I’m an ER Doctor. Here’s Why Abortion Isn’t an ‘Essential Health Service’

Although we appear to be
“flattening the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic, with governors slowly lifting
stay-at-home orders and hospitals beginning to schedule surgeries again,
infection spikes in certain regions remain a possibility.

Throughout the coming months, we
need to focus as a society on medical care that will not only help us survive
but thrive.

Working in emergency rooms as an emergency medicine physician of more than 20 years, I’m particularly concerned that abortion activists have been promoting and advocating abortion as an “essential health service.”

>>> When can America reopen? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, is gathering America’s top thinkers together to figure that out. Learn more here.

An essential health service is a
health care action or medical procedure that is essential to protecting the
life of a human. But the truth is that rather than helping women through this
pandemic, abortion is more likely to worsen the toll of illness.

Any decision about a medical
procedure as serious as terminating a pregnancy must be made with facts and an
assessment of risks. When medical equipment is scarce and many resources must
be directed toward treating victims of COVID-19, continuing to perform abortions
is medically

Here are three key facts:

1. The stress of
COVID-19 adds to abortion’s emotional toll.

Abortion is known to result in
mental health issues, and COVID-19 is likely to exacerbate those negative effects.
Anxiety and fear have exploded during this time as many Americans suffer from
prolonged isolation and economic challenges.

Calls to the federal mental health
crisis hotline are nearly 900% greater than this
time last year. According to Kaiser
Family Foundation
, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that
their mental health has been affected negatively due to worry and stress over
the coronavirus.

Combined with the emotional toll of abortion, the impact of this stress is amplified. Abortion long has been associated with serious, adverse mental health outcomes such as depression, grief, persistent sadness and elevated stress–many of the same mental health challenges we are seeing from COVID-19.

>>> Brian Fisher, president of Human Coalition, is among guests set to participate in “Preserving Life in a Global Pandemic,” a Heritage Foundation webinar, at 11 a.m. May 13.

Losing a baby, whether from abortion or a spontaneous miscarriage, causes emotional pain. Women who have abortions face higher rates of depression.

Data shows an increase in the number of suicide attempts by women who previously had an abortion. In fact, women who get abortions are at a 154% increased risk of suicide, according to the Southern Medical Journal.

What’s more, we know that women
sometimes are coerced into abortion as a result of domestic abuse. Claiming
that abortion is an “essential health service” only will minimize the emotional
risks, fueling this cycle of violence and pressure.

At a time when domestic abuse afflicts
more women than ever before, we need to respect and support women, not
encourage them to get abortions.

2. Complications
from abortion are more dangerous during a pandemic.

Complications from an abortion are
a significant risk–even more so during a pandemic with an over-stressed
healthcare system. I’ve seen firsthand the life-threatening medical
complications that stem from an abortion procedure.

This type of crisis is often the
result of abortion clinics not being equipped to provide the necessary
emergency care. Instead, they send women to the ER.

Abortion itself carries risks of
infection and increases the likelihood of women needing additional medical
supervision and treatment. Also, blood loss, inflammatory stress, and other
adverse outcomes from abortion can compromise a woman’s health and immune
system, which makes her more susceptible to contracting a virus.

Chemical abortions, such as by the
brand-name drug Mifeprex, are no safer. Typically 5% to 7% of
undergo a chemical abortion require surgical follow-up procedures.
Experimenting with an abortion at home–especially right now–is very dangerous.

3.  COVID-19
doesn’t affect pregnancies.

I have heard from pregnant women who are worried that continuing a pregnancy during COVID-19 could be harmful. I understand their concerns, but the available data suggests that pregnant women do not suffer from coronavirus infections.

And as yet there is no evidence of
vertical transmission of the coronavirus from mother to baby; the virus hasn’t
been found in breast
milk or amniotic fluid
 after birth. To date, the research shows that women infected
with the coronavirus during pregnancydon’t have a higher incidence of
compromised health or unhealthy babies.

Some women may be considering
abortion because they fear that increased doctor visits and a hospital birth
might expose them and their family at home to COVID-19. In actuality, abortion
puts women at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than their pregnancy does.


Abortion has long-term detrimental
effects on a woman, the data shows. Our nation desperately needs more love and
hope, and less death and despair.

The reality is that if women who
face unplanned pregnancies view abortion as the “healthy” option, we know that
it is in fact a fatal deception.

As a physician who deals with
death daily in the ER, I can say that death of any kind is horrific. I believe
we can and must protect the lives of both the young and the old, and this
includes protecting preborn human life.

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