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How Pro-Lifers ‘Created’ Dr. Gosnell
   Friday, February 11, 2011   at   12:00 AM

Blaming others for one’s own faults is a human condition that goes back to the book of Genesis. It’s so prevalent that when someone accepts responsibility for his or her actions, it’s refreshing. But left-wing commentator Katha Pollitt of The Nation struck in new low in passing the buck when, in a recent op-ed, she hinted that the pro-life movement is responsible for the horrific conditions found in Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion clinic. We’re not making this up.

Gosnell is the doctor who catered to immigrants and low-income minority women to perform abortions at virtually any stage of pregnancy. Except, as it turned out, he didn’t perform abortions in many cases; he is charged with seven counts of first-degree murder for cases in which the babies in question were born alive and then killed outside the womb. Apparently there would have been more charges of this type had recordkeeping in the facility been remotely adequate. Two other patients of Gosnell’s, the grown-up female type, have died under his care due to shoddy practices at the clinic.

The grand jury investigating Gosnell, while not excusing him and his untrained staff for the conditions they found at the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia, also places some of the blame for what happened on state medical officials. The grand jury report included this chilling conclusion: “Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. . .Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.”

Joseph Bottum of The Weekly Standard notes that the abortion industry in this country has been able to flourish in part due to the effectiveness of Planned Parenthood and other lobbying organizations, which have effectively portrayed routine government supervision as infringing upon the rights of women to obtain “reproductive medical care.” Gosnell, in fact, likely wouldn’t have been found out if his medical malpractice was limited to abortion. He first came to the attention of district attorney R. Seth Williams for writing a prodigious number of prescriptions for the painkiller Oxycontin. Only then did a grand jury investigation begin that ultimately found disposable medical supplies routinely re-used, an emergency exit that was padlocked shut, and fetal remains stored indiscriminately throughout the building.

It’s understandable that the abortion lobby is distancing itself from Gosnell, claiming that the vast majority of abortion providers adhere to some sort of medical standards (even though their relative lack of oversight compared to other medical disciplines made something like this inevitable). But Pollitt’s piece in The Nation went farther. She quoted Carol Tracy of the Women’s Law Project saying, “The problem here was that Pennsylvania has always focused on eliminating abortion, not on abortion as healthcare (sic). Since abortion isn’t seen as medical care, they didn’t have the appropriate locus for oversight.”

Pollitt concludes, “What fueled Gosnell’s business were the very restrictions the legislature was so keen on passing – parental notification, waiting periods, biased counseling and, most important, a ban on state funding for abortion for low-income women.” In other words, pro-life Pennsylvania residents and elected officials – the ones dedicated to preventing babies from dying in abortion clinics in the first place and, at the very least, assured that residents weren’t complicit in subsidizing the clinics – created an environment that allowed a horror show like this to sprout up in a major American city in the first place. You can’t argue with logic like that, can you?

No, Ms. Pollitt, Dr. Gosnell is to blame for what happened in his clinic. He will face accountability for that soon enough. State regulators who hadn’t set foot in the clinic for years, will be held accountable, at least if the new governor of Pennsylvania is true to his word. But the abortion lobby, who routinely protect Dr. Gosnell and other ghoulish entrepreneurs like him – all the while claiming to be looking out for women while making abortion “safe, legal and rare” – has blood on its hands too.

You can’t treat abortion like health care, because it isn’t. It’s nothing less and nothing other than a means of eliminating human lives that happen to be inconvenient. It may not be fair or entirely accurate for Dr. Gosnell to be the face of your movement, but that’s what’s happened. Deal with it.

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