On Friday, January 17, a federal judge struck down the NC law that every woman seeking an abortion must have an ultrasound and must have the screen in her line of sight. The providers were required to explain what was on the screen. The intent of the law was that abortion-minded mothers would make decisions based on full understanding of the facts. Over 90% of women who see their baby on an ultrasound choose not to go through with an abortion.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles explained her ruling by asserting, “The Supreme Court has never held that a state has the power to compel a health care provider to speak, in his or her own voice, the state’s ideological message in favor of carrying a pregnancy to term and this court declines to do so today.”
Predictably, the ACLU applauded the ruling. “Today’s court ruling protects the rights of women and their doctors from the ideological agenda of extremist lawmakers,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina.
Really? How is withholding information protecting the rights of these women?
And how is the quality of care at the Charlotte Preferred Women’s Health Center (PWHC), the busiest abortion facility in the area? What is the background of those doctors who need protecting from “extremist lawmakers?”
One doctor, Jimmie Isaac Newton, was charged with sexual misconduct/abuse with patients in 2002. He voluntarily surrendered his license in lieu of disciplinary action. His license was reinstated and he is now an abortion doctor with PWHC.
A second doctor, Dr. Ron Virmani, was suspended in 1994 after extensive review of a procedure where a life threatening situation ensued when he punctured an iliac artery during laparoscopic surgery on a patient. A peer review in 1995 found nearly a fifth of his cases in which he was the primary physician to be problematic and suspended his clinical privileges. He filed action against them, saying the NC bylaws had been breeched, and a second review was conducted in 1996. The findings again resulted in revoking clinical privileges. Dr. Virani now performs abortions at PWHC.
I joined Cities4Life volunteers at the Latrobe Preferred Women’s Health Center (PWHC) in Charlotte today. A palpable dread filled me as I pulled onto the street in front of the clinic. Its parking lot was full. Already on this frigid morning, 20 to 30 pro-life advocates were gathered. Some held signs. Some had microphones. Many huddled in the freezing chill with only their voices to lift in pleading for the unborn.
A mobile free ultrasound unit (ICU mobile) was parked in front of PWHC. After shadowing the sidewalk counselors begging abortion-minded parents not to enter that place of death, I was able to tour the mobile ICU. I was told that ultrasounds, still required by law, cost the mother $187 in the clinic. In the Mobile ICU, it is free.
One of the counselors convinced a young woman and her boyfriend to get the free ultrasound. The “security” men and women spewed insults and profanity, warning the pro-life counselors not to “harass” women. One security man was obviously drunk, and was lifting a flask periodically to his lips.
The young couple entered the Mobile ICU. They were greeted by a nurse who showed them her models of babies at varying gestational ages. She had a countertop filled with a variety of pamphlets with information that would aid the couple in understanding their choices. This soft spoken woman volunteers her time regularly to staff the mobile unit. When I met her, she spoke gently of the miracle of God’s love, and the sanctity of life He creates. A second nurse who was operating the ultrasound is also a volunteer. She drives hours each day to pick up and deliver the trailer to various abortion mills in the area.
The mother was 8 weeks pregnant. In the PWHC, she was told that “the fetus has no heart beat.” The implication was the baby was not a person, at least not yet. Some mothers who choose life, and leave the clinic have reported that they are not allowed to see the ultrasound monitor even when they ask!
The mobile ICU nurse hooked the young mother to the machine, and turned the monitor towards her as the image of the little baby appeared. A strong and vibrant heart was beating, 176 beats a minute, a throbbing testament of life.
“That’s my baby,” said the young man softly.
“We cannot kill it,” said the young woman.
“No,” they both agreed.
“It’s a baby. How could I do anything but be its mama?”
Cities4Life will now provide, as needed, a place for the mother to stay, a baby shower that will cover the first two years of baby clothes and full assortment of things the baby will need, help getting to and from doctor appointments, and an incredible doctor who will deliver the baby free of charge. Some of the counselors have provided their own homes for mothers who choose life and have no place to stay.
As I stepped outside of the warm quiet trailer, I heard the security people for PWHC screaming obscenities. I saw young men on the front porch, smoking cigarettes and glaring defiantly at the sidewalk counselors begging them not to kill their babies. “We can help you!” pleaded the counselors.
I saw a woman in the backseat of a car pulling into the clinic. The men in the front seat were laughing. The woman was huddled against the window crying. The sidewalk counselors urged one young man to come to them. He stood on the porch for a moment, then came forward. As he came closer, a counselor told him he did not have to let his baby be killed. She opened her pamphlet and showed him the list of resources that were available should he choose life.
“She’s been in there an hour already,” he said.
I felt my hope flickering.
“Look at all these cars,” said the counselor, sweeping her arm across the filled parking lot, “There is only one doctor. It will take hours to get to everyone. Does your girlfriend have a phone?”
“Text her, tell her to come out. We will get her a free ultrasound.” He shrugged but did not text her.
“Can we pray for you?” asked another counselor.
“I have a cigarette…” he said.
“That’s ok,” I said, my only moment of speech the entire time I was there.
The man approached and we huddled around him. The counselor prayed about God’s love and forgiveness. The young man thanked us, and walked away, taking the literature the counselor had handed him.
As I drove home, I remembered the incredible image of that 8 week old baby, its heart pulsing so powerfully on the ultrasound monitor…the baby that the nurse at the Preferred Women’s Health Center had told the mother had no heartbeat. I pulled over and cried.
8 Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
For information on how you can be involved, go to cities4life.org
update: On Friday, February 8, Roy Cooper, the NC Attorney General agreed to appeal the district court ruling on the ultrasound requirement.
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