If ever there were a law that so embodied the original argument in favor of abortion, it was the Texas law struck down today by the U.S. Supreme Court. If ever there were a mockery of all that the early proponents of abortion held dear, it was made by the united votes of the three women on the highest court in the land.
Abortions, if made legal, were supposed to have been brought out of the back alley. Women would have practitioners who were physicians in good standing. They would have clean, sanitary clinics that abided by the public health standards required in all other surgical procedures.
That never happened.
Most Ob/Gyn’s regarded abortion practitioners as the lowest form of membership in their honorable profession, and hospitals by-and-large prohibited the practice, keeping the slaughter of babies beyond the purview of their services. A majority of abortionists have been washouts from other branches of medicine, whose operations came nowhere near the minimal standards required of ambulatory surgical centers established in other fields of medicine. Not only are the minimal public health standards not required, but the minimal standards for STD testing and treatment have not been part of standard operating procedure.
Surgical procedures such as abortion, or even the insertion of an IUD can take a bacterium like Chlamydia and spread it to the inside of the uterus and Fallopian tubes, setting up pelvic inflammatory disease, sterility, and chronic pelvic pain. Though some clinics now claim to do testing with the new rapid diagnostic tests, many do not, and almost none ever have before rapid testing was developed. That flies in the face of standards of care in other gynecologic surgery performed in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. With abortion, a woman can walk in off the street and be on her way in hours.
All too often, cases like Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors are only a matter of degree, but not of kind. A “clinic” that does not test for Chlamydia, HPV, HIV and other STD’s, with treatment prior to surgery isn’t much of a clinic at all. It is even less so when the physician is neither an Ob/Gyn in good standing, or even an Ob/Gyn at all; let alone one with admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Add to that recent laws in states like California that allow nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to perform surgical abortions and one wonders, whatever became of the drive to imbue abortion with all of the medical standards and safeguards women deserve?
The answer to that question, and the key to today’s decision reside in the arguments between the justices over the effects of the Texas law. Since the passage of the law, half of Texas’ 41 abortion clinics closed, unable to meet the demands of maintaining a safe facility including having physicians with admitting privileges at local hospitals.
“Undue Burden” is the catch-phrase of the day.
If permitted to stand, the fear was that the law would force the closure of ten more clinics, leaving an area of Texas the size of California without abortion services. Allow that to sink in for a moment.
If abortion clinics in Texas were required to have physicians competent enough to have admitting privileges, and run surgical clinics held to the same standards as all other ambulatory surgical centers, a land mass the size of California would have no abortion providers. If that doesn’t define “back-alley,” then what does?
Today, all three women on the court said, in effect, that the back alley is better than nothing at all.
Today, all three women on the court passed the opportunity to fight for the vision of “reproductive freedom” espoused in 1973.
Today, all three women on the court demonstrated that the lust for killing babies outweighs the safety of the women driven to such acts of desperation.
Today, not one of the three women on the court said that we can do better, that women deserve better.
It was another blow against women today, an act of betrayal by the women on the highest court in the land, who more than anyone else ought to be using their perch to demand real justice, real care, and authentic dignity for women.
As chemical abortions take deeper root, and as hospitals increasingly absorb the lucrative business from the closing of local clinics, the issue of the Texas law will shrink in importance; but the abandonment of women by all three women on the highest court in the land will live and grow in infamy. It will be seen by future generations for what it truly is.
The real War on Women