Abortion clinics are not the victims

Editor’s note. The following letter to the editor appeared in the Washington Post.

gosnellandclinic43The Post’s timing is perfect. An editorial says Virginia’s requirement that abortion clinics widen their corridors is “arbitrary” because “the width of doorways” has little to do with women’s health [“Virginia’s assault on abortion,” April 27]. Two days later, closing arguments were presented in the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, charged with third-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old patient Karnamaya Mongar.

Ms. Mongar received an overdose of anesthesia, but the grand jury indicting Mr. Gosnell for murder said she might still have been saved if not for the clinic’s narrow and cluttered hallway. Even after emergency medical personnel managed to open a locked emergency exit, says the grand jury’s report, they “had to waste precious more minutes trying to maneuver through the narrow cramped hallways that could not accommodate a stretcher.” Ms. Mongar was declared dead in the hospital.


The Post complains that the new Virginia regulations have “claimed their first victim.” The “victim” The Post grieves for is a Norfolk abortion clinic that closed because it couldn’t meet the new safety standards. Perhaps the paper could shed a tear for the dead babies and women who are abortionists’ real victims. Some of us think they have even more rights than buildings do.

Richard M. Doerflinger, Washington

The writer is associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.