Here are a few examples of headlines over recent weeks.
“Republicans exploit coronavirus to restrict
abortions.” — Los Angeles Times
“The Coronavirus Becomes an Excuse to Restrict
Abortions,” — The New York Times
“Texas women forced to travel 20 times farther for
abortion under coronavirus ban.” — The Hill
Five states–Texas, Ohio, Alabama, Iowa, and Mississippi–that
are prohibiting nonessential medical procedures during the novel coronavirus
health crisis have included abortion among these nonessential procedures.
These measures have been taken with one objective in mind:
saving lives. To suggest otherwise is cynical and obscene.
The logic is straightforward. There is a dire shortage of
medical equipment, facilities, and personnel. Plus, most states have mandated
social distancing to arrest the spread of infection–requirements that would be
impossible to adhere to in abortion clinics.
It so happens that halting abortion saves the lives of
unborn children. This is always true. But prohibiting needed supplies from
being tied up and enforcing distance will also save the lives of Americans
under threat of the virus.
Abortion providers in Texas, led by Planned Parenthood, the
nation’s largest abortion provider, filed suit against the state’s decision to
restrict abortions under these circumstances. Their claim was upheld in federal
district court, and permission for abortions was restored. However, the state
appealed the decision, and the appeals court reversed the decision and restored
the restriction, pending a hearing on April 13.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James was
interviewed on National Public Radio to discuss her efforts to organize
opposition to efforts to include abortion as a prohibited, nonessential
procedure during this crisis.
Per James, New York and 17 other states have filed an amicus
brief to support Texas abortion providers’ efforts to restore permissibility of
James says: “this ban does nothing, nothing to prevent
the transmission of the coronavirus. … Texas is doing nothing more than using
this pandemic as an excuse to trespass on the rights of women and to treat them
like second-class citizens.”
This comes from the attorney general of New York, the state
with the nation’s highest abortion rate–and the nation’s gravest challenges
during this COVID-19 crisis.
How is it that the New York attorney general finds time to
challenge how Texas is managing its fight against the coronavirus when her own
state cannot manage its crisis?
As of this writing, there were 123,018 coronavirus cases in
New York, amounting to 37% of all cases in the U.S. In Texas, there are 7,045.
New York has 6,324 cases per million people. Texas has 243 per million.
The fatality rate in New York among confirmed cases is 3.38%
compared with a fatality rate in Texas of 1.89%.
It should be clear that the attorney general of New York
shouldn’t be criticizing how those in Texas or any other state are dealing with
this crisis given that there is no place more out of control than New York.
In the best of circumstances, crises, personal or national,
should be a time of growth and learning. They should bring out the best in us
rather than the worst.
I wish Americans would be equally shocked hearing that
almost a million unborn children are destroyed in the womb every year as they
are shocked hearing an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 will die from the
You would think times like these would inspire humility and
reverence for the miracle of life. Challenges like these should make us better
Americans and better people.
But, apparently, things have become so coarse that that’s
not happening in many circles. It certainly doesn’t seem to be happening in New
Maybe one day we’ll grow. Meanwhile, the focus should be on saving lives, born and unborn.
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