THE U.S. ABORTION INDUSTRY muffled other voices concerned about women’s health in 2020. In January, both houses of the Virginia Legislature passed bills rescinding state laws requiring women to obtain an ultrasound and wait 24 hours before having an abortion. Pro-life nurse Paige Coulter saw the removal of the ultrasound requirement as a threat to women’s health: “My biggest fear as a nurse is that women would be experiencing complications, and without that ultrasound component, they’re not being fully assessed.” She sees abortionists as the beneficiaries: They profit from rushing women into permanent decisions that they’ll later regret.
Five months later, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the controversial abortion case June Medical Services v. Russo. The court sided with groups that prioritize abortion access over women’s health. Their attorneys argued the laws requiring Louisiana abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges would close down abortion facilities. Pro-life groups said letting abortionists evade common medical standards will put the lives and health of women at risk.
The June Medical case was argued and decided while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg still anchored the liberal wing of the court. After her death, the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in late 2020 gave pro-lifers hope the court will hand down rulings more protective of pregnant women and babies.
“My biggest fear as a nurse is that women would be experiencing complications, and without that ultrasound component, they’re not being fully assessed.”
THE SAME MONTH the Supreme Court handed down its June Medical decision, 300 employees of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York said it paid black staff members less than white ones and offered them little upward mobility. The employees said “Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist, white woman” and “has a history and a present steeped in white supremacy.” (Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger promoted limiting the reproduction of minorities and the disabled.)
The New York affiliate removed Sanger’s name from its Manhattan facility. In a similar move, U.K.-based abortion provider Marie Stopes International changed its name to MSI Reproductive Choices in November to distance itself from its eugenicist founder and its history of pushing abortions and contraceptives on certain populations. Former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson remembers employees talking about Sanger’s racist worldview when Johnson worked at a Texas facility in the early 2000s. But, looking back, she said most of the comments were dismissive, along the lines of Everybody was racist at the time.