Killing Isn't Essential, Judges Rule
April 08, 2020
In a world that's only hearing about lives being lost, the Fifth Circuit Court is writing a different story about the ones being saved. Thanks to the courage of governors like Greg Abbott (R-Texas), there are literally hundreds of babies who are still alive in the womb today because leaders had enough sense to put a stop to abortions during the virus crisis. And Tuesday, to the relief of pro-lifers, judges refused to get in their way.
The order came down from Governor Abbott on a Saturday, March 22. Any procedure that isn't "medically necessary" must be put on hold. The nation, he insisted, was in the middle of a health care crisis -- and all of the state's energy needed to be directed to treating COVID-19 patients. Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood kicked and screamed, insisting this was all a conspiracy against the abortion industry. They were wrong. Putting a pause on the destruction of innocent children's lives just happened to be one of the side benefits.
As Abbott and others have tried to explain, the reason for this is that there are a limited number of ICU beds. And right now, we want all of the states' material, equipment, and medical personnel focused on the coronavirus. What they're trying to stop is anything that would unintentionally or unnecessarily take up one of those beds. So they halted non-essential medical procedures. All of them. Now, abortion in many states -- not all -- is regulated just like an outpatient surgery center, so they're treated the same when it comes to regulations. If those facilities are ordered not to operate, then abortion clinics shouldn't be either.
But businesses like Planned Parenthood don't see it that way. They took the state to court, demanding special treatment to keep ending pregnancies. Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court said no. "Individual rights," Trump appointee Kyle Duncan wrote, "secured by the Constitution do not disappear during a public health crisis, but... rights could be reasonably restricted during those times."
"When faced with a society-threatening epidemic, a state may implement emergency measures that curtail constitutional rights so long as the measures have at least some 'real or substantial relation' to the public health crisis and are not 'beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law,'" he insisted.
Acting Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson couldn't believe her ears. "This is unconscionable," she seethed. "Patients are already being forced to put their lives in harm's way during a pandemic, and now will be forced to continue doing so to get the health care they need. Abortion is essential, it's time-sensitive, and it cannot wait for a pandemic to pass." Obviously, no liberal wants abortion to be labeled "non-essential," since that cuts to the very heart of the far-Left argument. They've been insisting all along that "abortion is health care," when in fact, as far as this court is concerned, it's not essential. That could have serious ramifications in the way the procedure is viewed -- not just in times of crisis, but in general.
In the meantime, Americans are getting a good look at just how important the president's judicial appointments continue to be. To 261 babies -- and counting -- it's more than important. It could mean their very lives.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.