AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas abortion facility owner who is at the center of a current U.S. Supreme Court case surrounding the constitutionality of two abortion regulations says that she believes Jesus would hold the hands of women as they are obtaining an abortion.
Amy Hagstrom Miller is the owner of Whole Woman’s Health, a chain of abortion facilities in the state. Whole Woman’s Health is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Texas officials, challenging two news laws passed in 2013 that require abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital and to ensure their facility meets surgical center standards.
As previously reported, oral argument over the matter was heard last week by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a decision is expected in June.
On the day of the hearing, Hagstrom Miller spoke with Valerie Tarico of the site AlterNet to discuss the case and her thoughts about abortion in general. During the interview, Hagstrom Miller asserted that Jesus would hold the hands of the women obtaining an abortion.
“Would you say that this work has a spiritual dimension for you?” Tarico asked.
“Absolutely. I was raised in a liberal Christian tradition, and I come to the work because of that background, not in spite of it,” Hagstrom Miller replied. “The Jesus that I was taught about would be holding the hands of women inside the clinic; he wouldn’t be screaming at them.”
“Acting on Christian principles is holding the hands of people at difficult times in their lives, and being supportive and nonjudgmental and kind. That is very much what we bring to the work,” she said. “I don’t know how to say it more clearly than that.”
Hagstrom Miller spoke against the regulations that are placed on abortion facilities, including the requirement that mothers obtain an ultrasound prior to ending their child’s life.
“They’ve all seen an ultrasound before and yet we force them to watch another as if they don’t know what’s growing inside of them. They know, and they are committed…,” she explained.
During Wednesday’s hearing before a divided U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Samuel Alito suggested that the various safety regulations and standards are necessary because of existing violations that have already been found at Hagstrom Miller’s Whole Woman’s Health.
“Whole Woman’s facilities have been cited for really appalling violations when they were inspected: holes in the floor where rats could come in, the lack of any equipment to adequately sterilize instruments,” he said.
Texas Alliance for Life also obtained documentation from the Texas Department of State Health Services, which show that four of Hagstrom Miller’s five abortion facilities were cited in the past three years. The facilities were marked for violations including unsterilized equipment and “numerous rusty spots” on suction devices, possessing “the likelihood to cause infection.”
Whole Woman’s Health’s website outlines that the women that come to their facility “come from all walks of life – from young college students to teenagers to professional women; from religious folks and spiritual people to women struggling to figure out what they believe.”
“Abortion is a normal part of women’s reproductive lives,” it asserts.