Who is Kermit Gosnell? Short answer: He’s a monster. Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D., ran the Women’s Medical Society in East Philadelphia for nearly four decades. He is on trial for, among other charges, murdering eight people, seven of whom were infants killed shortly after being born and one woman who died after having an abortion. Witnesses in the trial have claimed that he really killed many more (possibly as many as 100) infants by severing their spinal columns after their births. According to the grand jury report (WARNING: Contains graphic pictures), Gosnell “overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.”
…Gosnell spent almost four decades running [the Women's Medical Society], giving back – so it appeared – to the community in which he continued to live and work. But the truth was something very different, and evident to anyone who stepped inside. The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.
The anti-choice people want this story to get more attention than it already has in the mainstream media (as of about a week ago there’s been virtually none), but their versions of what happened isn’t exactly accurate. One such activist in particular, Jill Stanek (WARNING: Contains graphic pictures from the grand jury report), asks “Why would people who believe in legalized abortion want to shed negative light on bad things that happen during legalized abortions?” This is, of course, a very disingenuous question to ask because these were not “legalized abortions,” they were murder. And what went on in Gosnell’s “clinic” had nothing to do with health and everything to do with profits. If anything, it’s less an indictment against legal Abortion and more an indictment against Capitalism.
Republican-controlled legislatures have been working very hard to make it as hard as possible for a woman to exercise her right to have an abortion because they think this will eliminate abortions in their states. But they’re wrong. They will not succeed in stopping all abortions from happening in their states, only safe abortions. Those of us who are pro-choice must make people understand that if these states go through with these laws (most of which ought to get struck down as direct violations of Roe v. Wade), it will lead to more clinics like Gosnell’s. Women who can afford it will travel to another state where they can get an abortion. Poor women will have to risk either mutilating themselves or dying in a clinic like the Women’s Medical Society. And that can hardly be called a “pro-life stance.”
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about Kermit Gosnell, Abortion, Capitalism, or anything else you choose.