Pro-life leaders call for closure of clinic

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz and others prayed the rosary outside the EMW Women’s Surgical Center Sept. 29, 2018, during a 40 Days for Life vigil. 40 Days for Life holds vigils in the fall and Lent each year outside the center on West Market Street.  (Record file photo by Jessica Able)

Pro-life leaders in the Archdiocese of Louisville have called on Gov. Andy Beshear to shut down the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in downtown Louisville amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ed Harpring, coordinator of pro-life ministries for the Archdiocese of Louisville, commended Beshear for his “timely action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” but questioned why the EMW clinic was still open when other elective surgery centers are closed.

Ed Harpring, coordinator of pro-life ministries for the Archdiocese of Louisville (Photo by Marnie McAllister)

“It goes without saying that the Catholic Church adamantly opposes abortion. Over and above this, abortion is an elective surgery and, yet, it continues on,” Harpring said in an interview April 13.

Last month, Gov. Beshear advised medical facilities to cease elective medical procedures to prioritize medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment, for dealing with the coronavirus and to minimize the spread of the virus.

Most people, he said, know of someone who has had an elective procedure postponed due to the pandemic. Mammograms, knee replacements and even chemotherapy were just a few examples he offered.

Harpring also contends that the clinic is not adhering to the Centers for Disease Control’s social distancing guidelines that individuals keep at least six feet of space between each other.

“Over the last few weeks between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. we see anywhere from 15-30 women entering the abortion facility. When you count their companions, that means approximately 50 people are gathering together in one small waiting room. This is happening five days a week,” Harpring said.

Kentuckians have been asked to do their part to minimize the spread of the virus, Harpring noted, by staying home if at all possible and adhering to social distancing when out in public. Restaurants, theaters, gyms, salons and even churches have closed, he said, to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Many businesses and medical facilities are self-closing, or significantly reducing patients as part of good citizenship and serving the common good. Yet the EMW is not slowing down, and their total lack of regard for the common good is putting the lives of Kentuckians and others at risk,” Harpring said.

The way the state and country have come together during this time is encouraging and life-giving, Harpring added.

“It is impressive that the whole country is putting the economy on hold, and it’s taking a big hit. But people are doing it for a good reason — to save lives. That is very pro-life. From that perspective, the measures of Gov. Beshear and the president and other world leaders is commendable,” he said.

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