NEW ORLEANS – On Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health issued guidelines directing that all elective surgeries be postponed for a period of 30 days, unless the physician believes the delay would endanger the safety of the patient. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has also strongly encouraged physicians to consider cancelling outpatient elective surgeries.
However, all three Louisiana outpatient abortion facilities have been open this week. The following is their status as of today (Friday, March 20):
- The Shreveport abortion facility, June Medical Services (doing business as Hope Medical Group for Women) is open with a crowded parking lot. Officials have stated over the phone they intend to remain open.
- Officials at Women's Health Care Center, the New Orleans abortion facility, reported they are "very busy" today.
- Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge has reportedly shut down for 30 days, however officlals there are taking names and numbers of potential clients. Delta Clinic is owned by the same person as Women’s Health Care Center.
Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, issued the following statement:
"Louisiana abortion facilities are endangering the public safety by remaining open during the coronavirus pandemic. With full parking lots and small buildings, it seems probable that these abortion facilities are aiding in the spread of the coronavirus. Abortion is an elective procedure, and postponing abortion, as directed by the Department of Health, would not threaten the physical health of women at these abortion facilities. Pregnancy is not a disease.
"If the delay requires a women to forgo an abortion due the pregnancy extending beyond the current legal limit when the unborn child has developed to 20 weeks, then there are public and private agencies that can assist with support both for adoption and parenting. Even in these situations, the safety of the woman has not been jeopardized.
"In infrequent cases where there may be a medical emergency that might threaten the physical life of the mother, hospitals would be the appropriate location to handle those situations, even in these chaotic times, since abortion facilities are not equipped to handle medical emergencies. These abortion facilities are only performing elective procedures.
"The priority for every medical professional during this time of crisis should be stemming the tide of the coronavirus. By remaining open for business, the abortion industry has prioritized its profits over the health and safety of women and all Louisianians."