Today at 9:00 a.m. I joined others from my team at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Some of us were inside to watch the proceedings while others were outside praying for a righteous decision.
Judge Henry E. Hudson is hearing a vitally important lawsuit against all of our pro-life laws. This lawsuit, Falls Church Medical Center, LLC. v. Oliver, was brought by Planned Parenthood and abortion allies to take away all of our pro-life laws. Here are some of the laws that the abortion industry wants to strike down with a court decree:
Our "Window to the Womb" ultrasound law,
Our law requiring full informed consent before abortions,
The law requiring a 24 hour waiting period before an abortion,
All of our health and safety regulations,
Our law limiting 2nd Trimester abortions to hospitals only; and
The law, which has been on the books since 1975, stating that only licensed physicians are allowed to do abortions!
Ultimately the pro-abortion industry wants to remove every pro-life law we have ever passed! And, having failed to do so in the legislature, they are turning to the courts.
Judge Hudson will be hearing witnesses and testimony in this case for the next two weeks - concluding on May 31st. The Family Foundation will be there to monitor every day of the proceedings.
It’s hard to fully describe what it’s like to sit in a courtroom and listen to an abortionist, who testifies to having done thousands of abortions, dispassionately describe what he does for a living, complete with seemingly unending euphemisms to describe abortion rather than facts. If one heard Governor Northam describe infanticide on the radio, it’s comparable, except for hours on end.
Much of the day was listening to the testimony and cross examination of an Oregon abortionist Dr. Mark Nichols. Dr. Nichols went to great lengths to claim nearly all abortion is virtually without complication. The difficulty with his presentation is that in Virginia, despite years of presenting legislation to the Virginia General Assembly to collect complication data on abortion, short of what is presented as a result of the newly adopted safety inspections, our Commonwealth simply has not been collecting complications. For decades it has been the case that if a woman has a perforated uterus and presents herself at the hospital, it will be filed as a hemorrhaging, not an abortion complication. Even after regulations adopted in 2011 required some complication reporting, inspections reveal that complications are still not being reported. Dr. Nichols reported that even uterus perforations are often handled onsite rather than transferring a patient to a hospital. We know that is because the industry does everything possible to conceal complications, including not sending women to the hospital when then need that level of repair after a botched abortion.
Abortionist Nichols gave testimony that he does a thorough job ensuring the informed consent of women, emphasizing that he finds women fully competent to understand the decision they are making. However, when drilled about his use of ultrasound in that informed consent process, he acknowledged that he does deny women the right to see their ultrasound, despite their request because he knows what’s best for them.
In a moment that shocked no one except Rachel Maddow, Dr. Nichols did affirm his use of ultrasound in each and every abortion he performs because it results in a safer abortion. If one watched the news or late-night television during the passage of our Window to the Womb law in 2012, one would have walked away with the impression that ultrasounds are simply a tool of “state sponsored rape.” Seriously. I wish I were kidding.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of today’s discussion was the notion that this doctor could provide women with any facts that would allow her to make an informed consent when he couldn’t use any correct terms to speak about a woman carrying a child. With the rare exception, he never used the word “baby” and only rarely the term “fetus.” Most of his entire time on the stand only referred to “pregnancies”, “pregnancy tissue” and “products of conception.”
At one point it was clear the defense attorney wanted him to acknowledge the process by which an abortionist ensures they have done a complete abortion, which is to put the child’s body parts back together and determine they are all accounted for. Rather than owning this known process, the abortionist simply said that he checks the womb to ensure the “products of conception” are gone. When asked what the “products of conception” were, he simply responded with the “fetus and placenta.” He even managed to describe needing bigger tools in later week abortions because the “pregnancy is bigger.” In English, rather than abortion-speak, the child ‘s skull is bigger but apparently, despite acting as if abortion is the same as removing a wort, the abortionist does not appear to have the boldness to actually use real words to reference the human body being torn apart.
Much of the testimony centered around the various types of abortion:
1) Chemical - take two pills and induce a process like a miscarriage, including a tremendous amount of bleeding
2) Suction - envision a vacuum used to remove the child
3) Dilation and evacuation (D & E) - a woman is dilated and the child is dismembered and then removed.
4) Induction – the child is shot into the heart with a lethal drug, labor is induced and a whole dead child delivered. If the child is not delivered whole, post-induction dismemberment will occur.
The abortionist steered away from using words like “vacuum”, “dismemberment” or “delivery.” However, it is critical to note that he testified that he does suction abortions until 15 weeks, D & E until 22-24 weeks and induction abortion or what has been coined “heart attack” abortion after 24 weeks. Given this is the case, petitioners are filing to move 2nd trimester (through 27 weeks) abortions from a hospital to an abortion center and remove the physician requirement. If the Judge were to strike down these laws, one has to ask if the law would then allow induction abortions in a center with a health worker who is not a doctor, like a certified midwife delivering the dead baby? Remember, Virginia’s laws are not structured around the types of procedures, they are structured around gestational ages of development. For Judge Hudson to rule by procedure, he would need to essentially rewrite the law for the General Assembly.
Our hope is that the ten-day trial highlights for Judge Hudson the over 500 health and safety violations in the Virginia centers over the last couple of years including blood on the equipment, expired medications and untrained staff. It would be hard to read what we’ve read, inspections that are readily available to the public, and the Judge conclude that this industry needs less oversight.
I will be in the court as often as I can be over the course of this trial. Please keep this case in your prayers.