A news brief on Jill Stanek’s website yesterday featured an article from the California-based Merced Sun-Star. A medical facility called “Women’s Health Specialists” was moving into the community. According to the agreement between building owner Ethan Conrad and the business staff, less than five per cent of the clinic’s activity is abortion-related. However, this did not pacify pro-life residents, who still protest nearby. A particularly sore point for the activists was that “the facility will operate next to a government Women, Infants and Children clinic, which provides nutrition to poor women and their children.” In other words, the so-called medical office is next door to real assistance. 

This type of story happens more often than we might realize, but the part of the story that left me flabbergasted was this statement from the building’s owner, Ethan Conrad, who rented space to “Women’s Health Specialists.” He “placed tight restrictions” on the number of abortions “Women’s Health Specialists” could perform because he “didn’t want them to turn into an abortion clinic.” Conrad says he is “surprised that anyone is concerned.” Does he take us for fools? We wouldn’t be satisfied if five abortions took place around the world in the next year. Reducing the number of abortions is a goal both pro-life and pro-choice camps say they agree on (even though in our eyes that number should ultimately be zero).

In a twisted way, Conrad’s logic seems to add up. Imagine a general walk-in clinic. Even though a certain percentage of their services might involve feet, the sign outside still can’t read “Foot Care.” Yet he seems at least unaware that abortion is different from other procedures. Nobody who enters the nutrition centre will be dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled, or otherwise damaged. The owners of the nutrition centre have no reason to hide what takes place there. On the other hand, facilities connected to abortion will always face backlash for their role in a horrific human rights violation.

Taylor Hyatt is a summer student at The Interim.