Arrest of Pro-Life Advocates Reveals Glaring Double Standard in Gov Response to COVID-19

By Denise Harle | April 6, 2020 | 5:19pm EDT
Pro-life advocates rally outside of the Capitol. (Photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Pro-life advocates rally outside of the Capitol. (Photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

If the past few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that we are willing to take drastic measures to protect the lives of our family members, our friends, our coworkers, and even complete strangers.

Our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in amazing acts of sacrifice and selflessness: giving up our daily routines, radically adjusting our habits, canceling important events and long-anticipated vacations, even temporarily closing our businesses.

This attitude has also been reflected in the actions of our government leaders. State and local officials have adopted radical measures, from shutting down schools to ordering millions of people to stay at home.

Many states have also suspended elective medical procedures such as non-essential surgeries. This limits the number of people coming into unnecessary contact with health care workers and patients who might have been exposed to COVID-19. It also reserves crucial medical equipment—such as masks and gowns, which are in dangerously short supply—for those experiencing critical symptoms.


Exemptions for the Abortion Industry

Unsurprisingly, the abortion industry threw a fit. Why? Because abortionists are unwilling to pause their life-ending practices, making their priorities clear: Profit trumps a pandemic.

In every state where elective medical procedures have been suspended, abortion providers are demanding exemptions, claiming that abortion on demand is “essential.”

But that is simply not true. Here’s why.

  1. Abortion ends a human life. The specific and sole objective of abortion is to stop a human heart from beating, either through poison or by dismemberment.

  2. Abortion is an elective procedure. This is obvious from the pro-abortion banners of “pro-choice” and “right to choose.”

  3. If an abortion were truly necessary, none of these policies would prevent it. Obstetric medical experts argue that it is never necessary to end an unborn baby’s life in order to save a mother’s life. If such a situation did arise, however, it would not be elective and therefore would be permitted under any of the COVID-19 policies on essential surgeries.

Despite this, some states have exempted abortionists from these orders and allowed abortions to continue while all other elective medical procedures are halted.


A Glaring Double Standard

While abortion advocates are receiving exemptions from government efforts to prioritize the public’s health and safety, pro-life advocates are being targeted and silenced.

Nowhere is this double standard more apparent than in Greensboro, North Carolina.

There, local officials put in place a “stay-at-home” order in response to concerns over COVID-19. Under the ordinance, there are exceptions for “essential activities” including outdoor activities like going to a public park, hiking, walking—even golfing. The ordinance also allows exceptions for “essential services” including nonprofit organizations providing social and support services to vulnerable people.

Love Life, a group providing a prayerful Christian witness outside of abortion clinics, decided to continue its activities. It made sure to act in compliance with the “stay-at-home” order, having fewer than 10 people pray outside of a local abortion clinic and staying six feet away from one another.

Despite the fact that these volunteers were following the law, some were arrested and others cited for walking and praying outside of an open abortion clinic.

And while Alliance Defending Freedom fully supports efforts to prioritize the public’s health and safety, this is a clear case of the government abusing its power. Even during a crisis, banning the First Amendment is not an option. That’s why ADF sent a letter to county officials on behalf of these pro-life volunteers.

Here’s the bottom line: Silencing peaceful, law-abiding pro-life advocates is not a matter of public health and safety, while putting a stop to elective procedures is.

In the wake of COVID-19, we must not allow a political agenda to overshadow the truth—a truth that has been shining brightly in the midst of a pandemic: All human life is valuable and worth protecting.

That’s what these pro-life volunteers recognized. It’s time for government officials to recognize that as well.

Denise Harle is legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Life (@AllianceDefends). Harle served as Florida’s deputy solicitor general from 2015 to 2017.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published on The Alliance Defending Freedom.

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