NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, June 16th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. The economic lockdown related to COVID-19 harmed many businesses this spring. WORLD commentator Kim Henderson notes one in her area that never stopped.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: In March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to grow, hospitals across the country began postponing surgeries. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was right, they’d need all the beds and supplies they could get for a rush of COVID-19 patients. Non-urgent and elective surgeries would have to wait.
That meant doctors in Washington state had to tell a breast cancer patient she couldn’t get her lumpectomy. A Colorado professor’s hip replacement was delayed indefinitely. A young mom’s surgery for stage 4 colorectal cancer got canceled in Los Angeles.
And 6-year-old Mitchell Porter of Minneapolis? Well, that heart valve repair he needed? They’d get to it when things settled down.
And while hospitals and dentist offices and the like all adapted to the new new, a fair number of abortion centers didn’t. It was business as usual. Or maybe even more business than usual in some states.
Where I live, the governor told reporters the state’s lone abortion provider would be treated as other non-essential medical facilities. But evidently folks inside the loud-and-proud pink building didn’t get the memo. They never missed a beat.
Escorts met visitors in the parking lot, and they were not standing 6 feet apart. They were not wearing masks. They were not doling out hand sanitizer.
Besides all that, they had daily gatherings of more than 10 people inside the building.
And as governments across the globe gathered medical supplies to save lives from COVID-19, the abortion center was able to stockpile deliveries for an opposing purpose to take lives.
Meanwhile, in states reporting a high number of COVID-19 cases, abortion appointments could be hard to get. So women came here seeking what they euphemistically call “services.” They drove brand-new Camrys and beat up Chevys and Pathfinders with car seats secured in the second and third rows. They had license plates showing points of origin like Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia.
These mothers came here and found open doors and someone at a desk ready and waiting to take their cash or major credit card. Early enough cases paid $600 for the RU-486 abortion pill. If they had passed the 12-week mark, the surgical version cost them about $200 more.
One pastor I spoke with has been a regular outside the gate at this abortion center for decades. He told me that the last few months have been the busiest he’s ever seen.
Busy, yes, but escorts wearing rainbow-emblazoned vests still found time to antagonize the volunteers holding out hope and saying prayers on the sidewalk. They put buckets of manure in the grass. They covered signposts with ink. They waged a war against the light.
As the world reopens, virus experts are still wrangling with outcomes and impact. But whatever threats COVID-19 brought, the numbers inside that abortion center remained pretty steady during the pandemic. For some 40 babies each day, the death rate was 100 percent.
I’m Kim Henderson.