Unnecessary? The Supreme Court thinks that safeguards to protect women from unsavory medical practices and sub-standard, germ-infested facilities are UNNECESSARY?

Apparently so. Today the Supreme Court overturned a Texas law requiring abortion providers to meet the same health and safety standards as other similar medical clinics. The common-sense provisions which Texas legislators had enacted included such “unreasonable” and “unnecessary” protections as requiring medical staff to have privileges at a local full-service hospital, in order to provide continuing care for a patient, should she experience complications from the abortion attempt in the clinic. Hallways had to be wide enough to accommodate a stretcher, should one be necessary to transport a women who is hemorrhaging from the abortion attempt.

But five justices of the Supreme Court thought that these safeguards, which had been approved by Texas’ elected representatives and signed into law by the governor, placed an “undue burden” in the way of women seeking an abortion.

Remember Kermit Gosnell? His Women’s Medical Society clinic in Philadelphia was an example of what can go wrong when the state fails to protect women from uncaring and unethical doctors. Gosnell is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole for first-degree murder in the deaths of three infants who survived an abortion attempt, but whose spinal chords were severed by Gosnell. He was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of an adult clinic patient, Karnamaya Mongar, 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion, and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law.

The Pennsylvania Department of State and Pennsylvania Department of Health report following a 2010 raid of Gosnell’s clinic described the appalling conditions:

When the team members entered the clinic, they were appalled, describing it to the Grand Jury as ‘filthy,’ ‘deplorable,’ ‘disgusting,’ ‘very unsanitary, very outdated, horrendous,’ and ‘by far, the worst’ that these experienced investigators had ever encountered. There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff – long before Gosnell arrived at the clinic – and staff members could not accurately state what medications or dosages they had administered to the waiting patients. Many of the medications in inventory were past their expiration dates… surgical procedure rooms were filthy and unsanitary… resembling ‘a bad gas station restroom.’ Instruments were not sterile. Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed…

The report goes on. But here’s the thing: The Gosnell case may be extraordinarily bad, but isn’t ANY failure to protect a woman who seeks medical treatment an offense against all women?

Shouldn’t women’s groups–even groups which support abortion–be outraged at the thought that abortion-minded women may not receive the very best care in the very best facilities?

Today’s ruling in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is a travesty. It interjects the Supreme Court into matters of states’ rights, and it endangers women who are already facing the stress of unplanned pregnancy, women who may feel that they have no options but to end the life of their child.

Today’s decision emphasizes the need to send to the White House a new president who will nominate strong pro-life leaders to the Supreme Court. In a nation which has become obsessed with sexual license and its natural ally, abortion on demand, we need a leader who will respect women and respect all Life.


Image:  Ads for abortion clinics in South Africa by jauretsi from USA (…) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons