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Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #69 – Is Coronavirus Impacting Abortions – Part 2

Ron Reigns:

Welcome, and thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption with Kelly Rourke-Scarry and me, Ron Reigns, where we delve into adoption issues from every angle of the adoption triad.

Speaker 2:

Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid, and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:

And I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:

Don’t have an abortion; give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:

All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the executive director, president, and co-founder of Building Arizona Families adoption agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the You Before Me campaign creator. I have a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and Human Development and a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on school counseling. I was adopted at three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption, and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:

And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the co-host of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife, an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

We had talked about this last week, about doing a whole blog thing on this, on the coronavirus and on-

Ron Reigns:

COVID 19 and abortion, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. And I think that because I, yeah.

Ron Reigns:

You know, it blows me away that people are taking this coronavirus and trying to make it about abortion and totally using this pandemic in the United States to push their agenda. And I know weirdly, we’re kind of doing the same thing, but we’re kind of responding to what’s going on in the news because they are using this. And we’re trying to say, no, let’s focus on-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Well, what we’re doing is prioritizing the coronavirus and the materials and medical equipment that are necessary to the frontline healthcare workers.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And you know, every ventilator that is hoarded by planned parenthood is taking away a potential life, two actually.

Ron Reigns:

I asked you, so you said nearly a million babies are aborted every year. Is that worldwide? Because I thought it was around 600,000 in the United States. Am I incorrect on that? And it’s been steadily going down since the 90s.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Actually, according to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly one million women choose to end their pregnancies in the United States. And one-quarter of American women will use abortion services by 45 years of age. So according to the Guttmacher Institute, around 70,000 people seek abortion care in the US every month.

Ron Reigns:

I saw something online. Well, because I was doing research too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Well. There are very, there are considerable discrepancies in numbers on-

Ron Reigns:

Because of who reports and who doesn’t.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Because of who reports, that’s correct. Suppose you look at the state data from the Center of Health Statistics for that particular state. In that case, they will differ from the Guttmacher Institute. The Guttmacher Institute appears to have a higher number. So again, there is some flexibility in these numbers. Now I also want to preface in this podcast that this research that was pulled was pulled on Sunday of this week. That being said, the COVID numbers are going to be very different. They’re going to be much higher than we are reporting now because, again, we are prerecording this due to the social distancing regulations. So that being said, please take that into consideration. We’re going to examine and really dive into some of the states, like Texas, Ohio, Alabama. I think that Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas are all states trying to restrict abortions to prohibit non-essential medical procedures during this coronavirus health crisis. And the debate in this category is that abortion is and should be included as a non-essential procedure.

Ron Reigns:

Right. And the other side is saying, no, this is absolutely essential.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Plastic surgery, obviously, would be non-essential.

Ron Reigns:

Exactly. That’s an elective. You’re choosing to; it’s not something that you need to live or function, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

No life or death matters.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes. In Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, state lawmakers have issued orders to limit access to abortions in April. But again, as we go into these states and talk about some of them, we find that this is turning into a court battle. Both sides are trying to state. Obviously, this is an essential service; this is not an essential service. So, that’s where it is boiling down to. The reason that this is important to really dive into is that in looking at these cases, the rulings ultimately could impact the upcoming case regarding overturning Roe v. Wade or not. And so this is kind of maybe foreshadowing a little bit of what’s to come in the future. You know, the rulings being put in place now will have some effect.

Ron Reigns:

On future rulings, indeed.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. So, the Alabama Center for Health Statistics reports that 6,063 abortions took place in their state in 2017, which averages out to approximately 505 abortions a month. And again, this is, as of this past Sunday, Alabama has experienced an unfortunate 93 deaths resulting from COVID-19.

Ron Reigns:

So that means more than five times the lives lost to COVID-19 have been taken due to abortions.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That is correct because COVID-19 has been in existence, what I believe in Alabama for at least a month, is that correct? Since it started back in 

March.

Ron Reigns:

At least. Even if we’ve said it’s been two months in Alabama, so say they lost 186, would that be? I believe that would be 186. It’s still twice as many in one month that, well, actually you would if you would want to compare apples to apples. So you would say two months in Alabama.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Actually, you know what, it’d be the other way. It would be, if we’re saying that COVID has existed for two months, it would actually be-

Ron Reigns:

Only 90. You’re right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It’d work on behalf of 93.

Ron Reigns:

And so, almost 10 times the number of lives lost to abortions instead of COVID-19.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That is correct.

Ron Reigns:

Wow. Yep. Okay. I undid my math. All right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

All right. So CBS reports that a judge rules Alabama cannot prohibit abortion during the coronavirus crisis. On Sunday, a federal judge ruled that Alabama cannot ban abortions as part of the state’s response to coronavirus. US District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction sought by clinics to prevent the state from forbidding abortions as part of a ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thompson said that abortion providers can decide whether a procedure can wait. “Based on the current record, the defendant’s efforts to combat COVID-19, do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy, by undue burden or increase on a patient’s imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers.” Thompson wrote in an opinion.

Ron Reigns:

Okay. I want to look at that more closely, that quote. Okay, I will reread that because I found that interesting or at least part of it; I’ll reread. “Based on the current record, the defendant’s efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy.” So, let me sum that up. He’s essentially saying that your efforts to save lives from COVID-19 don’t outweigh the importance of taking lives due to abortion. Is, am I summing that up correctly? That sounds like what he’s saying, and it’s ludicrous to me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s how I read it. So basically, they’re saying that regardless of the risk factors of COVID-19, it is still more important for a woman’s right to choose.

Ron Reigns:

To take a life. Okay. So, he wants to take as many lives as possible, it sounds like to me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Wow.

Ron Reigns:

I might be-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s your opinion.

Ron Reigns:

Kind of editorializing a little bit, but that’s exactly what it sounds like to me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. And that, and your response, I think, is probably very much felt by others. You know, it elicits a strong response because it’s a strong statement. And for families that are losing loved ones and can’t be with them in the end, to COVID-19. That statement has got a sting for adoptive families that are trying and trying and trying to have a baby. And right now, fertility treatments are considered elective procedures. And so a lot of that is being postponed and delayed. And yet we’re waiting, we’re having to wait to create lives. But in Alabama, this judge says that we don’t have to wait to end up, which is hard to hear. And that’s a harsh statement. And I’m, I sympathize with each and every person that reads this, that has lost a loved one, to COVID-19. Because that is, there are no words. Let’s just go there. There are no words. Iowa’s Center for Health Statistics reports that 3,269 abortions took place in their state in 2017, which averages out to approximately 272 abortions a month. To date, Iowa has experienced an unfortunate 41 deaths resulting from COVID-19.

Ron Reigns:

And once again, I mean, at the bare minimum, we’re talking about five times as many lives lost to abortion as to COVID-19, in essentially the same amount of time. We’re going to go ahead and say one month for one for what we’ve been dealing with COVID-19.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It’s just unbelievable. And I hope and pray that the numbers of COVID-19 don’t increase.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

The deaths that have already happened are tragic. And I hope that the numbers stop, and we don’t keep experiencing that. And part of this podcast I feel, and I hope it’s okay Ron, that I’m speaking for both of us, is that by eliminating doing procedures, at least during the COVID-19 crisis, those medical supplies, the masks, the ventilators, everything that they’re using can be transferred to the frontline workers and saving more people.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Instead of taking it away from those efforts. Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Agreed. All right, Kentucky. The Kentucky Department of Health Statistics reports that 3,201 abortions took place in their state in 2017, averaging approximately 267 abortions a month. To date, Iowa has experienced an unfortunate 97 deaths resulting from COVID-19. Sorry. To date, Kentucky has experienced an unfortunate 97 deaths from COVID-19, which-

Ron Reigns:

And again, neither of these numbers, both of these numbers represent lives. You know. [crosstalk 00:13:00] that’s the hard part.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Both of these numbers are deaths. And that’s a critical point to understand; they’re both deaths.

Ron Reigns:

And weirdly, they both represent the most vulnerable lives of humans. On the one end, the COVID-19 seems to be more lethal obviously to the older adults, who are less self-sufficient and then abortions ] we’re talking about the very, most vulnerable in our society.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah, absolutely. So, Ohio. The Ohio Center for Health Statistics reports that 20,893 abortions took place in their state in 2017, averaging 1,741 abortions a month. To date, Ohio has experienced an unfortunate 253 deaths resulting from COVID-19. We’re seeing many of the same statistics, how many times, in terms of how many deaths in a ratio to, from abortions to COVID-19. And ironically, if you break it down, it’s kind of within the same number, five times ten, six times, seven times the amount.

Ron Reigns:

It’s essentially dwarfed; the deaths by COVID-19 are dwarfed by how many abortions are performed in that given state in a month.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

But if these states are still practicing, and we take all of the masks and all of the ventilators and all of the necessary medical supplies, and we give them to the frontline. How many of these deaths wouldn’t have occurred?

Ron Reigns:

Right. On both ends.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

On both ends. So let’s jump down to Texas. So Texas is in the middle of a super controversial situation right now. So the Texas Center for Health Statistics reports that 53,277 abortions took place in their state in 2017, which averages out to approximately 4,440 abortions a month. To date, Texas has experienced an unfortunate 271 deaths resulting from COVID-19. Abortion providers in Texas, led by Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s largest abortion provider, led abortion providers in Texas filed against suit against the state of Texas’ decision to restrict abortions under these circumstances. Their claim was upheld in the federal court, and permission for abortions was restored. Unfortunately, and I’m saying because I’m reading the article, this state appealed the decision, and the appeals court reversed the decision and restored the restriction. And there’s a pending hearing on the 13th. So obviously, when I’m saying unfortunate, I’m actually meaning fortunate.

Ron Reigns:

Right. You’re quoting somebody else who thinks it’s unfortunate.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right? I’m quoting somebody. So that being said, there was an order issued, and it is on the Texas Tribune. The ruling stated that the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will allow medical abortions, which involve patients ingesting pills, to proceed in Texas during the coronavirus outbreak. The latest development in a weeks-long legal dispute over state officials’ attempt to ban the procedure in nearly all circumstances as it combats the pandemic. A previous ruling from the New Orleans-based appeals court lets patients near the legal gestational limit receive abortions as well. Hundreds of abortions in Texas have been canceled since state officials bar the procedure except when a women’s health is at risk, as the novel coronavirus spreads. The prohibition is meant to preserve personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that is in short supply nationwide and free up bed space as hospitals prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 patients. I think that this is the lesser of two evils. At least they’re not allowing abortions, medical abortions. They’re just allowing medicinal abortions.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I still would prefer that not occur as well, but at least we are not looking at the medical procedures in the state of Texas.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So that is-

Ron Reigns:

Kind of a 50/50. It’s half good, half bad.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes, it is. And Planned Parenthood is the abortion global giant. Reportedly, being the nation’s largest provider, they performed 346,000 abortions in 2018, which is a 4% increase over 2017.

Ron Reigns:

Which the trend had been going down. Am I wrong?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It has. It’s fluctuated so much. So in, and again, we’re going with the Guttmacher Institutes right now. We’re going, we, when we went before, I went with the lower numbers, which were reported from the state health departments, because I wanted to, I don’t want numbers inflated. I want the most accurate numbers that we can come across.

Ron Reigns:

Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

However, because we are looking at the overall numbers, these are only reported. Again, these are not reflective of every abortion that has been performed or has been done. But in 2000, 1,310,000 abortions took place. In 2008, it was 1,210,000. In 2017, it was 862,320.

Ron Reigns:

So the trend is overall down.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Well, yes, the lowest abortion rate ever was observed in 2017. But remember, the 346,000 were only the abortions done by Planned Parenthood.

Ron Reigns:

Okay. All right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s not the abortions overall in the United States. That’s solely just Planned Parenthood’s part.

Ron Reigns:

By Planned Parenthood.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

In going further into some of the other articles displayed all over social media, as we’re talking about Planned Parenthood. If you look at Pennsylvania allows Planned Parenthood to perform abortions, despite the elective surgery ban. That’s crazy. I want to read this because I can’t; I’m still trying to understand where the other side is coming from. Again, I try to keep an open mind and really try; even if I disagree, I still want to understand.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Definitely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I can tell you, I don’t like mushrooms. But if somebody makes something and it has mushrooms, and I can tell you if it’s good or not, it doesn’t mean I like it, but I can tell you if it’s good or not. So that’s kind of my analogy. All right. So Planned Parenthood clinics in Pennsylvania have eliminated all services, except for abortion, in the wake of a statewide ban on elective surgeries meant to preserve scarce medical resources amid the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic Governor Tom Wolf issued a directive, ordering the shutdown of all not life-sustaining businesses on March 20th. Guidance from the state government prohibits elected procedures performed by healthcare services and hospitals. Despite these directives, Planned Parenthood Keystone, which serves Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, announced it would remain open for abortion services while shutting down its other operations.

Ron Reigns:

To me, that’s unbelievable because they’re talking about lifesaving. Hey, it’s the same thing. It’s the same argument that keeps going in my head that’s saying we’re trying to save lives from coronavirus. Still, the only procedures that they continue to do are meant to literally stop lives from even occurring.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. And what’s crazy is that the order issued on March 20th came after the state’s health secretary urged doctors and patients to consider postponing non-critical surgeries. The state’s largest abortion provider has ignored the directive and has continued with abortions even as it stopped providing routine exams and other services.

Ron Reigns:

Right. So you can’t do pap smears. You can’t do health checks on women, which are literally, I mean, sometimes they are essential in my opinion. But-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Oh, not even in your opinion. Hands down. Across the board, they are absolutely essential. They are lifesaving. Yes.

Ron Reigns:

And the only thing that you have to hold onto is we have to continue these abortions.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. So, in this same article, it was fascinating because it said, “The paradox is just striking. Here we’re making an exception for life-sustaining procedures. Yet, an exception to that is this one medical procedure that’s life-ending.” Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Thomas More Society, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Ron Reigns:

I’m with him.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Absolutely. I don’t, I almost don’t have words, and that’s rare.

Ron Reigns:

Right. I know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I don’t. I hope that those that are not educated in what abortion is, and are siding themselves as pro-choice or pro-life, are really researching and educating themselves and understanding what we’re talking about. We’re talking about babies. People are dying from COVID-19 because there are not enough medical supplies. We’re risking the lives of healthcare workers. This morning, there was just something on the news that one of the frontline workers, CPS, removed her child because her child risked contracting the virus. And she’s putting herself and her family in danger. And we’re worried about whether or not a woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy. When there are other options. With COVID, there are no other options. And that’s the point that I want to keep striking that that’s important.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So, Secretary Azar released a press release, and…

Ron Reigns:

It was powerful.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It was powerful. And all of these releases, we are going to be uploading to our new website, and I hope that people will go and view them and really read them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

He states, “Unfortunately, there is one clear outlier, the abortion industry, including the largest abortion chain of the nation, Planned Parenthood. In acts of manifest fearmongering and self interest, they are exploiting the anxiety of women and couples by continuing to promote abortion in communities across the country. Planned Parenthood is responsible for nearly 346,000 abortions in the last reporting year, including both surgical and medical procedures carried out in many locations all the way to 24 weeks of pregnancy. By ceasing both surgical and chemical abortions now, Planned Parenthood will free up much needed medical equipment, and decrease the demands now placed on ERs due to complications from both medical and surgical abortion. This will protect women who will without doubt need follow up care, including infection treatment, and transfusions from the nation’s emergency centers and hospitals. So while we race in a hectic race to, while we are in a hectic race to save lives, Planned Parenthood, and other powers in the abortion industry remain insistent on taking lives of innocent unborn children. While surgery centers postpone elective and diagnostic procedures, abortion centers are churning out surgical and chemical abortions, putting women, especially the poor, at risk. Their continued operation depletes sorely needed personal protective equipment and leads to further complications that will further overwhelm already overextended emergency rooms.”

Ron Reigns:

Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And this is written by the honorable Alex Azar, Secretary Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. And it was released on March 24th, 2020.

Ron Reigns:

It’s perfect. Again, like you said, speechless. It just leaves me thinking, wow, this is someone who believes what he’s saying. And it’s incredible, mighty.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And to have the courage and the strength to stand up and say it.

Ron Reigns:

On a national level. Good for him.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And it’s not that we are, as a podcast picking or pointing the finger at Planned Parenthood, but their name comes up because they’re the nation’s largest provider.

Ron Reigns:

Right. I found it interesting that he called it a chain. It made me think of like a franchise McDonald’s or, in a weird way, it really is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And that’s crushing. I hope at the end of the day, and at the end of this podcast, that our listeners really understand the need for this medical equipment to go to the first responders, to go to the emergency rooms, to go to the frontline workers that are risking their own lives, trying to save others. I think that if we, as a society, stand behind and share his message, we’ll get it out there. And we can hopefully make an impact, even if it just changes one person’s life that has COVID, and one more person gets a ventilator. And nobody has to choose which patient gets to live and which patient gets to die. Then this matters, and we’ve made a difference.

Ron Reigns:

Remember, there are alternatives to abortion. We are a local Arizona adoption agency if you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about adoption. We are available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112, that’s (623) 695-4112. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. Be educated about your unplanned pregnancy choice and alternatives to abortion in Arizona. Your baby is counting on you. With adoption, you’re never alone. Choose life #YouBeforeMe. Visit you before me. life. We want to thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption and invite you to visit our website at birthmothermatterspodcast.com. Thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song I Don’t Know as our theme song. We’ll see you next time on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I am Ron Reigns, and we will see you then.

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