DEMOCRAT SENATORS WANT ABORTIONS TO BE A SPECIAL RIGHT
How does Alaska’s “COVID-19 Health Mandate 5.1,” cancelling or postponing non-urgent and elective surgical procedures, pertain to elective abortions?
On Tuesday, the Dunleavy Administration made it clear that surgical abortions that are elective, rather than to save the life of the mother, are among those to be postponed or canceled for now, as the state seeks to preserve personal protective equipment and medical supplies.
Elective abortions are part of a long list of procedures and surgeries that must wait while the state prepared to take care of an expected surge of COVID-19 patients.
Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum released the five-page list that clarifies all of the medical procedures covered by the mandate, which the State issued on March 19.
For example, under breast cancer, postponed procedures include:
- Excision of benign lesions-fibroadenomas, nodules, etc…
- Duct excisions
- Discordant biopsies likely to be benign
- High risk lesions-atypia, papillomas, etc…
- Prophylactic surgery for cancer and noncancer cases
- Delayed SNB for cancer identified on excisional biopsy
- cTisN0 lesions-ER positive and negative
- Re-excision surgery
- Tumors responding to neoadjuvant hormonal treatment
- Clinical Stage T1N0 estrogen receptor positive/progesterone receptorpositive/Her2 negative tumors
- Inflammatory and locally advanced breast cancers
In addition to cancer surgeries, conditions like fecal incontinence surgeries are being delayed. That means some Alaskans are having to wear diapers right now because of a surgery they cannot get. Infertility procedures, such as embryo transfers, are also on the list.
Likewise, surgical abortions must be delayed “unless the life or physical health of the mother is endangered…”
This policy is similar to other states that have enacted the same emergency orders, including Texas, Ohio, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
Abortion providers and proponents are not pleased and have tried to stop this particular mandate in Texas.
But on Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas over its restriction of abortions during the pandemic. In a 2-1 ruling, the court lifted a lower court order that had halted the restrictions.
“Given … the escalating spread of COVID-19, and the state’s critical interest in protecting the public health, we find the requirements for issuing the writ satisfied,” the court majority said.
Referring to a 1905 Supreme Court decision that says constitutional rights can be restricted during public health emergencies, the court said states are allowed restrict “one’s right to peaceably assemble, to publicly worship, to travel, and even to leave one’s home,” the majority said. “The right to abortion is no exception.”
Jim Minnery, of the Alaska Family Council, agreed. “Abortion doesn’t get treated differently from any other medical procedure. If it’s not essential, and it consumes PPE (personal protective equipment), then the government is saying it must be cancelled or postponed, in order to free up valuable resources for the war on COVID-19.”
Sens. Tom Begich and Jesse Kiehl, however, sent a letter to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink objecting to elective abortions being on the list, saying the Administration is playing politics and “It is inconsistent with good medical practice, and I believe you know that.”
“Tonight’s mandate violates my trust. It violates the trust of the Alaskans I represent,” Kiehl wrote, “You need to act immediately to restore Alaskans’ trust in you and the team you lead. The stakes for our state are too high for you to let this stand.”
Later on Facebook, Kiehl said Dunleavy’s move was an abuse of power that reminded him of Chicago politics.
Some respond that Senators Kiehl and Begich, who are Democrats, are trying to establish abortions as a super-constitutional right to be protected above all others.
Minnery said, “why are we making an exception for Planned Parenthood when people are having to wait for their cancer surgeries?”
An average of more than three abortions were performed daily in Alaska during 2019, for a total of 1,270. All but 308 of them were surgical abortions, with the others being induced pharmaceutically.
Most credible reports peg the percentage of all abortions that are deemed to be elective is 90 percent or higher.
That means if abortion providers abide by the State emergency order, more than 20 abortions a week will be put on hold. Alaska law does not allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of the baby’s life in the uterus. Some of those in-utero babies will make it past that 20-week gate.
Pro-life advocates expect that abortion industry leader Planned Parenthood will ask the court for an injunction to stop the Dunleavy Administration from enacting this single line of the health mandates. But as of the close of business on Wednesday, April 8, the mandate stands.
Will abortion providers abide by the ruling or violate the order and continue to provide abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic? What powers does the State actually have to stop them? Is the State ready to pull their licenses to practice in Alaska if they knowingly violate the health mandate?
These are uncomfortable questions that the Department of Law probably hopes it doesn’t have to deal with, since anything having to do with abortion is going to end up in court.