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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. Scott Olson/Getty Images

FORT WAYNE, Indiana, April 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Over seventy Indiana health professionals, doctors, and nurses sent a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb earlier this month asking him to halt surgical and chemical abortions during the COVID-19 crisis. 

On March 30th, Holcomb issued an executive order for the State of Indiana calling on health providers, including abortion clinics, to “cancel or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical and invasive procedures” in order to conserve personal protective equipment for those fighting COVID -19. 

Holcomb’s order, however, directed the physician who is treating the patient to make the determination on the urgency of the procedure. 

In the case of abortion, however, the abortion doctor is the person determining whether or not the procedure is essential. 

“It is our medical opinion that there is no such thing as an ‘urgent abortion,’” the healthcare professionals state in the letter. 

The letter from 76 health professionals to Holcomb (full text below) comes after abortion facilities in Indiana quickly made it known that they would not be closing their doors and would continue to perform abortions, putting patients at risk for contracting this virus while hoarding much needed medical resources. Planned Parenthood has even used social media to ask people to donate items like protective masks to their clinics. 

Planned Parenthood said in a plea on social media, “please consider donating hand sanitizer, home sewn masks, shoe covers, and surgical hats to protect our medical staff as they continue to provide care in our communities.” 

The health care professionals who penned the letter maintain that the decision could not be left responsibly up to an abortion doctor who stands to gain financially from the procedure. Further, abortionists have an extremely limited relationship with the patient seeking an abortion, often leaving other health care professionals to stand in the gap during follow-up and care needed due to complications. 

Abortion is creating more work for the already stretched thin medical community all focused on fighting to save lives from COVID-19. 

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The letter and list of signatories: 

Dear Governor Holcomb: 

Thank you for your leadership as the severity of our state’s health emergency due to the Coronavirus grows larger by the hour. We are hopeful the emergency orders you have enacted will help Indiana’s healthcare systems to rise to the challenges presented by medical supply shortages, expanding needs for COVID-19 testing and efforts to prevent further spreading of the virus across our state. The success of these directives depends largely on the cooperation of Hoosiers to adhere to them and we are committed to use our influence to encourage compliance. 

We are grateful you included abortion businesses in your list of the health care providers you directed to cancel or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical or invasive procedures. Unfortunately, the determination of an elective and non- urgent procedure is made by the patient’s treating physician or health care provider. In the case of abortions, the treating physician or health care provider is the abortionist, who not only stands to profit financially from continuing these non- essential procedures, but also, in nearly every case, does not have a prior relationship with that patient and will not have an ongoing relationship with her. 

Predictably, after the Executive Order you signed on Monday, March 30, the abortion industry came out in force letting everyone know that every abortion in Indiana is urgent and non-elective. Chris Charbonneau, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky said, “Medical experts recognize that abortion is an essential, time-sensitive medical procedure.” Attached to this letter are several examples of their communications. We are certain your intent was not to open the doors of abortion businesses across Indiana to continue business as usual. As health care professionals licensed to practice in Indiana, we join over 30,000 physicians across the country who practice according to the Hippocratic Oath – the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (APPLOG), the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, the Catholic Medical Association, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons and the American College of Pediatricians – in asking you to require the abortion industry in Indiana to comply with your very wise directive to suspend abortions. 

It is our medical opinion that there is no such thing as an “urgent abortion” because any treatment for a pregnancy complication would include best efforts to save the unborn child as detailed in IC 16-34-2-0.5(attached). Nonetheless, the definition of emergency abortions is already in Indiana Code and should be used as the standard during this time of overwhelming uncertainty. The code cites are IC 16-34-2-1.2, IC16-34-2-1 and IC 16-34-2-0.5 and the text is attached. As with any other elective procedure that can become an emergency, procedures that are truly urgent should be done in a hospital equipped to deal with all aspects of a complication and support best efforts to save the unborn child. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released “Adult Elective Surgery and Procedures Recommendations” to “limit non-essential adult elective surgery and medical and surgical procedures…[to] assist in the management of vital healthcare resources during this public health emergency.” The recommendations include a tiered framework to “inform health systems as they consider resources and how to best provide surgical services and procedures to those whose condition requires emergent or urgent attention to save a life, preserve organ function, and avoid further harms from underlying condition or disease” (emphasis added). Also, the new national guidelines for surgical care from the American College of Surgeons state that, in the current coronavirus pandemic setting, surgery should be “restricted to those patients likely to have survivorship compromised if surgery is not performed.” Using this as guidance, since the vast majority of surgical abortions are outpatient surgical procedures, they would be considered elective procedures that are certainly not necessary to “save a life, preserve organ function, and avoid further harm.” 

Medication abortions should also be halted during this time. One of the largest studies we have available on medication vs. surgical abortions shows that medication abortions have a four-fold increased complication rate. Twenty percent of women will experience adverse events, including a 15% hemorrhage rate, which is significant considering the blood shortage this country is currently facing. In addition, approximately 6% of women will require surgical completions of their abortions, which will further use up precious PPE. Because abortion providers do not manage their own complications, women that are experiencing these will be instructed to present to our already overburdened ER’s, not only placing further stress on the healthcare system, but also unnecessarily increasing their risk for exposure to COVID-19. 

In addition to the points addressed above, we ask you to note the appeal from Planned Parenthood for donations of PPE (attached). This is beyond outrageous when front line medical providers are having to reuse equipment and make do with what they have. Regardless of the position of Hoosiers on the abortion issue, people across the state are outraged at this blatant grab for supplies as abortion providers exploit this crisis for their own benefit. 

Thank you for considering our concerns. We continue to pray for wisdom, health and courage as you lead Hoosiers through the troubled days ahead. 

Sincerely, 

Christina Francis, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne Chairman of the Board American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs 

Robin Atkins, LMHC Fort Wayne 

Rep. Brad Barrett, MD General Surgeon Richmond 

Shea Borton, BSN, RN FNP-S Indianapolis 

Andrew Mullally, MD NFPMC Fort Wayne Catholic Medical Guild State Director and National Board Member 

Rep. Ron Bacon Respiratory Therapist Chandler 

Rick Becker, MA, MS, RN Mishawaka 

James Berndt, MD Breman 

Jonathan Alley, DO Family Medicine Angola 

Dr. Brian Barber Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine ABFM, Family Medicine Indianapolis 

William J. Blanke, MD Family Practice Evansville 

Lorri Bowser, RN Fort Wayne, IN 

Teresa Bower, RN Fort Wayne 

Don Cherry RN Indianapolis 

Jean Crane, LMHC Avon 

Amy Collins, MD Emergency Medicine Carmel 

Lourdes Eco, MD Internal Medicine Indianapolis 

Eustace Fernandes, MD Pulmonology Fort Wayne 

Jody Freyre, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne 

David Hart, MD Thoracic and Cardiothoracic surgeon Columbus 

Cassandralee Herber,RN, FNP-C Fort Wayne 

Brent Jacobus, DO Family Medicine Crownpoint 

Daniel Kratch, MD Ophthalmology Fort Wayne 

James Lindemulder, DO OB/GYN Goshen 

Julie Bryan, MD Internal Medicine Fort Wayne 

Brenda Cantwell, RN Indianapolis 

Donna Cherry RN Indianapolis 

Michelle Davenport, RN Auburn 

Lisa Davis, RN Angola 

David Donaldson, MD Anesthesia Fort Wayne 

Francis Esguerra, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne 

Rita Fiorentino, RN Plainfield 

Deb Goeglein, RN Fort Wayne 

Andrea Hoover, MD OB-GYN Kokomo 

George Kane, MD Family Medicine Resident Indianapolis 

Emily Krach, MD Family Medicine Fort Wayne 

Stephen Lugo, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne 

Kevin Cantwell, MD Anesthesiologist Indianapolis 

Geoff Cly, MD OB-GYN Rochester 

Aaron Dewees, MD Neonatology Evansville 

Tonya M Duguid, DO Family Medicine Warsaw 

Kerry Ettensohn, MD Anesthesia Indianapolis 

Edward Fitzgerald, MD Thoracic Surgeon Carmel 

Diane Griffin, RN South Bend 

Jeff Henney, MD Family Medicine Indianapolis (currently serving in SE Asia) 

Joseph Kosnik, MD Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine Fort Wayne 

Sandra Krizmanich, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne 

Angela Martin, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne 

Mary McCarran, RDMS Fort Wayne 

Anna Miller, RN Fort Wayne 

Natasha Morris, MD Hospital Medicine Carmel 

Bryan Perkins, MD OB-GYN Indianapolis 

Michelle Schoenfeld LPN Fort Wayne 

Christopher Stroud, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne 

Kathryn Sutton, LCSW Evansville 

Sylvia Swain Nurse Practitioner Goshen 

John Wagner, MD OB-GYN Indianapolis 

Kevin Kaufhold, MD Family Medicine Granger Tammi McCoy, PA Fort Wayne 

Leslie Moore, MD Anesthesia Indianapolis 

Brittney Owen Nurse Practitioner Crownpoint 

Linda Ray, RN Danville 

Kim Shaffer, RN Elkhart 

Christy Campbell-Smalley DO OB-GYN Indianapolis 

Dawn Sturdivant, RN Home Health Hospice Wolcottville 

Steven Tanner, MD OB-GYN Fort Wayne 

Elizabeth Wehlage, MD OB-GYN Indianapolis 

Thomas McGovern, MD Dermatologist Fort Wayne 

David Moran, MD Family Physician Fort Wane 

Megan Parrish, MD Family Medicine Granger 

Lynne Scherschel, LMFT Marriage and Family Therapist Crown Point/Schererville 

Adam Spaetti, MD Internal Medicine Bloomington 

Marianne Stroud Certified Nurse Midwife Fort Wayne 

Cathy Wagner, MD Pediatrics Indianapolis 

Rep. Dennis Zent DDS MsD Endodontist Angola 

Holly Smith MD Family Medicine Zionsville President – St. Raphael Catholic Medical Guild of Indianapolis 

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