Law & the Courts

The Abortion Industry’s Hypocrisy, Coming Soon to the Supreme Court

As it closed a controversial term last week, the Supreme Court signaled a readiness to hear its first abortion case since 2007. Five justices agreed to halt temporarily the enforcement of a Texas law mandating health and safety standards for abortion facilities. Abortion-industry lawyers will next formally ask the Court to review a lower court’s ruling upholding the law, and their request will almost certainly be granted.

Motivated by a choice not to comply with the same standards currently applied to other outpatient surgical procedures, the abortion industry instead manufactured a claim that the law would force most of Texas’s 19 abortion clinics to close. Refusing to adhere to widely accepted health and safety standards should not form the basis for a viable legal claim, as the lower court held.

Abortion advocates have filed multiple lawsuits against recently enacted state abortion laws, arguing that these laws must be invalidated because they will put abortion providers out of business. The abortion industry falsely contends that these laws will unjustly deny women adequate access to abortion in their home states. In reality, laws protecting maternal health do not close clinics; abortion providers close clinics when they refuse to comply with medically appropriate standards and choose instead to cease operations.

Such refusals are not evidence of concern for women; rather, they are evidence of the abortion industry’s rank hypocrisy, promoting substandard services ahead of the interests of women.

Attempting to maintain the façade of a women’s-rights advocate, the abortion industry falsely asserts that abortion is safe and that “house of horror” abortion clinics like the one run by convicted killer Kermit Gosnell are aberrations. Inconvenient facts such as hundreds of medical studies from around the world demonstrating both the physical and psychological harms of abortion or the growing number of substandard abortion mills investigated by state health and law-enforcement officials are blatantly ignored by an industry more concerned with maximizing its profits than in protecting women’s health and safety.

While these perpetual falsehoods are both cynical and intentionally manipulative, the abortion industry’s current propaganda is perhaps its most incriminating. In the wake of increasing state legislative efforts to protect women from an under-regulated and under-supervised abortion industry, abortion advocates argue that women’s health is dependent on mere access to abortion clinics, regardless of their condition. In their view, abortion access must be ubiquitous and guaranteed by zip code, even if access in that zip code is to a filthy, substandard clinic.

Abortion advocates argue that women’s health is dependent on mere access to abortion clinics, regardless of their condition.

When fighting against health and safety standards in court, the abortion industry regularly alleges that these protective state laws will increase costs and, ultimately, close abortion clinics, forcing many women to travel out of state for abortions and jeopardizing their health and safety. Strangely, these purportedly draconian consequences apparently do not apply when, for example, Planned Parenthood voluntarily decides to move one of its abortion clinics to another state.

In 2012, New Hampshire enacted a law requiring an abortion provider to notify a parent or guardian at least 48 hours before a minor’s planned abortion. In response, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England moved its abortion clinic in Lebanon, N.H., to White River Junction, Vt. Interestingly, Vermont does not have a parental-involvement law, so Planned Parenthood will be legally unencumbered and free to perform more secret abortions on minors, increasing its potential revenue in the process and exposing minors to increased health risks.

Curiously, the abortion industry did not condemn Planned Parenthood’s actions. No accusations were made that women in New Hampshire now faced decreased access and increased travel times to an abortion clinic as a result of Planned Parenthood’s self-interested business decision. The abortion giant was not criticized for allegedly endangering women’s health by closing its clinic in New Hampshire and moving its operations to Vermont. Apparently, when profits are at stake, abortion access really does not need to be guaranteed by zip code.

The abortion industry cannot have it both ways. After attacking states for enacting protective laws that the industry alleges will shut down clinics and hurt women, it cannot honestly expect support — or at least willful silence — when it makes a profit-motivated decision to move one of its abortion mills, apparently with little consideration for the women it leaves behind.

Deception and profit-motivated hypocrisy have long been the abortion industry’s signature. The industry’s frequently professed concern for women is pure fabrication. No longer should anyone be fooled by its self-serving, deceitful statements to the contrary.

Denise M. Burke is vice president of legal affairs for Americans United for Life.

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