By Olivia Gans Turner, President, Virginia Society for Human Life
In a three hour session Thursday held in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge Henry E. Hudson heard the closing arguments in the case of Falls Church Medical Center, LLC v. Oliver. The plaintiffs are challenging four Virginia laws on abortion, including a physicians-only requirement.
The Plaintiffs’ goal is to strip away three other Virginia laws that require that abortion providers who perform five or more first-trimester abortions per month undergo licensing requirements; that second-trimester abortions be performed in a hospital or licensed outpatient surgical hospital; and that a women undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion.
Not surprisingly, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jenny Ma from the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), churned out all the usual grievances about the protective laws. Her closing argument drew on ages-old pro-abortion rhetoric that falsely claims that women always know what they want to do when they arrive at an abortion facility and that abortion is supposedly safer than childbirth.
Tragically, the plaintiffs disregarded the many stories of so many Virginia women who are grateful that they got information required by law about their unborn children, and their own rights, that allowed them to make decisions that protected their children from death.
Emily Munro Scott, representing the Commonwealth of Virginia, told Judge Hudson that the Court needed to make a distinction between what was a burden to the woman and not just an inconvenience. Scott also made the point that the clinic regulations had not prevented any abortion facility that applied for a license from getting one, since all had complied with new code regulations. Twenty applied and all twenty received licenses. No new facilities have applied.
In a shocking segment of yesterday’s hearing, the subject of injury due to D & E (Dismemberment Abortion) was brought up. The plaintiffs acknowledged that 3 of every 1,000 such abortions led to a perforated uterus. That number was casually dismissed as a minimal number and proof that this abortion practice was safe and could be performed in an outpatient setting by non-doctors.
It stunned every pro-life person in the courtroom that such a serious complication was so easily disregarded. The very real possibility that this number could double or triple if abortions were not performed at a hospital or by a doctor is a dreadful thought.
Scott “said the plaintiffs provided no compelling evidence that abolishing the physician-only law will curtail access to abortions in Virginia,” the Associated Press reported. Moreover, “She said evidence presented during the trial showed there is a ‘clear benefit’ to requiring that second-trimester abortions be performed in hospitals because the risk of complications increases with gestational age. “Inconvenience is not an unconstitutional burden,” Scott said. ”It’s not a simple balancing test,” she said, adding, “Not one of the laws that were challenged in this case impose an unconstitutional burden,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
After complaint after complaint from the plaintiffs about stress caused to facility staff by surprise inspections and other aspects of the laws, Judge Hudson did point out the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court: whether or not the laws pose a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion and not to the abortion providers, who shouldn’t have a problem with maintaining safety standards.
It is evident that the hope of the abortion proponents in this case is to expand the number of people who can perform abortions and distribute deadly chemical abortion pills. More and more doctors are unwilling to do surgical abortions and that limits the number of abortions Planned Parenthood and other abortion promoters can do.
The bottom line is that the abortion industry doesn’t really care about women or their babies. They just don’t want to play by the rules.
Attorneys on both sides have until June 20 to submit final legal briefs. Judge Hudson’s decision is not expected for at least two months.