Ethics & Religion
March 3, 2016
Abortion Case in Supreme Court
By Mike McManus
most important abortion case in two decades was argued this week before
the Supreme Court. Eight justices heard a case on Wednesday challenging
a Texas law to require that doctors performing abortions have admitting
privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and that the abortion clinics
meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
The case is Whole Women's Health v. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of
Texas Department of State Health Services.
Arina Grossu, Director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human
Dignity, argues, "The need to regulate abortion facilities is necessary
to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion
facilities. Mandating basic sanitary and mobility standards within
abortion centers and then requiring governmental oversight of them is
Nationally, up to 26,500 women experienced complications from an
abortion and approximately 3,180 required hospitalization in 2011 for
first trimester abortions alone.
In fact, Planned Parenthood conceded in this case that 210 Texas women
had to be hospitalized after damages to their health from an abortion.
Operation Rescue estimates that the figure is higher - closer to 1,000
hospitalized after complications from an abortion. There was one such
case in Dallas just this week.
Therefore, why isn't it reasonable that physicians performing abortions
have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion
clinic? Ideally, the doctor would travel with the injured patient to the
hospital to explain what had gone amiss.
Sadly, that is unheard of. The abortionist simply goes on to his next
abortion. So abortionists ask why they should have admitting privileges
at a hospital?
However, the National Abortion Federation recommended in its
publication, "Having an Abortion? Your Guide To Good Care" (2000), that
"in the case of emergency, the doctor should be able to admit patients
to a nearby hospital (no more than 20 minutes away)."
An amicus brief filed in this case by a coalition of religious
organizations cited the publication, noting "This requirement proposed
by the industry's own trade association is more rigorous than Texas'
A second requirement of the Texas law before the Court is that an
abortion clinic meet health and safety standards that are currently
applied to ambulatory surgical centers. These regulations are designed
to safeguard against unsanitary conditions, inferior equipment and the
employment of unsuitable and untrained personnel in abortion facilities.
Opponents argued that the regulations have resulted in more than half of
the state's 41 abortion clinics deciding to close rather than meet the
standards. To abortion opponents that is a victory which will result in
fewer women getting abortions.
There will still be an abortion clinic in all major cities, and within
150 miles of 90 percent of the Texas population.
Over the last six years, Ms. Grossu notes that "more than 150 abortion
providers in at least 30 states have faced criminal charges,
investigations, administrative complaints and/or civil law suits related
to substandard practices or operation of these abortion facilities."
She cites the infamous example of now imprisoned abortionist Kermit
Gosnell who profited by the lack of oversight of his gruesome "House of
Horrors" in Philadelphia. His barbaric practices led to women being
injured or killed in his facility. His center was not inspected for 17
years, even after multiple complaints to the Philadelphia Department of
His facility was shielded from inspections in the name of the insistent
demand of those advocating that there be no "barrier up to women"
considering abortion even if this means exposing women to unsafe and
His facility's hallways were so narrow that it was impossible to use a
stretcher to take Kamamaya Mongar, who was severely injured during an
abortion - to the hospital. An emergency door was only a few steps from
the abortion procedure room, yet it was "chained and padlocked and
neither Gosnell nor his staff had the key."
Firefighters finally opened the door with a bolt cutter. Sadly, it was
too late. Mongar died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Of course, such extreme cases resulting in death are rare. However, many
women are injured by abortions. Three told their stories at the Family
Research Council on Tuesday. Nona Ellington said she had an abortion
after being the victim of a rape when she was age 16. The result? "I
have not been able to have children at all. I have had five
"That affected me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I can't have
The Court should uphold the Texas law to protect the health of women.
Copyright Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a
syndicated columnist. Earlier columns may be found at
www.ethicsandreligion.com. A Search key will pull up all columns on
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