Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ok, Righties, Let's Talk About Kermit Gosnell

Lately I've noticed Pro-Life groups up and down the conservative social and broadcast media lamenting on the lack of mainstream coverage about this guy Kermit Gosnell.  Of course, if you live in Philadelphia (like me), you've probably noticed no such lack as it has been covered to death in our local media ever since his crimes came to life (see here), and will likely be covered to death once he goes to trial.  But the pro-lifers (and their tin-foil hat colleagues) have already begun their cries of "liberal media cover-up" and believe that the story has been purposely burried.  My question to these folks is this.  Are you really sure you want to have this conversation?  Yes?  Ok, then lets have it.

File:Kermit Gosnell mug.jpgDr. Kermit Gosnell ran a Women's Health clinic here in Philadelphia.  In 2010 police raided his clinic after the reported death of a patient in 2009 following an abortion.  During this raid they found frozen fetuses and fetus parts dating back some 30 years.  In 2011 he, his wife, and 8 others were arrested and charged with 8 counts of murder in the death of the patient and 7 babies whom prosecuters allege were born alive in illegal late term abortions, then killed by having their spines cut with a pair of scissors.  According to District Attorney Seth Williams...

Gosnell "induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord."
Now one thing both the pro-life and pro-choice movements can agree on is that this guy was a monster, and not even the most ardent abortion supporters could call what he did anything other than gruesome.  However, the pro-life movement would have you believe that abortions such as the ones Dr. Gosnell performed are the norm in any abortion clinic in America.  Of course we know this is simply not true, but in ignoring this fact the pro-lifers miss a very important point regarding "doctors" like Gosnell, not to mention how they are responsible for their existence.

Since sweeping into power in 2010, Republican governors and legislators have gone on an anti-abortion tear in states all across the country.  They have introduced sweeping, extremist legislation ultimately designed to close down Women's health facilities that perform abortions.  During his campaign Mitt Romney himself promised to close down Planned Parenthood if he were elected president.  Of course the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement is to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but failing that, they want to make getting an abortion as difficult as possible, if not impossible.  Pro-lifers hold Gosnell up as a shining example of the horrors of abortion, and wonder why more media attention hasn't been paid to this issue.  They imply that abortions like the type that Gosnell performed are performed everywhere, whether its Planned Parenthood or private offices.  The inconvenient truth is that reality doesn't really fit their extremist narrative.

Dr. Gosnell's clientele consisted mainly of low-income African American women who have little access to health care, and little money to pay for it.  They went to Gosnell because they had no place else to go.  Dr. Gosnell was the classic proverbial "back alley abortion" provider.  Unqualified workers, unsanitary tools, unsafe conditions.  These women put themselves at risk to acquire something that is their constitutionally guaranteed right, and at least one paid the ultimate price along with 7 children who were literally born alive then killed by having their spines cut.  Gun rights advocates like to argue that banning assault weapons and background checks won't stop gun violence.  This is true.  What is just as true is banning abortions, or making them more difficult to get, won't stop abortions.  What it will do is open the door for more monsters like Kermit Gosnell, and create a whole generation of young desperate women willing to put themselves at risk.  Kermit Gosnell is not an example of what does happen because abortion is accessable, but of what will happen when you make it inaccessable.

So, pro-lifers.  Do you want to go there with this?  Do you really want to have this conversation?  Let's have it, then.

Let's talk about Kermit Gosnell.