Abortion Is Never Medically Necessary

EDITORIAL: Such procedures completely fail the test of being an essential medical procedure in this time of pandemic — or at any other time.

Pro-life activists participate in a rally outside of the Supreme Court as the justices hear oral arguments in the June Medical Services v. Russo case on March 4 in Washington. The Louisiana abortion case is the first major abortion case to make it to the Supreme Court since Donald Trump became president.
Pro-life activists participate in a rally outside of the Supreme Court as the justices hear oral arguments in the June Medical Services v. Russo case on March 4 in Washington. The Louisiana abortion case is the first major abortion case to make it to the Supreme Court since Donald Trump became president. (photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images))

Across the nation and around the world, there is a grave necessity to concentrate humanity’s scarce medical resources on the mission of saving the lives of as many gravely ill coronavirus victims as possible.

Yet according to the abortion lobby, abortion is an “essential medical service” that must be provided during this period of global pandemic lockdowns.

This raises the question: On what possible grounds can a death-dealing procedure like abortion be deemed an action that has to continue at a time when the provision of medical services is being so restricted?

Merriam-Webster defines “essential” as meaning “of the utmost importance: basic, indispensable, necessary.” The primary determinant of whether abortion meets this threshold is whether or not it is medically required. And the simple fact, as the Catholic Medical Association notes on its website, is that direct abortion, undertaken for the specific purpose of ending the unborn child’s life, is never medically necessary.

It can be the case that an unborn baby’s life may be lost as a result of a medical procedure undertaken in order to save the life of the mother, but that’s a very rare circumstance and one that’s very different from an elective abortion. Consequently, the U.S. states that have specified that abortion can’t be designated as essential, like Texas, have qualified their bans with language allowing for medical procedures that really are necessary.

But almost all elective abortions completely fail the test of being an essential medical procedure in this time of pandemic — or at any other time, for that matter.

This “basic, indispensable and necessary” fact about abortion, which demolishes the claim of its being essential, has been studiously ignored by Planned Parenthood and other abortion purveyors. Instead, they have launched legal challenges seeking to overturn coronavirus abortion bans, primarily on the grounds that they violate the constitutional right to abortion established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Unfortunately, the courts, even in pro-life states like Alabama, have largely been amenable to setting aside the state bans on such legal grounds.

In truth, abortion-rights activists’ own rhetoric, which constantly casts abortion as a woman’s sacrosanct personal “choice,” further undermines any claim of it being medically essential.

As Mark Harrington, president of the pro-life group Created Equal, pointedly remarked late last month in the context of the abortion-coronavirus debate, “If abortion is a ‘choice,’ then abortion is an elective procedure.”

There’s another key reason that every state ought to be following the lead of those that have designated abortion as nonessential. Aside from the pressing need not to squander scarce medical resources, nonessential medical procedures are being discouraged by public authorities for the same reason as every other nonessential activity: to minimize the potential of spreading the coronavirus.

In this context, it is salient to spotlight the documented reality of the substandard medical and hygienic practices in many abortion facilities. This known willingness by many abortion practitioners to cut corners can only serve to increase the risk of contracting the highly contagious coronavirus at their facilities.

Media supporters of abortion, such as The New York Times, ignore this reality and have instead published articles claiming that abortion bans serve to increase the risk of a pregnant woman becoming infected because they would force her to travel from her home state to another jurisdiction in search of abortion.

Conveniently omitted from this calculus is the fact that if elective abortions are banned everywhere during this pandemic — as they should be, to conserve badly needed medical resources — women would have no reason to travel anywhere for the procedure, thereby reducing to zero the chance of contracting the potentially deadly virus as a result of seeking an abortion.

Other arguments disseminated in favor of designating abortion as “essential” are similarly false and misleading. But even more fundamentally, by its very nature, abortion is opposed to the rationale underlying the restrictions that have been instituted temporarily halting a broad range of nonessential medical treatments.

The dictionary definition for essential cited above is actually the second meaning listed for the word by Merriam-Webster; the first defines it as “of, relating to, or constituting essence.”

So what’s the essence of the coronavirus medical restrictions? They are in place for a single overarching reason: to save lives. Abortion, by contrast, is the ending of an unborn life, and, consequently, it is in total contradiction to the crucial tasks to which medical professionals are courageously dedicating their life skills at this most difficult moment.

Ironically, this reality was powerfully illustrated by another recent New York Times article, titled “Hope, and New Life, in a Brooklyn Maternity Ward Fighting COVID-19,” profiling the lifesaving work being carried out under fire by Dr. Erroll Byer Jr., chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, and his colleagues at the hospital.

For once the Times represents unborn babies for what they are — newly forming human lives — not as “pregnancies” awaiting “termination,” as they are commonly represented when the newspaper is lobbying in favor of abortion.

And the article rightfully celebrates the fact that, despite being located in the very heart of the epicenter of the worst coronavirus hot spot in the United States, Byer and the other heroic doctors and nurses at the Brooklyn hospital have been able to save the lives of every single mother and baby who came there for coronavirus-related treatments since the outbreak erupted.

The importance of faith also is acknowledged in The New York Times portrayal. Basharrie McKenzie, an expectant mother who was sent home with her healthy unborn baby after they were placed for a time on a ventilator in the hospital’s intensive care unit, praised God for the positive outcome and noted that her sister, who is a Protestant pastor in Toronto, had requested prayers be said for her.

And discussing the trials of working with the necessary protective gear to guard against infection, maternity nurse Angela Lewis commented matter-of-factly, “You just be a little bit more careful. And pray, pray.”

Saving the lives of unborn babies and their mothers through skilled care and prayer — that’s essential medical service in the time of coronavirus. Not abortion.

Caravaggio, “The Incredulity of St. Thomas,” c. 1601

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