Abortion & COVID-19: They Won’t Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

True to form, the abortion industry is doing everything in its power to capitalize on the coronavirus emergency by using this pandemic to expand access to abortion. Thanks to the vigilance of the pro-life movement, many of their efforts have been successfully thwarted.

Planned Parenthood and its allies have found themselves in a precarious situation since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. As Reuters reports, Vice President Mike Pence has asked the nation’s hospitals to cease elective surgeries in order to free up critically needed beds and personal protection equipment such as masks and gloves for use in fighting the spread of this virus. Because abortion is appropriately labeled as “elective,” this order also applies to abortion clinics.

“If ever there were a medical procedure that met the definition of ‘elective,’ it is abortion,” writes Father Shenan J. Boquet of Human Life International. “Abortions cure no disease. The only thing they do is result in a dead baby and a wounded mother.”

Not according to Planned Parenthood. They claim to be providing “essential” medical services and are keeping many of their clinics open in spite of the worsening pandemic and critical shortage of medical supplies.

Even in the state of Illinois where a shelter-in-place order is in effect and all nonessential businesses have been ordered to close, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) announced that it will temporarily close all facilities in the state except for six clinics, three of which provide abortions.

“Planned Parenthood of Illinois is taking all necessary precautions to keep our staff and patients healthy and well. This temporary consolidation of services is just one part of that,” said Dr. Amy Whitaker, Chief Medical Officer at PPIL. “Patients will still need family planning services and abortion care during this time, and we are committed to providing it.”

The abortion lobby also managed to convince the state of Massachusetts to leave abortion off the list of “nonessential, elective invasive procedures” that should be postponed or canceled while in a state of emergency. As MassLive.com reports, colonoscopies and knee replacements must be postponed – but abortions can continue.

Because so many clinics have closed, abortion proponents are now pressuring the FDA to relax regulations governing medical abortions.

“The fact that those regulations are designed to protect women from deadly complications that can occur during medical abortions didn’t seem to bother them,” Father Boquet writes. “Instead, they argued that the FDA should immediately make it legal for women to abort their babies at home using the abortion pill, without ever physically seeing a doctor. Under this proposal, women would be able to get a prescription for the abortion pill over ‘telemedicine’ (i.e., through a video conference) and then obtain the pill itself through the mail or at their local pharmacy.”

Of course, abortion activists claim this is just a “temporary” measure to help women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic but we all know that it will only be a matter of time before those relaxed regulations become law.

In addition to these deadly antics, anti-life forces on Capital Hill were also hard at work trying to include taxpayer funding for abortion into an earlier coronavirus relief measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did her best to slip medical funding into the bill that was not covered by the Hyde Amendment, a law that prohibits the use of government funds for abortion. Thankfully, it was caught by pro-life lawmakers and the funds were put back under the protection of the Hyde Amendment.

“Speaker Pelosi should be fighting the coronavirus pandemic, not politicizing emergency funding by fighting against the bipartisan Hyde Amendment,” said an exasperated Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) about the foiled attempt. “We need to be ramping up our diagnostic testing, not waging culture wars at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Good grief.”

The Speaker hasn’t learned any lessons, however. Insiders say that part of the holdup over the Senate’s $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill was Democrats’s insistence that abortion providers be eligible for aid under the small business portion of the bill – something Republicans have specifically barred. It remains to be seen what language made it into the final draft of the bill.

Meanwhile, the states of Texas and Ohio have ordered all elective abortion procedures to be postpned in order to free up medical resources to fight the virus.

“No one is exempt from the governor’s executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement.

Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost did the same, ordering all abortion clinics in the state to cease performing abortions or any other procedure that requires the use of personal protection equipment.

“You and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions. Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient,” Yost wrote in a letter to clinics that provide abortion.

At least five of the state’s six clinics responded with defiance, claiming that abortion is “essential and time sensitive” and that the clinics were in compliance with saying the Health Department’s order.

The attorney general responded by threatening legal action if the Health Department determines its facilities are in violation of the state’s order.

“This is not about abortions,” said Bethany McCorkle, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, in an email to CBS News. “This is about nonessential surgeries using PPE during this pandemic.”

Pro-life organizations have responded forcefully to the abortion industry’s attempts to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) noted in a press release:

Continuing to perform elective abortions during a pandemic is medically irresponsible. Abortions use up much needed resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment,” said the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Five percent of women who undergo abortions for medical or surgical abortions experience complications that require evaluation in the hospital, and most clinics do not manage their own complications and send women to emergency rooms, this only adds to the burden of hospitals who are already struggling to keep with the expanding COVID-19 pandemic.

“The sheer selfishness on display by abortionists refusing to close shop even for a brief time to funnel every possible resource to the brave medical providers … is simply unconscionable,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life.

Those women who experience an unplanned pregnancy during this national emergency need the same thing women in crisis need any other time.

“Information, resources, empowerment, and love are the ways that we can best help mothers experiencing an unplanned pregnancy,” Foster said.

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