Growing up, I loved reading the story of Esther — especially during the season of Purim, when the Jewish people celebrate a young woman and her boldness to protect her people from death and grave harm.
Today, the story has become more meaningful than ever before. As I reflected on the recent events at the U.S. Supreme Court, I realized that there is a similar situation unfolding in our culture. There is another group of people in danger: Texas women.
Pro-life and pro-abortion advocates strongly disagree on the psychological and physical health consequences of Roe v. Wade. Yet something I believe that both sides can, and should, agree on is the protection of women specifically addressed in Texas' HB 2 law which is currently being challenged at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Like the law that Esther and Mordechai issued which allowed the Jews to defend themselves in their own provinces, HB 2 defends the health and safety of women in the state of Texas by ensuring abortion clinics have basic health care and safety standards.
The law simply requires abortion clinics to uphold Ambulatory Surgical Center standards, ensuring women served by the clinic can quickly be transported to an ER when necessary, and for abortionists to have doctor admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic.
During the time of Purim, horrific plans that would bring harm and death to the people of Israel were brought to light and exposed. Thankfully, they were exposed before the innocent lost their lives.
The dramatic climax of the story comes in one key question, asked of the Jewish girl in Esther 4:14. "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Neither can we keep silent.
The case of abortionist Kermit Gosnell exposed the horrors of unregulated and unsupervised abortion clinics. Sadly, though, for a beautiful woman named Karnamya Mongar, it was too late.
The precious 41-year-old woman was a refugee from Nepal and went into Gosnell's clinic for an abortion. She was coerced into signing papers she could not read. She was doped up with dangerous sedatives by unlicensed workers. And then, Karnamya stopped breathing. Dr. Gosnell was finally called to the clinic. He could not use the defibrillator because it was broken.
Paramedics were eventually called, but it took them 20 minutes to get her out of the building because the uninspected padlocked doors could not be opened. Karnamya was carried out on a stretcher, instead of a gurney, because the hallways were too narrow. The hospital did the best that they could to keep her heart beating, but they did not know what they were treating — as the information received from Gosnell's clinic was false. The next day, Karnamya Mongar died.
Karnamya is just one of many women who experienced the horrors of Kermit Gosnell's clinic. For some women, it meant infertility for the rest of their lives; for others, it meant disease from the unsterilized clinic; and many women experienced psychological distress from the clinic workers and Gosnell.
The award-winning documentary 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy tells the stories of these women and what they experienced in Gosnell's clinic — horrors mentioned numerous times in the recent Supreme Court oral arguments on March 2.
The documentary is also the focus of the recent Texas Values Supreme Court amicus brief for the HB 2 case and includes portions of the Gosnell Grand Jury Report, which specifically recommends states uphold the standards included in the HB 2 law.
Kermit Gosnell is now serving a life sentence in prison for the death of innocent women and children, among other federal crimes. His clinic is what motivated another brave woman, Texas State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, and the Texas legislature to pass HB 2 — so that the death and destruction that happened in Gosnell's clinic would never happen to Texas women.
Like the people of Israel in Esther's day, Texas women deserve to be protected. It is time that the Texas women are served according to basic health care standards. It is time for abortion clinics, which perform surgeries, to be held to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.
It is time for abortionists to have the qualifications for hospital admitting privileges, like other surgeons. It is time that deaths like Karnamya Mongar's be forever stopped.
May it be said we stood for Texas women, for a time such as this.