Analysis

Oklahoma Supreme Court sullies pro-life ruling with potshot at abortion restrictions

While the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the state’s requirement that administration of abortion drugs comply with FDA standards is certainly good news, it is also disturbing that the court chose to include in its ruling the following criticism of pro-life laws:

We also must recognize that, by the States’ own evidentiary materials, more restrictions on abortions result in higher complication rates and in decreased women’s safety.

I suppose that when a judicial activist can’t find an excuse to strike down the law before him, taking a gratuitous potshot at the broader cause is the next best thing. That’s the first thing about this to immediately jump out—the merits of any other law are completely beyond the scope of the case here. What justification can there be for this aside, other than personal disdain for pro-life legislation?

As for the weight of the charge, nowhere in the opinion is the supposed danger explained, nor are the state materials allegedly admitting it. And maybe that’s because the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

How could pro-life laws increase abortion complication rates? Even abortion-friendly authorities admit that abortion’s risks increase the later in pregnancy they’re done, yet pro-aborts are the ones who oppose any limits on when an abortion can be performed. Their spin in response to that would be that the harder an abortion is to get (due to clinic closings, defunding, etc.), the longer it’ll take for a pregnant woman to get one, effectively forcing her abortion to happen in the second trimester.

While that may sound superficially plausible, the facts don’t fit. First, nobody “needs” an abortion in the first place, as the “need” is easily preventable and alternatives are abundant. Second, the assumption is starting from a highly dubious baseline—Planned Parenthood boasts of studies demonstrating their extraordinarily safe complication rates for medical abortions, while neglecting to mention that they’re the ones who funded and conducted the studies. Third, the Texas example shows that when Planned Parenthood is defunded, abortion and unintended pregnancy rates both fall.

But more importantly, all of that is eclipsed by all the other dangers of the abortion industry that pro-life laws fight back against. Take, for instance, the current centerpiece of pro-aborts’ national abortion-as-healthcare narrative: Whole Woman’s Health’s case against Texas’s abortion facility regulations. They claim they’re defending women against dangerous regulations, when in reality WWH locations have been the subject of numerous fines, investigations, and disciplinary actions since 2007, for offenses including:

  • Failure to have licensed nursing staff onsite
  • Improper disposal of private patient information
  • Improper medical waste disposal
  • Improperly maintained equipment including “numerous rusty spots” on a suction machine
  • Failure to comply with 24-hour waiting period and informed consent laws
  • Staff who didn’t know how to properly sterilize equipment
  • Incorrectly-labeled medication
  • Expired medication
  • Lack of adequate procedures for handling patient complications
  • Lack of usable EKG machines and deliberators

Similar violations have been found at abortion facilities in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. If this is what passes for safety with the provider hailed as the poster child for “safe, legal abortion,” in the case the movement has chosen as proving stricter abortion regulations are baseless, then we can only cringe at how bad things are in places beyond the spotlight.

Accordingly, we know that virtually everything pro-aborts claim about abortion and safety is false:

  • They routinely claim that abortion is up to fourteen times safer than childbirth, but their supporting evidence relied on incomplete data, failed to look at long-term effects, and has been contradicted by numerous other studies.
  • They deny all major risks of abortion, such as infertility, preterm births, miscarriage, breast cancer, and mental/emotional trauma, despite ample evidence for them.
  • They claim that a prominent study proved that Texas’s abortion law pressured over 100,000 women to attempt self-abortions, but it turned out to be based on abysmal methodology.
  • They claim it’s perfectly safe to allow non-physicians such as nurse practitioners and midwives to perform abortions with minimal training, again based on deeply flawed research.
  • They claim that regulating and defunding abortion centers deprives women of healthcare sources by forcing them to close, despite the abundance of alternative low-income women’s health providers.
  • They claim regulations such as admitting privilege requirements are medically baseless, when in fact they’ve been widely recognized by the medical community as common-sense necessities.

As the saying goes, “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts.” In this case, the Oklahoma Supreme Court had no choice but to acknowledge the law, but tried to console themselves by distorting the facts. In truth, pro-aborts have neither.

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