It is refreshing indeed to finally see some media coverage of Kermit Gosnell. Most major media outlets have been silent on the case despite its gruesome nature. I love Kirsten Powers on this point,
Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams intoned, “A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh,” as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn’t make the cut.
You don’t have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It’s about basic human rights.
The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.
But now that the media is covering it, let’s debate the real point. Kermit Gosnell was made possible by an egregious lack of oversight by public officials due to politics. According to Jonathan Capehart writing on a Washington Post blog,
Gosnell was approved to provide abortion services after an on-site inspection in 1979. There were other site reviews in 1989, 1992 and 1993. Violations were noted at each of those visits. Nothing was done to ensure they were corrected. Complaints about Gosnell from injured women, a doctor and even a medical examiner went unheeded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Department of State and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
The raid that ended Gosnell’s bloody work was for “illegal prescription drug activity.” That was the day side of his business. But, according to the grand jury report, that raid also immediately revealed the illegal nighttime abortion practice long ignored by city and state officials.
The abortion industry clearly cannot regulate itself. Abortion is a medical procedure which is justified in the name of “women’s health.” Regardless of your stance on abortion, regular inspection of facilities providing abortions and the people performing them should be a no-brainer.*
Inspections of abortion clinics are considered a threat to women seeking abortion. But the real goal of the pro-abortion rights side is to provide for the health and well-being of women, not to have those women get an abortion. When abortion rights becomes an excuse to neglect the well-being of women, we have a serious problem. Regular inspections, comprehensive counseling, and even waiting periods may keep some women from going through with an abortion, but may help those women make a decision that is actually better for their overall health and flourishing.
I hope we learn from Gosnell and start to get a little more consistent on what we think of as “women’s health.”
*It seems some women did try and report the atrocious conditions of Gosnell’s clinic but were prohibited from following through due to language and educational barriers. The socio-economic and racial dimensions of the Gosnell case are beyond my scope here, but merit their own discussion.