Pro-life activist Lynn Mills protests May 2 outside Providence Park Hospital in Novi, MI [Photo via The Detroit News]
“Anti-Abortion Protesters Are Coming to a Hospital Near You.”
That’s the apt title of an article published last week by pro-choice journalist Robin Marty on the liberal website ThinkProgress.
Noting that the vast majority of abortions are performed in freestanding clinics, Marty says hospitals are “increasingly viewed as the weak link in the battle over abortion access.” She then adds, “And that’s exactly the way medical boards like it.”
But as more and more states are enacting legislation requiring abortionists in freestanding facilities to have admitting privileges at and transfer agreements with a local hospital, the landscape is changing:
Admitting privileges legislation has made hospitals the gatekeeper for abortion clinics’ ability to remain open. That’s allowed protests to move away from the clinics themselves and back to the hospitals, a far more vulnerable target.
She then mentions a smattering of states that have witnessed pro-life targeted protests of hospitals in recent years, including Alabama, Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, California, and Michigan.
Pro-life pickets of hospitals are, of course, nothing new, as Marty notes that they, along with pickets outside abortionists’ homes, are both covered in Pro-Life Action League national director Joe Scheidler’s book Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion (the first edition of which was published in 1985, the second in 1994).
Marty interviewed Scheidler for the article, and she quotes him extensively. In fact, Marty concludes her article thusly:
“Of course we will apply pressure,” said Scheidler. “We are trying to get the abortion clinics closed. Without hospitals, the abortionist can’t get the resources he needs and then he closes. That’s what is going to happen around the country as this becomes more common.”
Pro-Life Protests: A Public Relations Disaster for Hospitals
Marty’s article is further confirmation of what we have known for some time: namely, that hospitals want to be subject to pro-life protests about as much as they want to be hit with a malpractice suit.
Let this serve as a cautionary tale for hospital administrators who think they can escape protests because they “only” grant admitting privileges or have transfer agreements with abortionists.
Sooner or later, we’ll find out that your hospital is enabling abortionists to ply their trade, and you’ll be protested, and the “stigma” of abortion will be attached to you. It will most definitely make your patients uneasy, and you will lose business.
In short, it will be a P.R. disaster. Think about it, Mr. and Mrs. Hospital Administrator: Is it worth it?
Ideally, hospitals should refuse to have anything at all to do with abortion or its practitioners because — at the risk of stating the mind-numbingly obvious — killing babies is wrong. But if moral reasons aren’t enough, we’ll settle for a hospital refusing to give cover to abortionists out of concern for their own self-interest.