Saturday, January 22, 2011

Neglect by Design

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is the now-infamous Philadelphia abortionist who was finally arraigned this week on charges of murder after a decades-long career of death and mayhem. Gosnell subjected his victims ― mothers and babies ― to humiliation, filth, disease, and extreme pain.

Abortion advocates insist that this story is "not about abortion." They say Gosnell is an outlier whose evil deeds highlight the need for easy access to taxpayer-funded abortions. Some dare suggest that this case shows that "the system is working," and if there are any problems with the regulatory system, it's probably because "rabid fetus people" (pro-lifers) have distracted regulators from the real problems.

These apologists apparently have ignored or dismissed the facts of this case.

District Attorney R. Seth Williams (D) contends than Gosnell's incredibly brazen disregard for the law and for the value of human life was made possible by the generous support of state regulators:
State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design.
[emphasis in the original]

Seth Williams provides this scathing vignette highlighting of the culture of abortion corruption in Pennsylvania government, particularly at the Department of Health (DOH):
State health officials knew that Gosnell and his clinic were offering unacceptable medical care to women and girls, yet DOH failed to take any action to stop the atrocities documented by this Grand Jury. These officials were far more protective of themselves when they testified before the Grand Jury. Even DOH lawyers, including the chief counsel, brought private attorneys with them – presumably at government expense.
Gosnell's abortion mill was rarely inspected after it opened in 1979, and inspections stopped in 1993. This lack of governmental oversight persisted in the face of highly credible complaints of death, serious injuries and sexually transmitted disease:
According to DOH witnesses, sometime after 1993, DOH instituted a policy of inspecting abortion clinics only when there was a complaint. In fact, as this Grand Jury’s investigation makes clear, the department did not even do that...

In January 2002, an attorney representing Semika Shaw, a 22-year-old woman who had died following an abortion at Gosnell’s clinic, wrote to Staloski [a high-ranking DOH official] requesting copies of inspection reports for any on-site inspections of the clinic conducted by DOH. Staloski wrote to the attorney that no inspections had been conducted since 1993 because DOH had received no complaints about the clinic in that time.
But DOH had received, and continued to receive, numerous complaints from physicians and attorneys:
  • In 1996, an attorney reported that his client had suffered a perforated uterus, requiring a radical hysterectomy, as a result of Gosnell’s negligence.
  • Between 1996 and 1997, Dr. Donald Schwarz, the former head of adolescent services at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, now Philadelphia’s health commissioner, noticed that patients were acquiring STDs at Gosnell's clinic. Dr. Schwarz hand-delivered a formal letter of complaint to the office of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health. He never heard back from DOH, and no inspection resulted.
  • In 2007 Dr. Frederick Hellman, the Medical Examiner for Delaware County, reported to DOH an illegal abortion of a 30-week-old baby girl at Gosnell's clinic.
  • Janice Staloski, director of the DOH unit that is responsible for abortion clinic oversight, received two inquiries from attorneys’ offices about Gosnell’s clinic in the first two months of 2002. One was from the Shaw family’s attorney. The other was from a paralegal for yet a third attorney who phoned Staloski in February 2002, asking for information concerning the clinic.
The Grand Jury Report documents a callous political calculation that traded public safety for easier access to dangerous abortion clinics:
[DOH Senior Counsel Kenneth Brody] described a meeting of high-level government officials in 1999 at which a decision was made not to accept a recommendation to reinstitute regular inspections of abortion clinics. The reasoning, as Brody recalled, was: “there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [the standards for getting patients out by stretcher or wheelchair in an emergency], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion.”
Is there any reason to assume that criminal abortion activities à la Kermit Gosnell are confined to one practice, one city or one state? Will the spotlight that was used to expose corruption in the Catholic Church be used to shine a light on this scandal? Don't hold your breath (Exhibit A: Pharyngula vs. Pharyngula).


MORE

Ace notes that Jounolistas are neglecting this story by design: "Abortion Should Be Safe, Legal, and Rarely Mentioned In a Negative Headline."

Pundette: Baby A got his picture taken, Baby C had a playmate, and Baby X got to go for a swim.

Michelle Malkin: Deadly indifference to human life isn’t tangential to the abortion industry’s existence – it’s at the core of it.

Quote of the day: "After playing with the baby, Williams slit its neck."

Via Malkin, The Anchoress comments on the relentless machinations of the left-wing media:
Its funny how framing works. A massacre perpetrated by a deranged man is not about the deranged man; it’s about “rhetoric.” But a massacre perpetrated by an abortion provider whose violations against laws of the nation and of humanity were overlooked for years is “not about abortion.” It’s about criminal behavior, and that’s all. But some of our most prominent politicians have voted against the very bill — the “born alive” bill — that defines such behavior as criminal. Meaning, I guess, that if only enough politicians had voted with Sen. Barack Obama, Gosnell’s behavior would not be “criminal” at all, and therefore we wouldn’t even be talking about it?


6 comments:

Barbara O'Brien said...

Yes, dear, we get it that state officials ignored multiple complaints about the clinic, and it was in operation far too long. This is something the state of Pennsylvania should look into.

But there were complaints. If abortion is criminalized, there will be thousands of underground horror factories like this, all over the country, and women who go there are unlikely to complain to authorities if they are not being run according to state standards.

Further, the physician and his staff were charged with several serious felonies because what they were accused of doing ALREADY IS ILLEGAL. So what are you going to do? Pass laws that make what he did MORE ILLEGAL THAN IT ALREADY IS? That's going to help?

And if you think criminalizing all abortions will stop abortion, you are living in a dream world. Many nations that make abortion illegal and vigorously prosecute it have much higher rates of abortion than the U.S. This is true of much of Latin America, for example. Check it out.

By the same token, some nations with liberal abortion laws have the lowest rates of abortion on the planet, much lower than the U.S. The Netherlands comes to mind. So, if you want to reduce the rate of abortion as much as possible, let's stop squabbling over criminalization and find out what actually works to reduce rates of abortion. All criminalizing abortion does is drive abortion underground.

The interesting question, to me, is why women sought out this clinic to begin with. And you don't offer an explanation. It seems reasonable to speculate that one reason might be that poor women went there because it was a lot cheaper than the medically safe clinics. And Pennsylvania doesn't allow state funds to pay for abortions for poor women except when the mother's life is in danger.

Do you have a better explanation? Not that I've seen.

We also don't know why these women were seeking out late abortions, when earlier term abortion is legal. This is something that needs to be looked at closely and understood. If they were medically necessary, why couldn't the women get safer abortions elsewhere? If they were elective, why did these women wait so long? I don't know the answer to these question, but obviously, you don't either.

Believe it or not, even many of us who are pro-choice are opposed to elective post-viability abortions and want to prevent them. But, obviously, just making late-term abortion illegal isn't the whole answer, because it already is illegal in Pennsylvania and nearly every other state.

I see that you're just brimming over with outrage about this, but so am I. Screaming about it and playing your "I'm more righteous than you" games isn't stopping these kinds of horrors from occurring. Instead of accusing everyone else on the planet of being less concerned about these issues than you are, why don't you calm down and consider practical solutions? Thanks much.

Donald Douglas said...

Ha, RightKlik!

You've got the ultimate hater, Barbara O'Brien in the house!

She loves her some abortion houses of horror!

Nothing Barbara says can detract from these facts, via Michelle:

"Deadly indifference to protecting life isn’t tangential to the abortion industry’s existence – it’s at the core of it. The Philadelphia Horror is no anomaly. It’s the logical, blood-curdling consequence of an evil, eugenics-rooted enterprise wrapped in feminist clothing."

Screw you Barbara, you demon.

RightKlik said...

@Barbara

Issues relating to abortion aren't discussed often enough. That's probably because the stakes are so high, the issue is so complicated, and there's more grey area than either side would care to admit.

I don't blame either side for heated rhetoric and hyperbole in the abortion discussion. It's inevitable.

But the ad hominem and personal attacks unnecessarily push people away from the discussion. I suppose the attacks are part of a defense mechanism that protects people from arguments that might persuade them change their minds.

It's unfortunate that the intensity of the vitriol prevents open discussion of the issue of abortion. We need to shine a bright light on the abortion industry to flush out all the Gosnells of the world.

...the physician and his staff were charged with several serious felonies because what they were accused of doing ALREADY IS ILLEGAL. So what are you going to do? Pass laws that make what he did MORE ILLEGAL THAN IT ALREADY IS? That's going to help?

The law wasn't enforced. Obviously the decades-long laissez faire approach to the abortion industry hurt women and their families in Pennsylvania. Fortunately, it looks like the DA in Philly is very serious about finding out why the law has been ignored in his state. I look forward to discussing and analyzing his findings.

By the same token, some nations with liberal abortion laws have the lowest rates of abortion on the planet, much lower than the U.S. The Netherlands comes to mind.

This is an apples to oranges comparison. The demographics of the Netherlands are hardly comparable to those of the U.S. or Latin America.

The interesting question, to me, is why women sought out this clinic to begin with. And you don't offer an explanation. It seems reasonable to speculate that one reason might be that poor women went there because it was a lot cheaper than the medically safe clinics.

It's actually very simple. Women and girls went to Gosnell's clinic for illegal services. He was willing to perform late term abortions. He was willing to deliver and kill full term babies. He was explicitly in the business of providing forced abortions.

Gosnell's services were quite expensive.

6 weeks - 12 weeks $330
13 weeks - 14 weeks $440
15 weeks - 16 weeks $540
17 weeks - 18 weeks $750
19 weeks - 20 weeks $950
21 weeks - 22 weeks $1,180
23 weeks - 24 weeks $1,625

Employees said that what he charged was often more. They said he charged as much as $3,000 for a single late-term abortion. The great aunt of another patient testified that she paid $2,500.

The grand jury report shows that Gosnell was anything but a bargain.

If they were medically necessary, why couldn't the women get safer abortions elsewhere? If they were elective, why did these women wait so long?

First of all, many of these "women" were actually girls. Secondly, Gosnell performed forced abortions. It should require no stretch of the imagination to understand why abortions would be delayed under such circumstances.

I can assure you, from personal and professional experience, that women and girls who need to terminate a pregnancy on a non-elective basis have no reason to go underground. That service will be provided swiftly, and if the patient is uninsured, it will be provided free of charge.

Barbara O'Brien said...

"It's unfortunate that the intensity of the vitriol prevents open discussion of the issue of abortion."

Yes, and you started it with your hysterical distortions of what I wrote. Did you ever consider applying your own rules to yourself?

I'm always happy to have a calm and fact-based discussion about how to reduce overall abortion rates and stop underground late-term abortions, which shouldn't be happening at all. But it's clear to me you are not capable of having that discussion.

So here's the deal: Since you can't discuss this in good faith, just stay off my website, and henceforth I'll stay off yours.

RightKlik said...

@Barbara

Those who can't take the heat inevitably get out of the kitchen. But you're welcome back anytime.

MK said...

"They say Gosnell is an outlier whose evil deeds highlight the need for easy access to taxpayer-funded abortions. Some dare suggest that this case shows that "the system is working," and if there are any problems with the regulatory system, it's probably because "rabid fetus people" (pro-lifers) have distracted regulators from the real problems."

That's what you call moral bankruptcy. Absolutely disgusting and if anyone's noticed, it also shows that what the abortion crowd want is abortion anytime, anywhere, on demand and after that it'll be infanticide.