A coalition of pro-life groups across North Carolina has petitioned the state’s governor asking him to follow suit with the states of Texas and Ohio and close abortion facilities in their state as the nation contends with the coronavirus pandemic.
Consistent with Governor Roy Cooper’s own guidelines for keeping North Carolinians safe during the outbreak, they’re asking that Cooper close the state’s abortion facilities by the 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, deadline for new restrictions he’d laid out in a broadcast message to the state’s citizens Monday.
The coalition said it has observed how abortion facilities are not following basic safety protocols implemented amid the COVID-19 outbreak – putting abortion clients at serious risk of contracting the virus.
Cooper had issued an executive order extending school closures statewide, tightening limits on gatherings, limiting visitors to long-term care centers and closing some businesses that require close social interaction. The order “prioritized social distancing” to slow the spread of the virus.
“Abortion is an elective procedure,” LifeLink Carolina told Cooper, noting how a number of the state’s abortion facilities only provide abortion procedures, meaning that no women’s healthcare services are offered in those locations.
Further, the group said:
“In our assessment across the state, we have collectively noticed that abortion clinics are actively – as recently as today – not practicing social distancing, not providing their customers with personal protective equipment and are falling well outside the ten-person gathering rule. Most abortion clinics are operating with upwards of 30 people inside their facilities at one time.”
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LifeLink Carolina, the statewide pro-life coalition behind the petition, encompasses 63 pregnancy centers and numerous adoption agencies and maternity homes in the state.
The group of pregnancy help organizations was discussing the pregnancy centers’ response to COVID-19, Tonya Nelson told Pregnancy Help News, when the suggestion was made to contact Cooper and ask that he follow the lead of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in ordering the halt of abortions in their respective states.
After the Ohio Department of Health banned all “non-essential and elective surgeries” to preserve protective gear for medical personnel fighting the coronavirus pandemic last Wednesday, Yost’s office sent a cease and desist letter Friday to two abortion facilities and one urology office following complaints that procedures were continuing in violation of the order.
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Planned Parenthood has stated it is not in violation of the ban and will continue to do abortions in the state. Local pro-life groups report at least one other abortion facility is defying the Ohio order as well.
Abbott issued his COVID-19 order for Texas on Monday, prohibiting procedures unless a patient faces “serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.” Abbott confirmed that the order “would cover abortion in most cases while the order is in place until April 21.”
The discussion among the LifeLink Carolina coalition resulted in a letter to Cooper, leading then to the petition – which was fast approaching its initial goal in the first few hours since its posting Tuesday afternoon.
While disagreeing with pro-abortion efforts to put abortion in the category of women’s health, the pro-life group notes that doctors across the country still categorize abortion as an elective procedure, said Nelson, CEO or Hand of Hope Pregnancy Centers and prior LifeLink Carolina board member.
“Since abortion is an elective procedure, we are of the mindset that abortion services create an undue risk for the Chinese Wuhan Virus,” she told Pregnancy Help News, “not only to customers of the abortion facilities across our state, but through a domino-effect for exposure risk.”
Hand of Hope has an active sidewalk team that ministers in front of the abortion facility on Jones Franklin Road in Raleigh daily Monday thru Saturday, Nelson explained.
“We have seen first-hand the risks and exposures of the customers and their support persons and the workers in the abortion facility,” she said.
“COVID-19 is not slowing this particular abortion business down at all,” Nelson said, “as there were at least 22 customers inside the abortion facility at one time just this morning (Monday) – this is not counting the workers.”
“We’ve personally heard from these women that they are being advised to ‘hurry up and get your abortion before the government puts us all in quarantine and you can’t get an abortion,” she continued. “These women are not being provided masks, gloves or any other personal protective equipment.”
“At the very core of who and what pregnancy centers across our state are is a foundational love of Christ and for life – All life”
Nelson said the group cannot speak to what personal protective equipment that the abortion facility workers are provided or are wearing, however, “We witnessed firsthand that social distancing is NOT being practiced in that abortion clinic. It’s not only unsafe, it’s dangerous.”
If Cooper sees the virus threatening enough to close North Carolina schools through to May 15, the very least he can do is institute is a two-week reprieve of elective abortions – both medical and surgical abortions, she added.
Nelson pointed out that Hand of Hope centers have amended operations to continue serving women and make the best effort at keeping everyone safe – reducing hands-on volunteer involvement, cancelling any education that cannot be conducted virtually, no longer allowing seasoned senior volunteers to enter the centers due their high-risk status, pre-screening potential clients and increasing intensive cleaning protocols.
“At the very core of who and what pregnancy centers across our state are is a foundational love of Christ and for life,” she said. “All life.”
“These customers and abortion clinic staff are being unnecessarily exposed to the COVID-19 virus”
“In an era where our entire country is sacrificing hobbies, church gatherings and most pressingly, livelihoods,” said Nelson, “the very least we can do is delay the ending of precious lives through abortion, since it most definitely could have a direct impact on the health and safety of their mothers by coronavirus exposure.”
The coalition’s petition offered prayers for Cooper in his role leading the state. It acknowledged that Cooper does not share the pro-life view, but expressed confidence that he would agree that protecting the women who are entering these abortion facilities to procure elective procedures, as well as the abortion facility workers themselves, “is of utmost importance.”
“These customers and abortion clinic staff are being unnecessarily exposed to the COVID-19 virus,” it stated, “and further exposing our general population once they return to their respective homes across the state and some into South Carolina and Virginia.”
Nelson said, “We have asked for a response from the governor and are eagerly anticipating hearing from him.”
Click HERE for the LifeLink Carolina petition.