Gov. Lee: Abortions included in Tennessee ban on non-emergency surgeries amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/ Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks to the media during a tour of Cleveland High School on Jan. 7, 2020.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday his COVID-19 executive order barring "non-essential" medical procedures would also apply to elective abortions.

"The executive order was certainly crafted in order to provide [personal protective equipment] for health care" professionals involved in the coronavirus response, as well as ensure resources were available for those suspected or already known to have the potentially deadly infection, the Republican said in an afternoon teleconference call with reporters.

"This would be like any other non-essential procedure," Lee said regarding abortion. "It would be treated the same, and my expectation and belief and certainly my expectation is that no non-essential procedures would be performed in the state during the crisis and during this time we need all of those supplies to be used on the frontlines of protecting citizens."