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Abortion and Coronavirus: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Unread 03.23.20, 08:40 PM
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Abortion and Coronavirus: Here’s What You Need to Know

On 03.23.20 01:08 PM posted by Melanie Israel

Abortion remains an issue of significance across the countryeven as the coronavirus spreads. As the crisis unfolds, policymakers mustensure that life-affirming policies that protect innocent, unborn life remainan integral part of our nation’s response, both legislatively andadministratively.

An initial draft of the FamiliesFirst Coronavirus Response Act, which President Donald Trump recentlysigned into law, did not contain language applying Hyde Amendment protectionsto new funding.

Congress and the White Houseworked to ensure that the final version of the bill maintained this importantprotection, which generally prohibits federal funding from providing forelective abortions.

Policymakers must remain vigilantand ensure that future legislative proposals don’t open new doors to paying forelective abortions with federal tax dollars.

Here is a roundup of other recentkey pro-life concerns and developments.

Ohio Declares Abortion a ‘Nonessential’ Service

In Ohio, state officials last week ordered health care providers to cancel “nonessential or elective surgeries and procedures” as part of the statewide effort to conserve personal protective equipment for health care workers on the front line of the COVID-19 fight.

Personal protective equipment, inshort supply at hospitals across the country, is a critical component toensuring that doctors, nurses, and other staff are able to serve patients whilepreserving their own health and safety.

According to the order, anessential procedure is one that must be carried out due to a “threat to thepatient’s life,” “threat of permanent dysfunction,” or “risk of rapidlyworsening to severe symptoms.”

The Washington Post reported thatOhio abortion clinics claim that they are in compliance with the state’s orderbecause abortion is an “essential,” time-sensitive procedure and that a delayor inability to obtain one can “profoundly impact a person’s life, health, andwell-being.”

In the wake of complaints thatabortion facilities continued flouting the order, Ohio Attorney General DaveYost sent a letterSaturday admonishing clinics for continuing to perform nonessential andelective surgical procedures.

Yost reemphasized the need to “preserve PPE [personal protective equipment] for health care providers who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic … and also to preserve critical hospital capacity and resources.”

It remains to be seen whether Ohioabortion clinics will comply with the order to cease nonessential proceduresand save personal protective equipment for health care providers working on thefront line to save lives as the coronavirus ravages the state.

On Monday, Texas joinedOhio in warning abortion providers to cease performing medically unnecessaryabortion procedures.

In a formal statement, AttorneyGeneral Ken Paxton, a Republican, said:
We must work together as Texans to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that our health care professionals and facilities have all the resources they need to fight the virus at this time. No one is exempt from [Gov. Greg Abbott’s] executive order on medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortion providers. Those who violate the governor’s order will be met with the full force of the law.

2 States Declare Abortion ‘Essential’

In contrast to Ohio’s action,authorities in Washington state and Massachusetts have declared that electiveabortion will remain an essential service.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hasindicated support for such policies. However, the American Association ofPro-Life Obstetricians andGynecologists released a statement pushing back, noting that theother organization isn’t even representing its own membership, “since more than85% of OB/GYNs do not perform abortions.”

The pro-life group’s statementcontinued:
If abortion was an ‘essential component’ of women’s health care, it would be a*part of most, if not all, of our practices. Services that are, in fact, part of essential care for women, such*as cervical cancer screening, screening mammograms, and screening pelvic exams, are being postponed*across this country as many offices reschedule non-urgent appointments in order to reduce their*patients’ risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to conserve scarce medical resources.

According to the AmericanAssociation of Pro-Life OB-GYNs, performingelective abortions during a pandemic is “medically irresponsible.”

In addition to using up desperatelyneeded personal protective equipment, abortion procedures come with the risk oftheir own complications that would require hospital evaluation, includinguterine perforation and hemorrhage. As emergency rooms and hospitals try tokeep up with COVID-19 patients, capacity and resources already will bestretched thin.

Loosening Safety Standards for Chemical Abortions

Although the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration has loosened some regulations that apply to telemedicine,restrictions on accessing chemical abortion pills remain in place.

However, abortion advocates have criticized this policy, which is in place to protect women’s health and safety. The chemical abortion pill regimen is governed by a “Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy” that includes, among other things, a requirement that abortion pills be dispensed in person—not over the phone or at a pharmacy.

The current precautions forchemical abortions are notstrong enough as it is. The Trump administration should resist calls fromabortion advocates to weaken important safety standards that are meant toprotect women from further adverse health consequences.

Scrapping Restriction on Fetal Tissue Research

A researcher at a NationalInstitutes of Health facility in Minnesota has appealedto the federal government for an exemption to the Trump administration’srestriction on using fetal tissue from elective abortions in NIH research.

As explained in a recent HeritageFoundation report,the Trump administration announced last summer that it would “cease intramuralresearch” within NIH that “used fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions”and would “subject extramural research (conducted outside the NIH, but with NIHgrant money) to additional levels of review.”

NIH also announced “a $20 million funding opportunity for alternative methods to current fetal tissue research practices,” the report said, adding:
These measures rightly further separate federal research funding from the abortion industry. Good science and life-affirming, ethical research are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, it is ethically derived sources—such as discarded surgical tissue and adult stem cells—that have contributed to successful treatments for a variety of ailments—not tissue obtained from elective abortions.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute,the research arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, has led the fight todispel myths about fetal tissue from aborted baby body parts and has done greatwork to highlight the myriad of ethical alternatives.

In a written statement, the institute said:
Those who advocate experimentation using body parts harvested from aborted children are shamelessly exploiting the coronavirus pandemic, playing on people’s fears at a vulnerable time so that a select few can continue to use aborted fetal tissue in their research. The fact is that there are modern, successful alternatives available.

Already, over 60 potential treatments are under investigation–none of which need aborted fetal tissue to fight coronavirus. Instead of wasting precious time listening to these dishonest claims, we should continue to focus our attention on successful, ethical alternatives that don’t require the exploitation of baby body parts, taxpayer dollars, and public sentiment that just wants a swift and compassionate end to this crisis.

The Trump administration shouldwholly reject calls to walk back one of its signature pro-life victories.

More Developments Ahead

In the weeks and months to come,policymakers at all levels of government will be working to respond to thecoronavirus pandemic.

Policymakers must remain vigilant and reject attempts to weaken pro-life protections or prop up the abortion industry. Responses to the pandemic “should be targeted, temporary, and directed at public health efforts.”

The post Abortion and Coronavirus: Here’s What You Need to Know appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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