If you are pro-life and you pray, you’ll want to pray very hard on March 2.
That’s the day the Supreme Court had scheduled for oral arguments in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt—the biggest threat to Big Abortion in two decades.
In light of the untimely and unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the date may change—and the need for prayer has increased astronomically.
If the decision goes the pro-life way, the case (formerly Whole Women’s Health v. Cole) will prove to have been very aptly named: It could open the way to protecting women’s health in actually meaningful ways.
If the Court reaches a tie, then the lower court ruling could stand. Since that decision protected women, this would be a status quo outcome, with limited national impact on advancing women’s health.
Another possibility is that the Court will decide to hold the case over until the next session, when the Scalia vacancy presumably will have been filled. Depending on who takes Scalia’s seat, the outcome could be very bad or very good.
Whole Women’s Health is a multi-state chain of abortion clinics. One of its Texas clinics may be forced to close if the state implements a bill that was passed by the Texas legislature in 2013 but was immediately tied up in court. Known as HB2, the law would require abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety standards as Ambulatory Surgical Centers. One provision requires that abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where they work.
That’s a long ambulance drive for a woman who may be bleeding to death, but at least it gives her a fighting chance. Whole Woman’s Health, however, claims such laws “do nothing more than remove a person’s ability to determine the course of their (sic) life.”
The abortion lobby tries to seize the moral high ground with grandiose rhetoric like that. But every industry has its bottom line.
Abortion is a big industry in America. Call it Big Abortion or the Abortion Industrial Complex—it’s not just the clinics that dot the country. It’s also the outreach to public schools (which ensure a continuous stream of customers by providing “sex education” classes and condoms); think tanks like the Guttmacher Institute; trade associations like the National Abortion Federation; public interest legal action arms like the National Women’s Law Center, and, of course, a number of political action committees.
As in other industries, there’s a business model. Capture the client when she’s distressed, take her money, and get her in and out of the clinic fast, with no time for second thoughts. This one used to yield high profits.
Take as a ballpark figure the baseline price of $1,500 for an abortion currently mentioned on Planned Parenthood’s website. Even adjusting for inflation going back 44 years, and assuming a lower final price after student, military, travel, and insurance discounts, that’s still a whole lot of income for an industry that’s performed over 60 million abortions since 1973.
Profits were high because clinics were cheap to operate.
But as states enact laws to protect women’s health by raising safety standards, operational costs go up and profit margins go down.
In 1991, there were 2,176 abortion clinics in the U.S. Today, however, there are only 517 surgical, and 213 medication abortion clinics across the country. More than 650 of them are operated by Planned Parenthood.
Most industries this big have stockholders. Stockholders get concerned when the stores that generate the company’s revenue have to close.
The Abortion Industrial Complex is different. It operates as a series of non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organizations and government bodies, so it has the luxury of being ideologically driven.
From the pro-life perspective, of course, the discomfiture of Big Abortion seems like a triumph of the American democratic process. Americans have become more pro-life as they have had more experience with abortion. The pro-life movement has continued steadily to bear witness and reach out and investigate.
As a logical consequence of all this, the voice of the people has been heard in the state legislatures, which are the laboratories of democracy.
The public doesn’t like it when women bleed to death in abortion clinics. People don’t like to hear about flea-ridden cats trekking in and out of rooms and fouling places where invasive surgery is being done on women (see the Grand Jury transcript in the case of the Gosnell clinic in Philadelphia).
Elections matter. The elections of 2010 and 2012 brought in a new wave of state legislators. To the growing horror of the abortion industry, in state after state, one incremental step at a time, laws have been passed that protect women from substandard medical care. Last year alone, 16 states enacted 50 new laws that regulate abortion clinics.
Back in 2013, national media gave adoring coverage to Texas State Senator Wendy Davis as she filibustered HB2 while wearing pink sneakers. When Senator Wendy ran for Governor a year later on an abortion platform, she lost by more than 20 points to Greg Abbott, the state’s current governor, who is pro-life.
A decision on Whole Women’s Health is likely to be handed down in June. They say that in Heaven time is different than it is here on earth. Therefore prayers said at any time are heard and answered in God’s own good time.
If you pray, pray now for Whole Women’s Health. Pray that the justices of the high court find that protecting the health of women does not constitute an “undue burden” on their constitutional right to kill their children.
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Connie Marshner is a commentator and researcher on life and family issues in the Washington, D.C., area.