Abortion Industry’s attempt to distance itself from Gosnell a dismal failure

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. While my family and I are on vacation, we are running some of our favorite NRL News Today stories from the last four months, entries from our “Roe at 40″ series, and an occasional update.

Kermit Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell

You can summarize the Abortion Industry’s he’s-not-one-of-ours response to Kermit Gosnell in three bullet points.

1. Abortion is safe, safe, safe.

2. And because abortion is safe, safe, safe [and “heavily regulated”], any attempt to ensure that there are regulations—or to put teeth into existing ones—is indefensible.

3. We knew nothing

In a nutshell this sums up all the protestations the Abortion Elite has made: don’t try to hang Gosnell around our necks. He’s a product of pro-lifers trying to regulate abortion clinics out of business.

Since Gosnell operated primarily in Pennsylvania (that’s where his abortion clinic was located but he performed abortions in Delaware), let’s look at that three-fold explanation. We’ll use as an example a piece written by two PPFA operatives–Dayle Steinberg and Eric Ferrero–for The Daily Beast (“Planned Parenthood on the Real Lessons of the Kermit Gosnell Case.”)

Whenever you read this—“ The truth is that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in America”—you know you will never hear a peep about abortion increasing the risk of subsequent premature deliveries or about a study of Danish women which found that over the span of ten years, death rates for women who aborted their first child were higher than they were for women who gave birth to that child. This was true whether measured by year or cumulatively, whether early abortions or “later” abortions (defined as after 12 weeks).

But let’s return to Pennsylvania specifically. Look on the first page of the Health Department report where you find this: “In 2011, there were 109 reports of complications from abortions which were submitted by physicians, representing 78.7 percent more than the 61 reported in 2010.” Apologists for the abortion industry demand that whatever the figures may be, they must be taken at face value. But that’s absurd. Why would anyone think the abortion industry would go out of its way to scrupulously report complications?

2. So abortion is not safe, safe, safe. It’s not safer than childbirth and there are physical complications both short term and–this always gets overlooked—long-term. (And this is not to touch on all the studies that show the emotional and psychological aftermath of abortion.) Steinberg and Ferrero go on to write abortion is “also one of the most heavily regulated” [medical procedures]. What world are they talking about? Not Pennsylvania, where (prior to the uproar caused by Gosnell) what limited regulations existed were ignored because of pro-abortion governors Ridge and Rendell. Now inspections are not announced ahead of time—which you would think would be the absolutely bare minimum—and abortion facilities are required to abide by the safety standards of outpatient surgery centers.

And look across the battles that take place in state legislatures. The abortion lobby wants its members to self-regulate. Anything else is unacceptable.

3. The “we knew nothing” defense. Steinberg and Ferrero write with a flourish, “It bears repeating (if only because opponents continue trying to make a connection) that Planned Parenthood has never been affiliated with Gosnell and was not aware of the atrocities happening in his facility until he was arrested.” First, that does not exonerate the National Abortion Federation which inspected Gosnell’s clinic, found it “beyond redemption” but told no health authorities. None.

Moreover, writing for National Review, Shannen Coffin noted

Although the grand-jury report notes that NAF did deny his Philadelphia facilities’ application for membership, it records that he was also practicing part-time from a Delaware clinic that was a member of the National Abortion Federation. Gosnell worked one day a week at the now-defunct Atlantic Women’s Medical Services in Wilmington, Del., which was an NAF member. Many of the witnesses for the prosecution were employees of that NAF-member facility. The grand-jury report found that he routinely referred women who were too far along in their pregnancy to get an abortion under Delaware law to his West Philadelphia clinic, and the patients paid the NAF-member Delaware facility for the abortion services at the Philadelphia clinic. At least one of the abortions at issue in the indictment was started (given the need to induce labor, late-term abortions often take place over several days) at the Delaware NAF-certified facility and the unborn child was finished off at the Philadelphia clinic. So while Gosnell himself may not have been an NAF member, he certainly was affiliated with the organization. One of the recommendations of the grand-jury report (on page 259) was that NAF reconsider its association with the Delaware facility, and they suspended the Delaware facility in 2011.”

But what about Planned Parenthood? Last month NRL News Today cited some intriguing revelations in a story that had appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News. Reporter Morgan Zalot wrote about Gloria Steinem who had “addressing a crowd of 500 spanning four generations at Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania’s annual Spring Gathering.”


In Zalot’s story we read this incredible admission from (guess who?) Dayle Steinberg, who is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

“Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there.

“’We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,’ Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.”


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