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Will the Supreme Court Betray Women?

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon issue its most significant abortion opinion in decades.

At issue is a 2013 Texas law which requires that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and that abortion clinics meet the same standards as other outpatient surgical centers.

The shrill cries of abortion advocates, calling for the Court to strike down this law, have rung throughout the media. They claim this case, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstadt, if decided against them, would deprive women of access to healthcare and deny poor women their basic “right” to an abortion.

We hope the Supreme Court Justices will not crumble under the flimsy arguments the abortion industry is feeding them. The Justices have an opportunity to protect women and their health, and not give the abortion industry carte blanche to sacrifice women’s healthcare in the name of profit.

Just three years ago, Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was sentenced to 30 years in prison for first-degree murder, killing babies born alive after failed abortions. The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report described the scene investigators found when they entered Gosnell’s abortion clinic:

There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets…The two surgical procedure rooms were filthy and unsanitary.

One investigator described the surgical rooms as resembling “a bad gas station restroom.”

Abortion groups in Pennsylvania knowingly refused to protect women and report Gosnell. This is the same industry that is now refusing to comply with normal safety standards in Texas and other states that seek to protect women from having to go to substandard facilities for healthcare.

The plaintiff in the Supreme Court case is Whole Women’s Health, an abortion facility. In an ironic twist of fate, this facility has been cited multiple times for healthcare violations including infection control issues, rusty medical equipment, failure to license staff, and the lack of life-saving tools on-site (some of the same safety issues Gosnell violated).

The hypocrisy is astounding.

More than one hundred female attorneys submitted an amicus brief in this case, claiming that without having their abortions they would never have become the successful career women they are today. It’s all very fine for a handful of elite, powerful, well-educated attorneys, who have likely never stepped into a substandard medical facility in their lives, to imagine that they’re somehow “helping” poor women by removing all medical standards for abortionists operating in rural areas.

Rural health care is in crisis in this nation, that’s abundantly clear. But the answer to the crisis for those women in rural areas who lack access to a regulated abortion clinic isn’t to lower the standards.

Many vulnerable young mothers find the experience of aborting a baby extremely traumatic under any circumstances—even if it’s done by a competent doctor in a “nice, clean” hospital. Won’t undergoing the experience at the hands of a careless doctor in a filthy clinic increase the likelihood the abortion will haunt and traumatize her for the rest of her life?

These high-wattage attorneys are all imagining every young pregnant woman is as “in charge” of her life—and her abortion decision–as they were. But what of the young, vulnerable pregnant mother in rural Texas whose boyfriend or husband coerces her to go to one of these substandard clinics for an abortion because he doesn’t want the child?

No abortionist or abortion facility should be immune from safety standards but that is exactly what the abortion industry is pleading the U.S. Supreme Court to do. Abortion advocates are all imagining some perfect “fantasy abortion” in which the woman boldly makes her own “choice” and then walks merrily out the clinic and goes on to earn her law degree, when we know for a fact that the medical industry conceals within its groins an untold number of shady characters like Kermit Gosnell.

And by urging the U.S. Supreme Court to deregulate the abortion industry, they’re only making it more likely that another Kermit Gosnell will be able to keep operating far away from medical oversight.

We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will truly protect poor women’s health by allowing this Texas law to stand.

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America. Journalist Sue Ellen Browder is author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.

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