By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
March 26, 2020
Pregnancy help centers and statewide faith-based organizations are among a growing chorus of voices urging North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to suspend elective abortions during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, the Christian Action League joined the NC Family Policy Council, the NC Values Coalition, Concerned Women for America of NC, NC Faith and Freedom Coalition and NC Right to Life to pen a letter calling for Cooper to recognize abortions as non-essential services and put them on hold just as the state has all other elective surgeries.
“It is unconscionable that Governor Roy Cooper and our state’s health leaders would ban elective surgeries and non-urgent medical procedures in light of COVID-19, and at the same time create a special carve-out for abortion and the abortion industry,” NC Family President John L. Rustin said in a press release.
On March 20, the State Secretary of Health and Human Services had directed all hospitals and surgery centers to cease elective and non-urgent procedures as of Monday, but officials made it clear that abortion clinics were not being asked to close.
“My daughter-in-law is caring for three small children with a hip desperately in need of replacing, but her surgery has been canceled because it’s considered an elective surgery. That’s completely understandable with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. What isn’t understandable is how anyone would think terminating a pregnancy is not an elective surgery,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“Isn’t that what pro-choice proponents have been saying all along? Isn’t that what the Governor has been saying? We’ve heard it argued repeatedly, ‘Abortion must remain a woman’s choice.’ Yet now it’s not a choice, but an essential service.”
Dr. Creech said the letter, initiated by the NC Values Coalition, simply asks the Governor to take action consistent with what he has said about abortion all along.
The writers of the letter reminded Cooper that 29,500 abortions were performed in North Carolina in 2017, the most recent year for which stats are available, and that ceasing the procedures would free up much-needed medical equipment and decrease the demand on emergency rooms.
“While surgery centers postpone elective and diagnostic procedures, abortion centers are churning out surgical and chemical abortions and putting women, especially the poor, at risk. Their continued operation depletes sorely needed personal protective equipment and leads to complications that will further overwhelm already overextended emergency rooms,” the letter reads.
“Furthermore, the abortion industry is putting women at risk of infection with COVID19, as well as its own employees by remaining open during this time of unprecedented peril. Many of the clinics in North Carolina see between 25 and 40 patients per day, far exceeding the recommended guidelines of no more than 10 people gathered in any one place.”
The letter called on Cooper to halt abortions unless there is “a true medical emergency making it necessary to avert death of the pregnant woman or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” It also asked that he urge abortion providers to donate their personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to be used for coronavirus response.
Similarly, an open letter presented as an online petition via change.org, called on Gov. Cooper to take “aggressive action” by closing all abortion clinics across the state on Wednesday, the same day his executive order shut down gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, health clubs, hair and nail salons, massage therapists and other businesses.
The more than 1,400 signers of that petition, which was started by Hand of Hope Pregnancy Center, acknowledge that the governor is under extreme pressure and commit to continue praying for him during this time of crisis. At the same time, they remind him of his duty to protect North Carolinians.
“We are fully aware that you do not share our views on the humanity of the pre-born; but we are fully confident that you agree that protecting the women who are entering these abortion clinics to procure elective procedures as well as the abortion clinic workers themselves is of utmost importance,” the letter states. “These customers and abortion clinic staff are being unnecessarily exposed to the COVID-19 virus and further exposing our general population once they return to their respective homes across the state and some into South Carolina and Virginia.”
The petition calls on Cooper to follow the lead of officials in Texas and Ohio, who have ordered abortion clinics closed to help their states better cope with the COVID disaster. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order to prevent a shortage of hospital capacity or PPE, and the Ohio Attorney General’s office directed abortion clinics to comply with a March 18 directive ending all elective surgeries.
Both missives to Gov. Cooper came on the heels of a nationwide call for the suspension of all elective abortions. That one came from the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, Christian Medical & Dental Associations, the Catholic Medical Association and the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons — organizations representing more than 30,000 physicians.
“In such an uncertain and tumultuous time, the entire healthcare profession is being called upon to conserve resources and healthcare professionals to an extent never seen before,” the pro-life medical groups said in their statement. “And yet, in the midst of this call, while hospitals are postponing elective procedures and many outpatient clinics are rescheduling non-essential office visits, the abortion industry continues with business as usual.”
They denounced abortion-providers’ claims that the deadly procedure is “an essential component of comprehensive health care” and pointed out that services that do constitute essential health care for women, including Pap smears, mammograms and pelvic exams, are being postponed to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to conserve medical resources.
“Continuing to perform elective abortions during a pandemic is medically irresponsible,” they concluded.
Rev. Creech pointed out the tragic irony of abortion clinics continuing to go about “business as usual” while the rest of the state and nation are taking extreme and often sacrificial actions aimed at saving lives.
“Think of it. Many throughout our state have been ordered to ‘shelter in place’ – to spare suffering – to spare life from a deadly pandemic. A baby is in the most secure refuge – sheltered in place by the highest executive order – that of the Almighty – but that order would be violently defied by the deadly abortionist’s knife with permission from our Governor and the state’s health directors,” he said.