The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of Americans to make incredibly difficult sacrifices in order to protect the vulnerable and avoid overwhelming our hospitals. In Seattle, a woman with cervical cancer has had her surgery postponed indefinitely. In Denver, a man who’s waited more than a year to have a massive hernia repaired faces a similar delay. Here in North Carolina, hundreds of surgeries and other “nonessential” medical procedures have been postponed, causing anxious patients to call in to try to find out if they are still on the list.

And yet, some procedures are clearly more equal than others in the eyes of pro-abortion advocates. As hospitals have canceled or postponed countless procedures designed to extend and save lives, Democrats raised no objection. But when anyone suggests canceling a procedure to end the life of a defenseless human being, the outcry is deafening. Unlike procedures designed to preserve health and save lives, abortion doesn’t treat any disease – it is purposefully designed to terminate the life of another, often physically or psychologically wounding the mother in the process.

The abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood and their Democratic allies, insist that abortion is “essential” and must continue at all costs. In at least one state, it is the only “service” that businesses are still offering on the premises while the pandemic is ongoing. In other states where governors have made it clear abortion is not exempt, the abortion lobby is going to court to demand a special exception to the rules everyone else is expected to follow.

This is yet another example of how radical the pro-abortion movement has become. Not so long ago, advocates of abortion still described it as a woman’s choice. Now they say it is “essential” medical care. It can’t be both. Indeed, how can it be essential when more than 85 percent of practicing ob/gyns do not perform elective abortions?

The same double standards are apparent in the targeting of pro-life sidewalk counselors by law enforcement.  Earlier this month, several people working for a federally recognized charity were arrested outside a Charlotte abortion center. Even while observing social distancing and hygiene rules, they were trying to intervene to help women in need and urge them not to end the life of their child when police arrived and ordered them to leave. Meanwhile the abortion facility’s waiting room was filled, but that didn’t matter – only the pro-life counselors were arrested. When asked why they couldn’t shut down the abortion center for violating the governor’s stay at home order, unbelievably, one of the officers said, “I don’t have the authority.”

Abortion businesses that continue to operate are putting everyone at risk – women, employees, emergency responders who are left picking up the pieces when women suffer injuries and complications from abortions, and the general public. Worse yet, Planned Parenthood even solicited donations for desperately needed personal protective equipment that ought to be reserved for doctors and nurses on the front lines. Gowns, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and more should help protect nurses from the Coronavirus, not aid in abortion procedures. 

This has to stop. If the abortion industry would voluntarily put health and safety before profits, we would all be better off – but they have proven unwilling. That’s why we stand with medical associations representing over 30,000 physicians who are calling for elective abortions to be suspended during this crisis, and why local leaders must stop turning a blind eye to the dire consequences of continuing abortion procedures during this pandemic. 

North Carolinians value life and we love our neighbors. It’s a hardship to be forced to stay indoors and refrain from going to work, school, church, or the doctor for medical treatment. Our leaders are trying to balance public health and liberty.  But, Democrat politicians should stop hypocritically pandering to the abortion industry and increasing the risk to the health and well-being of the unborn, mothers in need, and society at large.

Ted Budd is a Member of Congress representing North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.  This was co-written by Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.