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Lawmakers, Pro-Life Groups Urge Gov, McMaster To Require Abortion Centers to Comply with Directive to Suspend Elective Medical Procedures

by | Apr 9, 2020

Return of Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors Possible by Saturday

By Holly Gatling, Executive Director, South Carolina Citizens for Life

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Thursday, April 8, 2020) A groups of pro-life and pro-family organizations as well as lawmakers and individuals called on South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster urging him to close abortion facilities that have failed to comply with his directive to halt all elective medical procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. 

South Carolina Citizens for Life, an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, participated in an on-line press conference Thursday morning noting that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the March 22, 2020, order of Texas Governor Gregg Abbott to all licensed medical facilities, including abortion centers, to postpone all surgeries and procedures not immediately medically necessary.

Lisa Van Riper, President of South Carolina Citizens for Life, told the press conference, “Society is working feverishly and making great sacrifice to save the heartbeat of those stricken with this virus. The fact that Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics are allowed to operate in direct defiance of the Governor’s directive is unconscionable.”

A letter to Gov. McMaster authored by Senator Richard Cash, R-Anderson, and signed by 17 Senators, states, “As a matter of fact, killing baby in the mother’s womb is an elective procedure, a ‘choice’, not a necessity, not an emergency. Abortion clinics are not complying with the request you made on March 17th; rather they are using up PPE [personal protective equipment] and exposing staff and patients to unnecessary risks by continuing to perform abortions,” 

Signers of the letter included Senate President Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield.

Representative John McCravy, R-Greenwood, the moderator of the House of Representatives Family Caucus, said the Family Caucus members “are to the person outraged” by the failure of abortion businesses to comply with the Governor’s directive. 

Joshua Putnam, President of Palmetto Family, launched a petition urging Governor McMaster and the State Department of Health and Environmental Contro (DHEC) “to enforce what they have medical facilities to do during this pandemic.”

Mark Baumgartner, executive director of the pro-life Christian sidewalk ministry, A Moment of Hope, noted that Planned Parenthood’s waiting room is often crowded with blatant disregard for social distancing and the Governor’s Executive Order to severely limit the number of customers and clients allowed per square foot. “Planned Parenthood’s moto is ‘Care, No Matter What.’ It should be changed to “Abortion, No Matter What.”

Sidewalk Counseling Group Hopeful that City Rescinds Stay Home Ordinance

Meanwhile Mr. Baumgartner, the executive director of the pro-life sidewalk counseling ministry A Moment of Hope said he hopes the City of Columbia will rescind its ordinance under which he was issued a criminal citation while praying outside of Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. 

Despite the fact that Mr. Baumgartner showed the arresting officers a copy of a letter from the Columba city attorney stating that religious activates are exempt from the city’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” ordinance, the officers ignored the letter and told him he would be arrested if he did not leave. He was issued a criminal citation with a penalty of $500 and 30 days in jail. But Thursday, Mr. Baumgartner said he received some good news. He said he now has received a letter from the S.C. Department of Commerce granting him status as an essential business and “can continue operating during this time of COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The Commerce e-mail further states, “Please note that businesses should comply with Centers for Disease Control and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidance or workplace safety and prevention of disease spread. This exemption approval is subject to continuance of and compliance with social distancing and other mitigation measure to protect employees and the public . . .Please note the Governor’s Executive Order directs that businesses permitted to continue operating must limit the number of customer inside an establishment at any given time. Specifically, a business may not exceed five (5) customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space or twenty percent of the occupancy limit as determined by the fire marshal, whichever is less. Businesses should also implement social distancing practices for customers, patrons and other guests and comply with applicable sanitation guidelines promulgated by the CDC, DHEC, or any other state or federal public health officials.”

It is unknown whether Planned Parenthood in Columbia and the two other abortion facilities (Greenville and Charleston) are being monitored for compliance with the heath and sanitation directives. The three facilities are licensed and inspected by DHEC. 

Mr. Baumgartner said in an interview with South Carolina Citizens for Life that he hopes to be back at the Planned Parenthood center this Saturday with the approval of his board and assuming that the City of Columbia rescinds Mayor Steve Benjamin’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” ordinance.  

Categories: Abortion