Tag: Roe

Gosnell’s Mother’s Day Massacre

The news of the horrors committed by abortionist Kermit Gosnell is finally getting some visibility. Many pro-life advocates wrote about it when the Philadelphia Grand Jury issued a report on…

The news of the horrors committed by abortionist Kermit Gosnell is finally getting some visibility. Many pro-life advocates wrote about it when the Philadelphia Grand Jury issued a report on Gosnell and his clinics back in January 2011. I blogged about it here. My first take on the lack of coverage was that, on some level, everyone knows it’s horribly true and, hence, no one wants to hear it. Too disturbing.

Kermit Gosnell

Today’s column by James Taranto in The Wall Street Journal might be the best piece I’ve read on the topic even though Taranto supports abortion in some cases. He includes a story about Gosnell’s early abortion activities:

One of the strongest practical arguments in favor of the Roe regime is that abortion has been around since time immemorial and outlawing it only drove it underground, leading women to endanger themselves by seeking out the services of back-alley quacks. The Philadelphia grand jurors recounted a powerful example from their own city’s history.

It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre. A young Philadelphia doctor “offered to perform abortions on 15 poor women who were bused to his clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972, in their second trimester of pregnancy.” The women didn’t know that the doctor “planned to use an experimental device called a ‘super coil’ developed by a California man named Harvey Karman.”

A colleague of Karman’s Philadelphia collaborator described the contraption as “basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. . . . They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, . . . the gel would melt and these . . . things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus.”

Nine of the 15 Chicago women suffered serious complications. One of them needed a hysterectomy. The following year, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. It would be 37 more years before the Philadelphia doctor who carried out the Mother’s Day Massacre would go out of business. His name is Kermit Gosnell.

Back-alley abortions were indisputably a problem before 1973. That’s no defense of the Roe regime, which failed to solve it.

Mother’s Day. If that doesn’t suggest a sick and twisted mind, I don’t know what does.

The Grand Jury Report discusses the Mother’s Day Massacre on pages 96-97. Dave Andrusko wrote about it last month. The accounts surrounding Gosnell’s more recent abortion activities are bad enough; but when one stops to realize that Roe only enabled him to legally engage in butchery, one can’t help but wonder (again) just how abortion, legalized or not, helps women. Instead we are faced with another story of a man who clearly didn’t care about women and may have even hated them. (Mother’s Day!) Given the Grand Jury’s findings, he didn’t like minority women.

We come full circle. Why isn’t there more media coverage of the Gosnell case? Because on some level most people know it’s true. Regardless of their beliefs about abortion, people know it’s not a great thing for women and many would rather pretend the whole mess didn’t exist. Incidentally,  the creator of the super coil, Harvey Karman, is remembered for his “safe” abortion techniques, as if the women from the Mother’s Day Massacre didn’t count or simply never existed.


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‘Roe’ + 40

Today marks 40 years since the Supreme Court decisions Roe and Doe which allowed for abortion at any time during gestation for any reason. I’ll be on CNN “Newsroom”  just…

Today marks 40 years since the Supreme Court decisions Roe and Doe which allowed for abortion at any time during gestation for any reason.

I’ll be on CNN “Newsroom”  just after 9 a.m. ET to discuss some follow up ideas to my piece from last week. No, I don’t agree with Time magazine. I don’t think abortion advocates are losing. Witness the most recent elections and the annual report for Planned Parenthood. As long as there are more than a million abortions a year, more than 4,000 every day, I cannot say that pro-lifers are winning.

However, the pro-life movement in the US has done an exceptional job of keeping the fight alive. Nowhere else has abortion remained the issue that it is here. In fact, pro-life activists in other countries look to the U.S. for inspiration. Some of them will be here for our national March for Life on the 25th. The pro-life movement here is a global inspiration, particularly because of the heroic efforts of many unknown heroes.

So here are a few of my thoughts for moving forward in the next phase[s] of our work here in the U.S.

1. As we move forward, we need to rethink our political alliances. By this, I don’t mean that people should jump ship from a particular political party. I think we need to start being more strategic. We are an important demographic. But for too long, we have been considered a given and we’ve been told to keep quiet so as to gain political candidates who will support our policies. Well, the past two presidential elections have shown us how that doesn’t work. Instead of being a given, we need to make candidates work to show that they support our interests. This includes knowing how to speak about pro-life issues without looking like a Neanderthal.

2. After 40 years, it’s time to broaden our agenda to include more of the social justice issues. The dignity of the human person has to be the principle that guides all of our activities. If we truly believe this, then we can also be pro-life activists in any of our day to day activities. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to support every social justice government program. But if we’re pro-life, then we do care about how people are treated and we want them to be able to live good lives, with their basic needs met.

3. Communicate and develop more empathy. I don’t know of a single pro-lifer who is motivated because of mean spiritedness. But sometimes this is not well conveyed in our work. We don’t have to approve of specific lifestyle choices in order to love and serve those individuals. People on both sides of the abortion debate tend to see ideologies instead of people. By the very principles of our beliefs, we see the person, not the policy. We have to tell that story and allow it to be told. This is what happens every day in pregnancy help centers across the nation and around the world.

4. Speaking of communication, our movement is 40 and we need to enter a new phase, maybe become a little more sophisticated. Perhaps ironically, I think it’s the younger leaders who will be able to lead us in this direction. I hear it from young leaders on both sides of the abortion debate: things are different now. It’s not just the development of social media. There’s a whole different social environment in which people are living and making decisions, particularly those for whom abortion is an extremely relevant decision.

5. Build communities. Abortion is a symptom that communities have failed, whether we’re talking about the family or broader context. I sincerely believe that the first pro-abortion messages that people hear are not from Planned Parenthood and the like, but from those closest to them who communicate in one way or another that they have no time for them, that a particular person is a bother and a drain. You don’t have to join a pro-life group to be an activist. Just live the principle that every human life has dignity. People need to feel as if they belong and are loved for who they are, as they are. If we build and strengthen our communities, there won’t be a “need” for abortion because there will be a place for every human life regardless of how it came to be and its socio economic status. [If you want a quirky example of this, check out the TV series “Raising Hope.” Just be sure to start at the very beginning.]

The pro-life movement is holding its ground, probably even gaining in some areas. We’re a long way away from a culture in which abortion is unthinkable. But if we hold strong and smart, I think we could see some significant advances in the near future.

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Because everybody knows it’s true.

Every week has it’s own horror story. Two weeks ago, it was the Tucson shootings. This week, it’s the PA abortion clinic that was it’s own little shop of horrors….

Every week has it’s own horror story. Two weeks ago, it was the Tucson shootings. This week, it’s the PA abortion clinic that was it’s own little shop of horrors.

A friend raised the excellent point that the story is so awful that it really ought to be front page news instead of oh, let’s say,page A25 of the NYT.

So why isn’t it? Because it’s a story that everyone already knows and expects at some level. If it’s put on the front page, that betrays the “safe, legal, and rare” mantra. All of these abortions were legal. None of them were safe or rare. The conditions of abortion clinics have long been documented. In 1996, Mark Krutcher of Life Dynamics publishedLime 5, a book relating numerous abuses in the abortion business. Krutcher got his information from court documents and news articles, all documented cases.

The story with the PA abortion clinic gets even more appalling. The Grand Jury Investigation uncovered the fact that the National Abortion Federation sent an investigator to Gosnell’s clinic when he applied for membership. She found it “the worst abortion clinic” she’d ever seen. (Jill Stanek has more here.)

Now NAF is supposed to be all about making sure that women get “safe” abortions. (No word yet on making abortion rare.) Upon seeing Gosnell’s clinic, why didn’t the organization report it to public health authorities? After all, aren’t they interested in women’s health? In a recent letter, NAF explains that Gosnell applied for membership and was denied.

The doctor in question, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was NOT a NAF member. As the Grand Jury Report in this case notes, Gosnell applied for NAF membership in late 2009, but his application was rejected because his facility did not meet NAF’s standards for quality care.

But NAF apparently did nothing to report him or protect the women who would be seeking his services. If the abortion movement is really about safe abortions, then they should be outing clinics like Gosnell’s and not waiting for researchers like Krutcher or a Grand Jury report.

Interestingly, this AP story suggests that it was pro-lifers who forced at least one patient to go to Gosnell’s clinic. No mention of NAF’s failure to report the clinic…

Meanwhile, President Obama, who voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act while he was a state senator in Illinois, the state version of the federal act which helped to convict Gosnell of the murders of seven infants, released a statement on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade yeaterday:

Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.

I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.

And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

Let me just say that I find it particularly amusing that he invokes a conservative principle, namely that government should not intrude on private family matters, while his wife is campaigning to change the way that families eat and exercise. To a degree, I applaud her efforts; but it’s a bit of an overreach to claim this right of non-intrusion in some private matters but not in others. You can’t feed your child sugary cereal or let her play too many video games, but you or she can decide to get an abortion for her, even at your local shop of horrors. You have that right to be “protected” from government intrusion.

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