Clinical Confusion in a Crisis

April 14, 2020

It's the very emergency that governors like Greg Abbott (R-Texas) have been trying to avoid. While hospitals burst at the seams with virus patients, the last thing first responders need is to be called to the scene of a completely avoidable tragedy. And yet, that's exactly what happened two Saturdays ago thanks to an overflowing abortion clinic in Illinois that was racing through procedures so fast that it botched one.

It was one of the rare places the state -- and maybe the country -- where the parking lot was completely full. The Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City had "packed them in like sardines," one pro-lifer said, noticing there wasn't a single parking spot left in the whole place. But for at least one patient, the booming business took a horrible turn when an ambulance pulled in, loaded her onto a gurney, and sped away to a nearby hospital.

This is exactly the scenario state leaders were worried about. Not only are packed waiting rooms a breeding ground for the virus, but abortion clinics aren't exactly bastions of health and safety. And when the procedures go wrong (as they often do), these women end up in hospitals that are already overwhelmed. For Governor Abbott, John Bel Edwards (R-La.), and others, the whole point behind banning non-essential medical procedures was to spare the country from dilemmas like this one that take up beds we should be using for the current crisis.

None of that seems to matter to groups like Planned Parenthood, who are suing in states like Texas to keep their killing offices open -- no matter the cost to their health, their patients' health, or society's at large. If a single choir practice, where singers were practicing social distancing and hand-sanitizing, could infect 75 percent, just imagine the outbreak when moms are jammed into clinics that have been exposed to dozens of people a day.

It's such a serious threat to public health that in Louisiana, Governor Edwards actually launched an investigation to see who's violating the non-essential order. Headed up by state Attorney General Jeff Landry, he's sent teams to three abortion clinics to follow up on complaints that these businesses are defying the order and ending pregnancies anyway. These violators, Landry explained, "not only put patients and staff at risk, they also divert much needed [equipment] away from the brave medical professionals currently treating Louisiana's coronavirus patients."

Our supply chain, he pointed out, "has been affected by this global pandemic. And, of course, the responsible thing is [to do like a lot of other doctors' offices have done and] donate their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to nearby hospitals to make sure they have enough to deal with COVID-19." Dentists seem to understand this, Landry shook his head. Others do too. But "for some reason, the abortion industry believes they're above the law. That they're in a different class of health care than everyone else. And you know, it's really disappointing."

In places like Baton Rouge and New Orleans, eyewitnesses have reported a lot of traffic in and out of abortion clinics. That's problematic, Landry argued. "What we want to do is ensure that, again, all health care clinics don't create a superhighway that is conducive for communicable diseases. We want to ensure that clinics around Louisiana that are operating inside of those executive orders and aren't doing so in a manner that's creating an additional public health care crisis inside one already."

His team is making the same argument in court, where abortion groups have sued to overturn bans on non-essential procedures in states like Texas and Oklahoma. "Health care," Landry insisted, "is part of the policing power of the state." There should be no special treatment for abortion, Alliance Defending Freedom President Mike Farris agreed. "The normal rules of law are supposed to apply to everybody equally. And the Fifth Circuit did a great job of saying 'No, the governor is within his prerogatives here, and is treating you equally...'"

The 10th Circuit Court disagreed, reversing Oklahoma's hold on abortion and creating a split in appeals that could force the Supreme Court to weigh in. If they do, there's a big chance the abortion industry won't like it. The last thing they want is for the justices to rule that abortion isn't an essential medical procedure -- a decision that could haunt them on every case moving forward. "They're taking a pretty big risk for a very short period of time," Mike agreed. But unfortunately, the risk isn't just to them. As long as they keep operating, it's to everyone