Right Opinion

Without Abortion Regulation, There's Health to Pay

Tony Perkins · Jan. 10, 2020

As many as 10,000 women walk through the doors of a Louisiana abortion clinic every year — and any one of them could face life-threatening complications. Imagine telling that mom that her doctor couldn’t admit her to a hospital to get help. The Center for Reproductive Rights can. In fact, they’re so heartless that they're suing to keep these women from getting the emergency care they need. Why? Because at the deepest core of the abortion industry, they don’t care about patients. They care about profits. I know — because as a state legislator, I saw it.

Twenty years ago, he was just a young attorney, fresh out of law school. And me? Well, I was a state representative in Louisiana. His name was Mike Johnson. He’d taken the case of a woman who almost died inside the Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge. It was her story, and the gruesome undercover video that followed, that laid the groundwork for me to author — and for the state to later pass — some of the first abortion clinic regulations in the country. Two decades later, that rookie lawyer is a prominent congressman. And Wednesday, he joined me on “Washington Watch” to talk about how that case helped paved the way for one of the most important Supreme Court challenges in a generation.

“It started out,” he remembers, “as an injury case.” Mike’s client, one of his first, had been maimed inside the Delta Women’s Clinic in Baton Rouge, which, at the time, he points out, “was the largest abortion provider in our state. They had a huge volume of abortions, and they were pretty notorious for having substandard practices.” When he started to do a little digging on her case, Mike made a shocking discovery. Sometime after Roe v. Wade, abortion businesses became exempt from the meeting the requirements of other surgical centers. In other words, they weren’t subject to the same standards and emergency protocol as other outpatient surgery centers.

“Apparently, in our state and in a number of others, they never went back [to change that]. There was a loophole in the law. So abortion clinics from somewhere around 1973 to around 1998 in our state went completely unregulated.” A reporter for WAFB, who happened to be one of my interns when I was broadcasting, snuck a camera into the clinic and exposed the horrible, unsanitary conditions to the world. “They got video — famous video now — of rusted surgical instruments that they were using on these poor women. It was a complete health crisis,” he said.

The Louisiana House chamber had just undergone a technology upgrade which, for the first time, allowed video to be played on the floor to accompany debate. The shocking footage led to the overwhelming approval of the clinic regulations that the state has added for the last two decades. And that has triggered this hugely significant challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“When all of those dominoes began to fall back in early 1999,” Mike explained, “when you began to pass the enabling legislation to allow for clinic regulations in our state, a number of other states soon followed suit. Texas did, and a number of others. And all of those regulations were immediately challenged by the abortion industry. They simply didn’t want to be regulated. You know, this is a cash cow operation. They had no oversight whatsoever…; And so they challenged every one of them over and over and over. And for decades now…; all the common-sense health and safety regulations that are put in place by state legislatures to protect women — who are in the most vulnerable situation of their lives — they’ve all been challenged in court.”

In the Gee case that will be decided by the justices in June, the industry is taking aim at a specific requirement: that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles. Now, if you asked most women, that only makes sense. If something goes wrong in a procedure (and all too often, it does), these patients deserve to know that they’ll be taken care of. That’s standard operating procedure in even your local dentist office! But for some reason, when it comes to abortionists, some states let them off the hook.

The Trump administration, 207 members of Congress, and groups like FRC think it’s time to put women’s health first. In separate amicus briefs (ours is available here), we argue that the state has a right to regulate the medical industry. Nothing about the law should be controversial for a business that insists it cares about women. In FRC’s brief, we take issue with the fact that the Center for Reproductive Rights is even challenging the law, since they claim to be suing on behalf of women. First of all, women can speak for themselves.

FRC’s Travis Weber pointed this out in our discussion Wednesday on “Washington Watch.” As he explains, the plaintiffs have to have standing to sue. And here, “you have abortion activists challenge this law, supposedly claiming to represent women who want abortions. Yet, as we argue in our brief, there’s no legal basis for them to be able to sue on behalf of these women. The women could go into court if they wanted to and file suit against this law. They have that right.” And the reality is, women may actually want their abortion providers to be held accountable to higher standards of care. What patient wouldn’t want their doctors to ensure the quickest help if the unimaginable happens? So why would the court allow activist groups, with purely selfish and economic motives, speak for them?

Good question — one that if the justices get right, could change the entire landscape of American abortion law, for the better.

Originally published here.


War Powers or More Powers for Pelosi?

Just because you’re elected to Congress doesn’t mean you understand the Constitution. Back in 2011, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute was shocked to find out that less than half of America’s elected officials could name the three branches of government. Nine years later, not much has changed. Today’s Democrats still don’t understand the difference between the executive branch and legislative branch — or they’d stop trying to tell Donald Trump how to do his job. The president doesn’t need a permission slip from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to run the military. But based on the debate over this week's War Powers Resolution, that’s news to her.

There’s a reason the framers didn’t put a committee in charge of the military. They wanted a civilian leader who could make quick decisions with the trust of the people. After some debate, they settled on the president. And for 228 years, that was just fine with Democrats. Now, with Donald Trump in the chair, they’ve changed their minds. They don’t want the White House responding to national security threats. They want to be consulted first. Even with American lives on the line.

Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of 608 Americans — that’s 17 percent of all U.S. casualties in Iraq from 2004-2011. But that wasn’t the end of his bloodshed. Just last week, militants tried to storm our embassy — all, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebr.) pointed out, at the hands of the general this president eliminated. “We warned [Iran] last month," he said on "Washington Watch.” “We’ve been warning them all the way through. ‘You attack our forces in Iraq — we will fight back. And who better to do the actual person who is in charge?”

According to Pelosi: House Democrats. Echoing her army of extremists, who will oppose anything this president does — including protecting U.S. lives — she barked that the strike that killed Soleimani was “provocative and disproportionate.” “We killed the guy who killed 608 Americans,” Bacon fired back. “And she calls it 'disproportionate?’ What does she need? Another 100 Americans killed? Another thousand? At what point is it proportionate to take out the guy who’s killing Americans?”

The last thing we should be telling the president of the United States, any president of the United States, is that he can’t act on the intelligence he has. Donald Trump is the head of our armed forces — and as much as Democrats despise it, the same power that gave Barack Obama the authority to hunt down Osama bin Laden gave him the power to take out Soleimani. But unfortunately, the Trump administration can’t even sneeze in the Left’s direction without House Democrats opening a formal investigation. Under the resolution they’re proposing now, Donald Trump would literally be required “to consult with Congress ‘in every possible instance’ before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities.”

That’s absolutely absurd. Especially, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Mo.) argues, when he’s dealing with a nation committed to exterminating people around the world. “In my judgment, Iran is the most serious military threat on the globe to the United States of America. And the reason I say that is because Iran is seeking military weaponry that puts them in an exclusive club. That club that has nuclear weapons and the missile systems needed to deliver them to various parts of the planet. And what has kept the peace amongst nuclear powers on the planet over the decades has been something called the mutually assured destruction doctrine. If we attack you, you attack us… It [would be], in effect, suicide to launch a first strike… It’s a deterrent.”

Let’s not forget, he went on, the $150-plus billion dollars that Obama gave Iran in the so-called nuclear deal “was used build up the weaponry that’s [killing] people in the Middle East [including American soldiers]… I don’t believe that the current path that the United States is on is adequate — and the world is on — is adequate to stop the Iranians from doing what they believe [Allah] has commanded them to do… I hope that Iran will understand that we are serious under President Trump and that we will fight back — which is unlike what any [previous] president in our country has been doing over the last 15 to 20 years, and perhaps their knowledge that we will fight back, at least in the short term, will force Iran to be a more reasonable and a more peaceful nation on Earth.”

In the meantime, House Democrats seem intent on leaving America vulnerable just so they can pursue their personal vendetta against Trump. “Soleimani was a proper target regardless of the evidence that any new attack was imminent,” NRO’s Andrew McCarthy insists. “…This is not a close call. We are talking about one of the most notorious mass-murderers of Americans on the planet, the top combatant commander of the regime that proudly tells the world its motto is ‘Death to America.’ Why would we want to raise an abstruse question that would make eliminating such a monster more difficult?” Politics, that’s why. Selfish, extremist, 2020 politics — which, provides yet another defining contrast.

Originally published here.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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