COVID-19 patients, discrimination, abortion

Matt C. Abbott
March 24, 2020
© Matt C. Abbott
Reproduced with Permission

The following is a March 23 news release (edited) from Tom Ciesielka, spokesman for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society :

Current anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic has been multiplied by the suggestion of 'health care rationing' based on the age or disability of infected patients.

Attorneys representing the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society have published a legal memorandum detailing the tenets of federal law and explaining that federal civil rights statutes prohibit discrimination – including discriminatory policies established by state health officials – based on age or disability.

Charles LiMandri, partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP, in his capacity as special counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society, was the lead attorney on the memorandum that confirms the prohibitions of discriminatory health care decisions under federal civil rights laws.

'The present pandemic may be used to try to justify the 'hard decision' to issue policies rationing care on the basis of disability or age,' wrote LiMandri. 'Doing so, however, would violate federal law regarding invidious discrimination. It will open up the purveyors of those policies to legal liability.'

Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen explained:

'We're reading the unthinkable – The Seattle Times reported that Washington state and hospital officials have been meeting to consider how to decide who lives and dies. In our nation's capital, The Washington Post [ published an opinion piece] about the 'nightmare' of rationing health care, as [ did ] National Review in the hard-hit state of New York.

'The horrific idea of withholding care from someone because they are elderly or disabled is untenable and represents a giant step in the devaluation of each and every human life in America.'

Princeton University's Dr. Robert P. George, along with Harvard University sociologist Dr. Jacqueline Cooke-Rivers, and bioethicist Dr. Charles C. Camosy of Fordham University, made the request of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society, both of whom LiMandri serves as litigation counsel.

The joint legal analysis concluded that withholding care based on age or disability would indeed be contrary to federal law, which requires that, 'Decisions regarding the critical care of patients during the current crisis must not discriminate on the basis of disability or age. Decisions must be made solely on clinical factors as to which patients have the greatest need and the best prospect of a good medical outcome. Therefore, disability and age should not be used as categorical exclusions in making these critical decisions.'

LiMandri observed: 'All those involved in making critical decisions concerning who gets such life-saving care, including the use of a limited supply of respirators, would be wise to heed this advice.'

Read the memorandum here .

The following is a March 23 news release (lightly edited) from Leslie Palma, director of communications for Priests for Life :

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, and Janet Morana, executive director, issued the following statements today regarding abortion and COVID-19.

'Americans find ourselves in many unique situations as we continue to deal with a rapidly spreading virus,' Pavone said. 'As various government entities call for the postponement of 'non-essential' medical procedures, so as to free up more supplies, space and personnel to help those affected by the virus, we see a sad but predictable reaction from the abortion industry: They consider all abortion medically necessary, because they redefine the meaning of medicine, and regard abortion as a fundamental right.

'Many are asking – some for the first time – whether abortion is in fact an essential health service. The answer, of course, is that it is not and never has been. In fact, abortion doesn't even qualify as medicine; there is not disease it cures and no medical benefit it brings.

'Yet abortion providers in some of the places hardest hit by the virus are continuing to perform abortions, even when ordered not to do, as in Ohio. This is not about health care, or caring for women. This is about arrogance and greed.

'Abortionists are risking exposure for themselves, their staffs and their patients to this virus, and using medical equipment that could otherwise be used to deal with the virus. This is outrageous, but then again, if you can commit the biggest outrage of all – killing babies – nothing else should surprise us.'

Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, said the abortion lobby is working on several fronts to ensure that child killing remains legal during the viral outbreak:

'People are calling for abortionists to be allowed to prescribe the abortion pill via telemedicine, which can be deadly for women who might be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. Others are calling for doctors who do not perform abortions to consider doing so now. More abortion is not the solution to the threat now facing our nation.'

Priests for Life and its team, while observing all the guidance from government officials and medical experts to curb this pandemic, continues to fight abortion through the educational material we are sending out to the pro-life movement, the broadcasting we do each day, reaching millions of people per week, the ongoing communication with priests and deacons, and the ongoing outreach to those who are suffering the wounds of abortion.

'The abortion industry isn't stopping its deadly work; we're not stopping our life-saving work either,' concluded Pavone.