State officials are finding they can no longer skirt the abortion issue during this coronavirus pandemic. As nonessential businesses close and elective surgeries are canceled in order to direct resources to coronavirus patients, states are left to decide if abortion services are essential or nonessential, igniting a new chapter in the U.S. abortion debate.
Officials in Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas have already classified abortion as an elective procedure, requiring abortion facilities to halt operations.
“We’ll take whatever action we need to protect not only the lives of unborn children but also the lives of anyone who may contract this particular virus,” said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.
However, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington have designated abortion providers as essential, allowing them to stay open.
Reports also indicate that several facilities in Louisiana and Ohio are refusing to comply with their governors’ directives, and instead are continuing to perform abortions.
In a press conference on Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “We’re not going to accept a premise that human life is disposable, and we’re not gonna put a dollar figure on human life. The first order of business is to save lives, period. Whatever it costs.”
In response, Franklin Graham addressed the irony of Cuomo’s comments: “I agree with Gov. Cuomo on the high value of life and applaud his efforts to defend lives from the coronavirus,” he posted on Facebook. “Yet he signed a law that legalizes abortion up to birth for nearly any reason. I respectfully urge the governor to consider his statements today in light of the millions of innocent lives taken by abortion. In 2017 alone, 105,380 babies lost their lives by abortion in New York. Human life is not expendable, and we should work to save it—from womb to tomb.”
Although Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, called for the suspension of all nonessential medical procedures, he has not clarified whether abortion is considered necessary or not.
Georgia Right to Life President Ricardo Davis criticized his state’s abortion facilities for knowingly contributing to the shortage of personal protective equipment needed for doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients.
“GRTL has documented evidence that abortionists remain open as if nothing is wrong,” Davis said. “They’re potentially exposing women to the virus, as well as consuming precious medical resources needed to treat victims of the disease.”
Lila Rose, president of pro-life organization Live Action, also called out abortion facilities for putting their profits ahead of public health: “While schools, businesses, and churches shut down, abortion facilities across America remain open, profiting off of fear and panic and killing thousands of children a day,” she said. “In no context is abortion ‘essential’ to public well-being. In fact, abortion always targets and violently destroys an innocent human being. As nations all over the world unite to fight COVID-19 under the shared understanding that every human life is precious, it is unconscionable that our leaders would continue to allow the one industry that exists to kill and destroy human life to continue to operate.
“The COVID-19 national emergency presents unprecedented challenges to our government and healthcare communities,” she continued. “As blood bank shortages become the norm and life-preserving masks and equipment are in short supply, the abortion industry continues to kill children and endanger women. The abortion industry is exacerbating the current crisis and diverting crucial resources from the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.”