Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kermit Gosnell may change national conversation on abortion

The trial of Kermit Gosnell may represent a turning point in the American discussion of abortion. The story is not merely the heinous crimes committed by Gosnell and his staff; the other half of the story is the left’s almost total lack of outrage. As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal wrote in his excellent summary of the case, the mainstream media almost totally ignored the entire case and trial until an outpouring of interest on the internet all but forced coverage of the trial onto television and into newspapers.

Bill Clinton made famous the line that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Under modern Democrats, the attempt to make abortion rare, if there ever was a real attempt, has fallen by the wayside. Obamacare’s contraception mandate also forces insurance companies to include coverage for abortifacient drugs and President Obama’s budget increased federal funding for mega-provider of abortion Planned Parenthood. While Gosnell was on trial, President Obama became the first president to speak to Planned Parenthood, telling the group “as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a President who's going to be right there with you fighting every step of the way” and “God bless you” according to Politico.

As the grisly details of Kermit Gosnell’s practice come to light, it is becoming apparent that the left is far more concerned with keeping abortion legal than in keeping it safe. (Clinton apparently meant safe for the mother; abortion is almost always fatal for the baby.) A major point that pro-abortion activists frequently make is that legal abortion is needed to avoid keep women from being maimed in “back alley” abortions. It is apparent now that these back alley abortions continue in the offices of people like Kermit Gosnell.

Among the dead from Gosnell’s Philadelphia office was a 41-year-old woman who had come to Gosnell for an abortion. According to the grand jury report, Karnamya Mongar, a Nepalese immigrant, was given repeated doses of Demerol while waiting for Gosnell to perform her abortion. After several hours of waiting in a drug-induced sleep, Mongar stopped breathing. It is not certain how long Mongar lay there dying before the clinic’s employees noticed. It is known that when she was discovered Gosnell half-heartedly performed CPR, but did not administer drugs that could have restarted her heart. The clinic had a defibrillator, but it was broken. Ms. Mongar was probably brain dead before paramedics were even called. The report states that before paramedics arrived, the clinic staff hooked up equipment and rearranged the body to make it appear as if Ms. Mongar died in the midst of a procedure. Any chance of reviving her was lost as paramedics were unable to get her out of the building for 20 minutes due to cluttered hallways and padlocked emergency door.

Gosnell came close to killing other women as well. The report details several other instances in which Gosnell’s medical incompetence and negligence resulted in serious illness and near fatal complications for his patients. Many clinic employees were not trained or licensed. One employee who commonly dosed out medications was an untrained high school student. Gosnell inadvertently implicated himself by recording hundreds of late term abortions as 24. 5 weeks, when the Pennsylvania law limited abortions to earlier than 24 weeks.

Gosnell’s record of abusing women goes back 40 years ago to 1972. On Mother’s Day, Gosnell offered to perform abortions on 15 poor women from Chicago who were bused to his clinic. Gosnell did not tell the women that they would be guinea pigs for a new abortion device, a ball of gel-coated plastic razors to be inserted in their uteruses. Their body heat was supposed to melt the gel, loosening the razors and cutting up the unborn babies. In reality, the device, called the “super coil,” caused serious complications for nine of the 15 women. One required a hysterectomy. The incident became known as the Mother’s Day Massacre.

There were many more recent reports of problems at Gosnell’s clinic. It is apparent that he flouted numerous laws and nearly killed an unknown number of women due to poor sanitary methods and negligence, yet Pennsylvania’s medical regulators did not investigate. There were a multitude of complaints including a doctor who noticed that many of his patients who went to Gosnell contracted the same venereal disease. The medical examiner of Delaware County informed the Pennsylvania Department of Health that Gosnell had illegally performed an abortion on a 14-year-old mother with an unborn baby at 30 weeks. In one case, Gosnell refused to halt an abortion for a woman who changed her mind. Then, on November 18, 2009, Karnamaya Mongar died of a drug overdose in Gosnell’s office.

The report notes that none of this triggered state inspections of the clinic. In fact, in 1993 Pennsylvania had completely stopped inspecting abortion clinics for political reasons under the administration of pro-abortion Republican Tom Ridge.

Even pro-choice Americans should be concerned about the abysmal conditions that Gosnell’s patients endured. There were many reports of infections and life threatening complications before Gosnell and his staff actually killed Ms. Mongar. It is readily apparent that Gosnell did not operate a “safe” abortion clinic and was actually a threat to the health and wellbeing of women. Any doubts to this effect should be dispelled after reading testimony about how Gosnell drugged patients who were upset or slapped them.

Gosnell was part of a black market for abortionists who will circumvent the meager restrictions on abortions that the courts permit states to enact. Gosnell was aided and abetted not only by his clinic staff, but by numerous referrers, many of whom must have known that Gosnell was performing abortions at much later stages than the law allowed. It seems that the patient’s ability to pay was Gosnell’s only concern. In the end, the raid on Gosnell’s clinic was not due to his many violations of the law, Mongar’s death, or complaints by other women or doctors. The 2010 raid was based on suspected illegal drug trafficking.

In many respects, Gosnell’s clinic was not unique. The undercover filmmakers at Live Action have made a several short films showing abortion clinic workers helping patients to break laws limiting abortions. The practice of circumventing abortion restrictions appears to be widespread enough to warrant further investigation.

There is also evidence that other abortion clinics are substandard when it comes to keeping clean and sanitary facilities. A clinic in Ohio was ordered closed last month after failing a state health inspection. A second Ohio clinic in Toledo may be closed as well. A Planned Parenthood clinic in Delaware is charged with using unsterile instruments and rushing patients through procedures on bloody tables. Police investigating a break-in at a Muskegon, Mich. clinic found similar unsanitary conditions. A Lexington, Ky. abortionist’s medical license was suspended amid charges of fraud and unsanitary conditions. A Wilmington, Del. Clinic was closed in March 2013 after four women were rushed to the hospital with complications within a month. In Atlantic City, N.J. an abortion clinic was closed in for a series of health code violations.

USA Today reported that abortion clinics in Delaware are not required to undergo routine inspections. Maryland does not inspect for cleanliness and New Jersey only inspects surgery centers. In Virginia, the cleanliness and safety of abortion clinics has become a political issue after the state’s clinics were issued 80 violations according to Breitbart. Inspections of clinics vary from state to state with several states apparently choosing not to inspect at all even though the potential for infection and disease is high.

The Gosnell case explodes several myths about abortion in America. Abortion is not the safe, sterile procedure that advocates make it out to be. Many clinics are apparently unsanitary even by basic standards. Many abortion clinic workers seem eager to help clients break the law and often avoid fulfilling even basic obligations for counseling.

Statistics show that other promises of abortion proponents have also been unfulfilled as well. Abortion proponents claimed that abortion would reduce out of wedlock births and child abuse. In reality, a Bowling Green State University study from 2005 showed that women who have had abortions are 144 percent more likely to abuse their children. A study by Edward Lenoski of the University of Southern California found that 91 percent of abusive parents had wanted their children.

The trend toward unwed motherhood has been accelerated since Roe v. Wade. A report released in March 2013 by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and the RELATE Institute indicated that almost half of U.S. births are now out of wedlock. The average age when a woman first gives birth is now 25.7. The average age when a woman gets married has increased to 26.5.

Originally published on

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