in this instance a large part of the state his role the majority of counties in California read many of them were of course very low population but this is just something that seems like a bit of a third rail issue that the government didn't want to touch so there are multiple lawsuits going on right now challenging the gun store closures as I understand it and understand the NRA's sortie biz has started litigation to challenge the closures in those areas where they are because one of the arguments they're simply saying that the that any government action to stop a citizen from being able to buy a firearm is a violation of the second amendment so they're not arguing that guns are essential they're arguing that they are protected no matter what the circumstance yes they're arguing that local governments have no constitutional authority to stop the sale of firearms in so and let's turn to Brenda Goff now you've been reporting on Erica Arizona governor Doug Ducey's decisions one in particular to let personal hygiene services stay open

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