Acting CEO of Planned Parenthood Alexis McGill Johnson told Vanity Fair magazine that governors who are banning elective abortions due to COVID-19 are using the pandemic to push their political anti-abortion agenda. Johnson’s interview was published Friday and did not touch upon the nationwide effort to preserve medical supplies and equipment, which was the impetus for government officials pausing all “elective surgeries”.
“In any serious crisis, civil rights are also in grave danger,” writes Abigail Tracy, political reporter for Vanity Fair.
Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi officials have claimed that abortion is a “non-essential” procedure and are taking measures to effectively ban abortion procedures for the duration of the pandemic. In response, Planned Parenthood and its partners have filed lawsuits to block their efforts.
“First I think it’s important to state that abortion is an essential, time-sensitive medical procedure, and we know that reproductive rights are essential,” Johnson explained in her Vanity Fair interview.
Johnson went on to argue that if women in Texas, for example, cannot schedule an abortion in their home state, they will travel to other states to have the procedure done. This level of determination will directly impact the health of the nation as well as that of the women, because these women will no longer be “sheltering in place”. They will have to leave their homes, drive in vehicles, get on airplanes, and inadvertently spread COVID-19 every step of the way.
Johnson’s logic is grounded in the preposition that abortion is, in her mind, an essential, time-sensitive medical procedure. But is it? Pro-choice advocates have used this argument for decades: some women run a high medical risk of dying if they do not receive an abortion, therefore all abortion procedures should be legal.
If a woman is physically capable of leaving her home, getting on an airplane, and flying to a different state in order to have an abortion, is the pregnancy itself really threatening her health and her life? Does she seriously run the risk of dying if she does not have an abortion as soon as possible? Well, no, if that was the case, any hospital emergency room would admit her in the blink of an eye. In that instance, hospital workers would act quickly, perform an abortion, and save her life if she truly was facing critical medical complications or death.
“I think what’s really important here to understand is that there is no other form of health care that’s being targeted in this way, only abortion,” Johnson added. But this isn’t true. All elective surgeries have been suspended nationwide. If a clinic or hospital willfully disregards the suspension and proceeds to perform elective surgery procedures anyway, then the governor of their state would quite likely seek to legally ban their operation, as well.
Johnson’s main point, put in her own words, is this: “The fear that [women] won’t be able to access basic reproductive health care is forcing them into extraordinary measures to seek access to abortion—driving across state lines, putting their lives in jeopardy, and having to navigate this in a way that does not actually bring more safety in a pandemic, but actually really exposes them.”
Where do I begin? Every American is thoroughly aware of the risks they face if they choose to leave their home. A straightforward outing to the local grocery store comes with the risk of contracting COVID-19, which is why citizens have been voluntarily staying at home in order to limit their exposure as much as possible. If a woman chooses to leave her home, get on an airplane, and cross state lines to have an abortion, then no one but her is responsible for “putting her life in jeopardy”.
Johnson’s reasoning is riddled with faulty logic. By her own premise, women who seek abortions during this pandemic do so because if they do not abort their pregnancies, they will be in danger of losing their lives. The pregnancy itself has put the woman’s life in jeopardy, that’s why she needs an abortion. So her argument that women ought not to be subjected to “putting their lives at risk” just to find a clinic that will perform an abortion is nonsensical. It’s as if Johnson is trying to convince us that a woman who is on fire shouldn’t have to leave her state to find a fireman because leaving her state could cause her to catch on fire.
But let’s keep things out of perspective so that we can understand Johnson’s deranged thinking. Let’s not pull on the thread of her paradoxical argument. Let’s not scrutinize the very premise of her point, which is that early pregnancy in certain instances could come with fatal health risks—who is buying this? And let’s definitely not address the glaring fact that unborn babies are people. Instead, we must applaud Johnson for her valiant effort to protect women’s health.
Um… okay? But does abortion protect women’s health?
Dr. Christina Francis doesn’t think so. As the chair of the board of the American Association of Pro-life OB/GYN, Dr. Francis told Breitbart News’ as part of an April 7 interview that Johnson is “speaking as an ‘activist’ and not a true ‘healthcare provider’.”
“Elective surgeries and procedures across the country are being postponed indefinitely—and this even includes some surgeries for cancer, joint replacements in people with debilitating pain, life threatening transforming reconstructive surgeries, and the list goes on and on. Yet Ms. Johnson dares to assert that an elective procedure that ends the life of one human being and harms the other is more essential than these (not to mention the fact that women are being packed into Planned Parenthood waiting rooms in direct defiance of social distancing orders),” Dr. Francis went on to explain in the Breitbart interview.
Another board member of the American Association of Pro-life OB/GYN, Dr. Ingrid Skop, who has been a practicing OB/GYN for nearly 24 years, agrees. Dr. Skop has said, “Elective abortion is a procedure that ends the life of a healthy, living human being in utero. It has never been proven to benefit a woman’s health in any way which is the goal of health care.”
Pregnancy is not an illness and it is not a disease. A natural, biological process is taking place when a woman is pregnant. Therefore, elective abortion is not treating a disease process. It is not a medical solution, but rather a social one. Nearly all abortions in the United States are performed for social or financial reasons, according to Dr. Francis.
I happen to agree with Abigail Tracy, political reporter for Vanity Fair. I agree that this pandemic is causing American civil rights to be in grave danger, which was the resonating concern of her April 7 article about abortions amid nationwide lockdowns.
In a matter of weeks, our country has transformed into a virtual police state where citizens are being arrested for simply daring to go outside. Churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship have been forcefully shut down by orders of the government in direct violation of first amendment rights. Ms. Tracy is correct. Our civil rights are in grave danger.
My stance could be considered controversial in that I don’t believe a single constitutional right should be suspended during any crisis. I trust my fellow Americans to use sound judgment and execute their own personal responsibility. As a collective society, we’ve done an excellent job overall of heeding federal guidelines and tolerating state issued mandates. We don’t need the government to legally force us to act responsibly. We’re taking appropriate measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 of our own accord, compassion, and vested interest.
I take the American creed “live free or die” very seriously. I will die before I give up my rights, so obviously the death of your grandmother isn’t going to change my mind. But while I share the sentiment of Ms. Tracy’s concern that our civil rights are in grave danger, I don’t agree that women should have any constitutional right to abortion in the first place. In fact, abortion is in direct conflict with the Declaration of Independence, which states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The right to life is inextricably woven into America’s constitution and our president agrees.
As of January of this year, President Trump has been making strides to uphold this basic human right to life. The president is introducing a new pro-life coalition in an effort to enact a pro-life agenda in his administration. Trump has also urged congress to join him in protecting and defending the dignity of every human life, including those not yet born.
Every human being has a basic right to live, but if the CEO of Planned Parenthood Alexis McGill Johnson had her way, we would all throw the baby out with the bathwater.