Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at soss.submissions@gmail.com. Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

Protection of Abortionists from Lawful Prosecution

Michael Dumais

Outreach Coordinator

Human Life of Washington  |  30  September 2022

Recent ordinances passed in Seattle – namely City of Seattle Ordinance 126634[1] and CB 120399[2] – are subversions of justice. They serve to prevent the prosecution of abortionists who violate other states' laws and to subject pro-life organizations to discriminatory restrictions and false accusations based on untruths and willful ignorance of evidence. According to the new City of Seattle Ordinance 126634, “the City shall refrain from providing any cooperation or assistance to any out-of-state law enforcement agency, public entity, or private party if the matter concerns abortion-related conduct, or other reproductive health care or services, provided by a licensed health care provider operating within the scope of their practice, including but not limited to declining to cooperate with an out-of-state subpoena, search warrant, arrest warrant, or court order that has not originated in Washington State.”[3]

 

 

Secondly, Ordinance 126634 also states that “In the event that any abortion-related conduct or reproductive health care or services, conducted by a licensed healthcare provider regulated under Title 18 RCW and operating within their scope of practice, are deemed unlawful in Washington State, the Seattle Police Department and City Attorney’s Office shall make cooperation with other law enforcement agencies for the purpose of the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of such offenses among the City’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”[4]

 

 

These new sections added to the City of Seattle’s Municipal Code Chapter 12A.32[5] beg questions that demand answers. Why would Seattle’s law enforcement need to cooperate with out-of-state law enforcement in the first place?  An abortionist would have to be fleeing another state whose laws no longer allow for elective abortion to be performed at a certain stage of pregnancy, and that abortionist would have needed to violate those laws.  There is a very real possibility that the reason for out-of-state law enforcement’s pursuit of an abortionist into another state is due to gross violations of medical procedures and other crimes against persons.

Need we mention Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist convicted of first-degree murder of three born-alive infants?[6]

 

 

According to Washington State’s RCW 18 (2002), essentially any/all “health care workers” – including abortionists – must be licensed to practice in Washington State before they perform any sort of medical procedure within the State of Washington.[7]   One of the primary reasons for a state license to practice medicine is to make sure that patients in Washington State are protected from medical malpractice.

 

 

Even if the abortionist is practicing without a license, has severely harmed women, and performed unlawful late-term abortions, the City of Seattle will consider these offenses to be “among their lowest law enforcement priorities.”[8] 

 

 

The next question is who does this new ordinance most harm and who does it most help?  Even putting aside the harm to pre-born humans, this new law hurts women while protecting those who hurt them.  As citizens, we trust our laws are there for our protection, and that they will be enforced by police and public prosecutors. This ordinance breaks that trust.

 

 

With the passage of Ordinance 126634, along with the 2022 passage of state-level HB 1851 “Preserving a Pregnant Individual's Ability to Access Abortion Care” (2021-2022), the City of Seattle and the State of Washington have left their female citizens unprotected from some of the most heinous medical practitioners.[9] 

 

 

The hypocrisy is stark!  In public, our governing officials claim they are bending over backward and doing all they can to protect women and their access to “safe” reproductive care.  In reality, they legally force us to affirm and allow dangerous, unmonitored, and unenforced abortion-on-demand.

 

 

Unjust Discrimination and the Silencing of Medical Evidence

As far back as 1982, it has been commonplace for abortion advocates to claim that pro-life pregnancy resource centers (hereafter ‘PRCs’) are “fake clinics,” even when those clinics are operated by licensed OBGYNs and registered nurses who are acting fully in accordance with state and federal law and medical ethics. Further, they have routinely attempted to silence medical data and statistical studies which contradict the abortion lobby’s position.

 

 

For example, in July of 2017, CareNet of Puget Sound defended itself against absurd restraints from the King County Board of Health (hereafter ‘KCBOH’)[10] which imposed “a discriminatory regulation” requiring PRCs to conspicuously post disclaimers reading: “THIS IS NOT A HEALTHCARE FACILITY” in 10 different languages in 48-pt font on all marketing materials.” This is despite the fact that “CareNet of Puget Sound meets the legal criteria for an official healthcare facility and is thus exempt from these regulations.”[11]

 

 

Indeed, the KCBOH has even gone so far as to fabricate clinics that do not exist (Life Choices in Federal Way and Issaquah are fictitious),[12] in order to put pressure on CareNet and other PRCs.

 

 

On September 6, 2022, Seattle City Council unanimously voted to pass CB 120399 to prohibit “false and misleading advertising by crisis pregnancy centers [PRCs].”[13] The vague wording of the ordinance seems designed to have a “chilling effect” on free speech, which has been ruled unconstitutional in similar cases,[14] reminiscent of KCBOH’s overreach.

 

 

In fact, the legislation’s text references the KCBOH’s actions on pg. 2 and takes that policy further. Among other falsehoods, the council accuses – without evidence –  PRCs of hiring medical experts to subvert the system without expanding services.[15] This in contrast to reality – PRCs either don’t claim to offer medical services (because they don’t and never did) or they do offer medical services with licensed professionals in full accordance with the law.[16]

 

 

In another example of the many falsehoods espoused in this ordinance, it claims on pg. 4 that, “Over half (51 percent) of [PRCs] in Washington promote “abortion pill reversal,” a procedure that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG] calls “unethical” and “not based on science.”[17]

 

 

This would be a damning accusation, save for two things:

 

1. ACOG has demonstrably become an ideologically-driven activist organization that has lobbied hard for abortion since the 1970s. The 2003 American Journal of Public Health noted that in ACOG’s case, “[…] despite the theoretical model of science-driven medical care, science was the ideological veneer for the profession’s political position.” ACOG ignores any evidence or member feedback that contradicts support for abortion.[18]

 

2. The progesterone treatment used in abortion pill reversal has been used safely in pregnancy since the 1950s[19] (with FDA approval in 1998).[20] It is commonly used to reduce the risk of premature birth[21] and recurring miscarriage,[22] and is used routinely in the IVF industry,[23], [24] as the Charlotte Lozier Institute notes in their 2021 “Abortion Pill Reversal: A Record of Safety and Efficacy.”[25]

 

 

ACOG’s characterization of abortion pill reversal is thus ideologically-driven and contradictory to decades-old evidence-based medicine. The city council’s reliance on ACOG is telling. The entire Seattle ordinance echoes KCBOH’s targeting of CareNet – unsubstantiated claims and mischaracterizations of PRCs, much in line with lies that CareNet[26] and other PRCs frequently endure.[27]

 

 

Conclusion

There is a cold irony to the actions of the Seattle City Council. They claim to be in favor of “safe” abortions, yet they refuse to assist other states in prosecuting abortionists who may well be guilty of medical malpractice and criminal action. They claim to be proponents of science, yet they squelch relevant scientific data, promote questionable data, and place unjust and undue restrictions on credentialed medical professionals and on centers that meet all medical standards. They outright lie about what PRCs are and how they operate, in a manner that could be debunked simply by reviewing their staff and services. The council does this simply because these organizations (and data) do not support abortion.

 

 

In this, the Seattle City Council proves they place a greater value on preserving abortion at any cost than they do on protecting women from unscrupulous abortionists, on quality medical care, on the rule of law, and even on telling the truth.

 

________________

1 Office of the City Clerk, ‘Council Bill No: CB 120375,’ (2022). Chapter 12A.32.010. https://seattle.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5729577&GUID=1BDEA501-C298-4E80-90BD-020EE85AAE61&FullText=1 Retrieved September 16, 2022.

2 Seattle City Council, ‘Ordinance CB 120399’ (2022). http://seattle.legistar.com/ViewReport.ashx?M=R&N=Text&GID=393&ID=4973823&GUID=6FFA0F94-ED09-4A17-8EF9-8BE4AA00A558&Title=Legislation+Text Retrieved September 16, 2022.

3 Seattle City Council Laws, ‘Ordinance 126634, Council Bill 120375,’ (2022). https://seattle.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=11113966&GUID=F42A7EDA-5E1D-41D4-BC2E-9A31607DC6C0 Retrieved September 16, 2022.

4 See footnote 3

5 See footnote 1

6 Lattanzio, Vince, ‘Abortion Doctor Gosnell Found Guildy of Killing 3 Babies Born Alive.’ NBC Philadelphia, (2013). https://www.hli.org/resources/kermit-gosnell/Gosnell. Retrieved 19 September, 2022.    

7 Washington State Legislature, Title 18 RCW, (2022). https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?Cite=18 Retrieved 19 September, 2022.    

8 See footnote 3

9 Washington State Legislature, HB 1851: RCW 70.02.010. ‘Preserving a pregnant individual's ability to access abortion care,’ (2021-2022). https://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/1851.SL.pdf?q=20220919082822 Retrieved September 16, 2022.

10 King County Board of Health, ‘Resolution #17-04’ (2017). https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/about-us/report-concern/~/media/depts/health/board-of-health/documents/regulations/BOH-regulation-17-04.ashx  Retrieved September 16, 2022.

11 CareNet Puget Sound, ‘Executive Director Statement on the King County Board of Health Resolution,’ (2017). https://carenetps.org/executive-director-statement-king-county-board-health-resolution/. Retrieved September 16, 2022.

12 See footnote 11

13 Office of the City Clerk, ‘City of Seattle Council Bill CB 120399,’ (2022). https://seattle.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5751086&GUID=D3DBB61F-CF62-42C0-87B3-3C4C3039F884&Options=ID%7cText%7c&Search=abortion&FullText=1 Retrieved September 16, 2022.

14 Frank Askin, ‘Chilling Effect,’ First Amendment Encyclopedia, (2009) https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/897/chilling-effect Retrieved September 17, 2022.

15 See footnote 2

16 See footnote 11

17 See footnote 2

18 Not My ACOG, ‘ACOG has become a pro-abortion advocacy organization,’ https://www.notmyacog.com/ Retrieved September 17, 2022.

19 Gian Carlo Di Renzo et al., “Progesterone: History, facts, and artifacts,” Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology 69 (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2020.07.012. Retrieved September 17, 2022.

20 “Drug Approval Package,” Prometrium (Progesterone) Capsules, Application No. 020843, U.S. Food & Drug Administration (approved Dec. 26, 1998), https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/98/020843_s000_PrometriumTOC.cfm. Retrieved September 19, 2022.

21 Line Rode et al., “Systematic review of progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth in singleton pregnancies,” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 88 (2009), doi:10.3109/00016340903280982. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3109/00016340903280982 Retrieved September 19, 2022.

22 Lisa Jaffe, “Progesterone Helps Prevent Reoccurring Miscarriage,” EndocrineWeb, Remedy Health Media (updated 2020), https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/reproduction/progesterone-therapy-found-help-prevent-reoccurring-miscarriage. Retrieved September 19, 2022.

23 “Fact Sheet: Progesterone supplementation during IVF,” ReproductiveFacts.org, American Society for Reproductive Medicine (revised 2016), https://www.reproductivefacts.org/globalassets/rf/news-and-publications/bookletsfact-sheets/english-fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/progesterone_supplementation_during_ivf_factsheet.pdf Retrieved September 19, 2022.

24 Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, “Progesterone supplementation during the luteal phase and in early pregnancy in the treatment of infertility: an educational bulletin,” Fertility and Sterility 89, American Society for Reproductive Medicine (2008) doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.02.012 C; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18406835/ Retrieved September 19, 2022.

25 Charlotte Lozier Institute, ‘Abortion Pill Reversal: A Record of Safety and Efficacy,’ (2021). https://lozierinstitute.org/abortion-pill-reversal-a-record-of-safety-and-efficacy/#_ftn7 Retrieved September 17, 2022.

26 See footnote 11

27 NIFLA (National Institute of Family and Life Advocates), ‘How Pregnancy Centers Can Overcome the Fake Clinic Myth,’ (2022) https://nifla.org/how-pregnancy-centers-can-overcome-the-fake-clinic-myth/ RetrievedSeptember 16, 2022.