Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Still open and aborting

Life | Abortion centers lobby against life during the coronavirus pandemic
by Leah Hickman
Posted 3/23/20, 04:10 pm

Despite lockdowns, quarantines, and a critical shortage of medical supplies, pro-abortion groups are pushing to keep abortion businesses running.

The National Abortion Federation, a professional group for abortionists, said Wednesday it “calls on leaders to ensure that outpatient abortion clinics can remain open and urges hospitals to continue to provide abortion care,” even as the federal government called on healthcare providers to cancel all elective and nonessential procedures. Many abortion centers self-declared their services essential and carried on business as usual. The governors of Texas and Ohio explicitly told abortionists to stop, at least for now.

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute predicted the increased demand for healthcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic could “create a shortage of clinicians” who can perform abortions and related “services.”

Last week, HuffPost reported on a Texas abortionist, Joe Nelson, who showed symptoms of the illness and had to self-quarantine for two weeks. He said the state has few abortionists, and some of them commute from out of state.

“In a situation where doctors are less likely to want to travel, if there’s no one to cover me, patients will have to wait,” Nelson said.

Mothers who wait may get far enough along in their pregnancy that state laws will protect their babies from abortions.

Some abortionists have started to push for even more drug-induced abortions. In a tweet, one abortionist promoted “self-managed abortion” as a “safe” and “necessary” alternative for women who can’t get a surgical abortion during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The abortion clinics—they’re doing it for the bottom line,” said Anne O’Connor, a staff member at the National Institute for Family and Life Advocates.

Since their business model depends on abortion, these businesses have to stay open to survive. Even a shelter-in-place order in California says the state’s Planned Parenthood facilities are still operating, said Heidi Matzke, the executive director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center, a pro-life resource for women in Sacramento. Her center is staying open, too, but it has had to change its operations during the pandemic. It temporarily suspended all parenting classes and moved OB-GYN appointments to teleconferencing to minimize in-person contact.

Cindy Hopkins, a vice president at Care Net, said her organization is using webinars and online portals to communicate with its nationwide network of pro-life pregnancy centers about the outbreak. Care Net is preparing staff at its centers to discuss the new coronavirus with pregnant women. For now, researchers don’t know exactly what effect COVID-19 can have on a pregnancy. But Hopkins recognizes fears about passing the virus on to an unborn child could lead more women to abort. That’s all the more reason to be “bearers of truth and of hope,” she said, adding, “Even if we have to close our doors, we want to keep doing that.”

Even with limited in-person services, Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Sacramento decided to tap into its diaper supply to meet needs in the community. Although the center usually gives out diapers to patients who take its parenting classes, it is now providing them to anyone in need.

“We’re giving even when we don’t necessarily have the money,” said Matzke. “It’s not a lot, but it’s practical, and it’s a necessity for these young families right now.”

As with other organizations across the country, the future of Alternatives remains uncertain. But Matzke and her staff plan to do what they can to continue helping local families: “If we’re going to go down as an organization, we’re going to go down fighting for life.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Alliance Defending Freedom Ellinor Grimmark (left) and Linda Steen

Pro-life midwives lose case

The European Court of Human Rights rejected an appeal earlier this month from two Swedish midwives denied employment because of their pro-life views.

In 2013, a women’s clinic in Sweden offered midwife Ellinor Grimmark a job and then rescinded the offer after learning she would not help with abortions. Swedish law requires midwives to perform abortions, but Grimmark objected because of her Christian beliefs. Two other facilities also turned down her job applications because of her refusal to participate in a procedure that takes a life rather than sustaining it. Grimmark took the issue to a lower court in 2014. Later, Christian midwife Linda Steen faced similar discrimination in 2015 and joined Grimmark in her case.

The human rights court said the hospitals’ refusal to hire the women “pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the health of women seeking an abortion.” But Grimmark and Steen oppose abortion because they see it as a threat to the lives of innocent unborn children.

“I chose to become a midwife because I wanted to help bring life into this world,” Grimmark said after she first filed the case with the European court in 2017. “I cannot understand why the Swedish government refuses to accommodate my conscientious convictions.” —L.H.

iStock.com/Daniel Besic iStock.com/Daniel Besic

Corona babies?

Doctors speculate the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a spike in births in the coming months. Researchers have already recognized a link between baby booms and natural disasters, and experts predict this worldwide calamity could lead to an even more significant bump than normal.

“It’s going to happen,” Kevin Kathrotia, a North Carolina doctor, told Fox Business. “It’s probably going to be the biggest baby boom we’ve seen.” He added that he expects a spike in births in December.

But other doctors disagree. Renee Wellenstein of New York said the stress caused by the global pandemic will make it more difficult for couples to conceive. She predicted the end of the pandemic—not the outset—would lead to a spike in births. —L.H.

Pro-abortion loophole

House Democrats tried to sneak provisions for abortion into an economic stimulus package earlier this month, the Daily Caller reported. The proposed bill would have promised reimbursements for laboratory claims up to $1 billion, a provision that White House officials said would have allowed the government to pay for abortion procedures with federal dollars.

The 1976 Hyde Amendment blocks any federal money from going toward abortions, but this provision would have superseded that protection. The House ultimately passed a revised version of the bill that ensured funding would go toward COVID-19 treatments only—not abortions. —L.H.


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Leah Hickman

Leah is a reporter for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Hillsdale College graduate. Leah resides in Cleveland, Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @leahmhickman.

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