The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the state of Arkansas over its requirement that all patients having elective surgeries must have a negative coronavirus test at least 48 hours before the procedure. This includes abortion.
Previously, Arkansas was one of the states that banned abortion to preserve medical supplies but has issued a new order stating that any person having an elective surgery “must have at least one negative COVID-19 NAAT test within 48 hours prior to beginning of the procedure.” This both helps protect other patients and medical professionals, but Arkansas’s lone abortion clinic doesn’t agree and has enlisted the ACLU to sue the state.
“Delaying abortion care across the board for a COVID-19 test is especially unwarranted in view of Arkansas’s otherwise permissive approach to letting individuals mix and mingle in restaurants and gyms without negative COVID tests,” the lawsuit states. “For women who cannot obtain access to COVID-19 NAAT testing within 48 hours of their procedures, the Directive entirely bars them from exercising their constitutional right to receive pre-viability abortion care in Arkansas.”
So, women are apparently easily able to access a surgical abortion, though there is only one surgical abortion clinic in the state, but somehow getting a COVID test is difficult even though there are dozens of locations across the state? That just doesn’t make any sense.
Women in the state of Arkansas should have no trouble accessing a COVID-19 test in the state if they want an abortion. In fact, shouldn’t Little Rock Family Planning Services, the state’s only surgical abortion clinic, be able to provide this test for free to its own patients? After all, the cost of the abortion already includes the required lab work, required medications, gas analgesia (nitrous oxide gas), post-abortion examination, ultrasound and other “services.” Adding on a COVID-19 test shouldn’t be a big deal. Women also have to wait 72 hours for an abortion after the initial consultation, but only need the COVID test with a negative result 48 hours in advance. This should be easily doable since this particular clinic only does abortions.
In a statement to CNN, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said, “(The state) stands ready to defend the Arkansas Health Department’s directive which provides reasonable standards to implement surgical abortions and other medically elective procedures…surgical abortions do not get special treatment during the pandemic.”
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Abortion Surveillance Report, surgical abortions remain the most common abortion procedure. Depending on the gestational age of the preborn baby, the procedure ranges from manual vacuum aspiration (where the preborn is removed via a suctioning device) to dismembering a preborn baby (Dilation and Evacuation or D&E abortion) and finally to induction or late-term abortions where the mother actually goes into labor and delivers a deceased child after a multiday process.
The idea that abortion is somehow a simple medical procedure is wrong, and it definitely is surgery. The Little Rock Family Planning Services offices performs abortions up to 21 weeks, which means that they utilize the D&E process where the child is dismembered in the womb and taken out in pieces. It’s a procedure that can result in uterine perforation, cervix laceration, incomplete abortion, bleeding and infection, all of which have potentially deadly side effects or affect fertility.
Abortion is surgery, and many abortion offices offer women the opportunity to pay for sedation or anesthesia during the procedure, which is also a risk. There are risks associated during nitrous oxide administered by the clinic, including excessive sweating, shivering, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and fatigue. Some clinics even use anesthesia which requires the assistance of a highly trained medical personnel like an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) to monitor the patient.
This lawsuit isn’t about denying women care, but about abortionists fighting to put women’s lives at risk in pursuit of the almighty dollar.