The Abortion Industry Versus a Woman's Right to Know | Opinion

The modern media landscape constantly bombards women with pitches for "mindful" health care that, almost without exception, prioritize education and awareness—except when it comes to the truth about abortion.

This is odd, considering advocates have long supplanted whispered euphemisms for abortion by shouting their affirmative support for the procedure. Modern activists long ago co-opted the once-sacred "my body, my choice" mantra to cover feminine resistance to socially unacceptable—but not necessarily unsafe—practices in cosmetics, hair care and clothing manufacturing.

This hyper-vigilance evaporates when the conversation turns to abortion, at the expense of vulnerable women. Feminist allies are happy to funnel their sisters into clinics that treat abortion like a cheap haircut if it means deflecting legitimate scrutiny away from the industry's many failures.

The Supreme Court acknowledged none of this with Monday's blockbuster June Medical Services v. Russo decision. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer led the Court in reaffirming troubling standards set in 2016's Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a similar Texas-originated case. This week's decision struck down as unconstitutional a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to maintain local hospital admitting privileges; in it, Breyer argued that, based on evidence supplied to the district court, the requirement offered no medical benefit and constituted an "undue burden" on a woman's right to have an abortion.

It was a question of access, then, and not medical accountability. Still, another blow followed the majority's opinion with Chief Justice John Roberts' concurring opinion. Rather than siding with the conservative justices, he chose to abide by the doctrine of stare decisis and allow the precedent set by Hellerstedt—in which Roberts dissented—to stand.

Legal experts on both sides of the aisle have spent the week in heated debate over Roberts' latest alliance with the Court's liberal wing, but pro-life advocates on both sides of the aisle should take to heart the lesson learned from this latest disappointment: relying on the Supreme Court to protect women and children from careless abortion providers is a terrible strategy.

I have no doubt that we're looking at an uphill battle. The pro-choice lobby has spent decades conditioning women to equate the right to an abortion with the right of an abortion business to operate on its own terms, often to horrific consequence.

Between 2010 and 2012, the Louisiana Department of Health cited June Medical Services' now-infamous petitioner multiple times after officials uncovered evidence of the business' flagrant disregard for patient care. The Department discovered, among other things, that Hope Medical Group staff failed to properly clean their instruments, never ensured that physicians examined patients before performing abortions and sent patients home without making sure they were medically stable.

This is the evil that Louisiana lawmakers tried and failed to prevent. There was no plot, no sexist scheme, no sinister intent behind the legislation—just an earnest plea for accountability.

"Fixing" pro-abortion America is impossible; a movement whose success depends on the elective murder of the unborn is irreparably broken. But what we can do is focus on the vulnerable women and children the industry preys upon and hold clinics accountable for their own abusive practices.

Across the country, many states have already enacted "informed consent" laws. These laws require providers to inform expectant mothers of the risks associated with abortion and to provide details about the unborn child.

U.S. Supreme Court building
U.S. Supreme Court building Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Earlier this year I introduced the Woman's Right to Know Act, a baseline effort to codify these informed consent provisions into federal law.

Once this legislation passes, providers will be required to explain at least 24 hours in advance of an abortion procedure the associated risks, as well as provide the probable gestational age and developmental features of the unborn child.

The pro-abortion movement decries these common-sense requirements as tools of oppression, full stop. Any regulation that stands between a woman and her abortion, they argue, is a pernicious effort to control access to a perfectly normal medical procedure.

But plenty of perfectly normal medical procedures require multiple layers of counsel and consent before physicians are allowed to perform them. The FDA requires that advertisements for even common medications include pages of disclosures. Are these requirements evidence of some sort of systemic or sexist violence?

The answer, of course, is that there is no violence apart from that being done to women in dirty, dangerous abortion clinics. Advocates are embracing the abstractions of politics to distract women from what it actually means to have an abortion.

Until we finally banish "the procedure" to history's gutter, we have a responsibility to protect the women who make the heartbreaking choice to step inside an abortion clinic. Through the Woman's Right to Know Act and other similar bills, we can step up and do what pro-abortion activists refuse to do: support, educate and hold abortion providers accountable for perpetuating a culture of abuse and death in the name of "women's health."

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, is the junior U.S. senator from Tennessee.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.