Why a Gruesome Pennsylvania Abortion Clinic Had Not Been Inspected for 17 Years

By Marian Wang at ProPublica:

While this week’s indictment involving a grisly abortion mill in Philadelphia has shocked many, the grand jury’s nearly 300-page report also contains a surprising and little-noted revelation: In the mid-1990s, the administration of Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, a pro-choice Republican, ended regular inspections of abortion clinics—a policy that continued until just last year.

According to the grand jury report [PDF] released this week by Philadelphia prosecutors, Pennsylvania health officials deliberately chose not to enforce laws to ensure that abortion clinics provide the same level of care as other medical service providers.

The District Attorney’s office this week charged an abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, with murder and infanticide. Nine other workers at the abortion clinic, the Women’s Medical Society, also face charges. According to the prosecutors, Gosnell and his associates not only broke state law by performing abortions after 24 weeks—they also killed live babies by stabbing them with scissors and cutting their spinal cords. Law enforcement officials found blood-stained furniture, unsterilized instruments and fetal remains scattered about the clinic. At least one woman, a refugee from Nepal, had died under Gosnell’s care after being given repeated injections of a dangerous sedative. Prosecutors said Gosnell made millions from treating and sometimes maiming his patients, who were mostly low-income, minority women.

But perhaps most frightening of all? The atrocities were discovered by accident, as the Philadelphia Inquirer points out. Warnings—from patients and their attorneys, a doctor at a Philadelphia hospital, women’s health groups, pro-choice groups, and even an employee of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health—failed to prompt state and local authorities to investigate or take action against the clinic.

The grand jury report said that one look at the place would have detected the problems, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health hadn’t inspected the place since 1993. Here’s the grand jury report, in surprisingly strong language:

The Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.

“Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety,” the report states. “Without regular inspections, providers like Gosnell continue to operate; unlawful and dangerous third-trimester abortions go undetected; and many women, especially poor women, suffer.”

According to the report, the policy change occurred after 1993 when attorneys under the administration of then-governor Tom Ridge “interpreted the same regulations that had permitted annual inspections for years to no longer authorize those inspections.” Thereafter, only inspections triggered by complaints were authorized. The report noted that Department of Public Health officials reinstituted regular inspections of abortion clinics in February 2010. Ed Rendell, the Pennsylvania Democrat whose second term as governor ended last week, released a statement saying he was “flabbergasted” when he learned of the department’s lax scrutiny of abortion clinics and immediately ordered increased inspections, the Associated Press reported.

Still, the earlier policy had its defenders. According to the grand jury report, when the Department of Health’s chief lawyer was asked about it, she responded, “People die.”

Given that between 30,000 to 40,000 abortions are performed each year Pennsylvania, it’s unclear how many women have been put at risk in the almost two decades that regulators suspended regular inspections of abortion clinics in Pennsylvania. The grand jury report does note that many organizations perform safe abortion procedures and have high standards of care, but that’s “no thanks to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.”

The state’s Department of Health did not comment on the matter but said it would forward our request on to the governor’s press office. We’ve also left a message with Tom Ridge’s spokeswoman. We’ll update if they respond.

[Reprinted from ProPublica with permission under Creative Commons license. Thanks to Jordan for the suggestion.]

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  • demull829s

    “kill those babies.” huh? those are just fetuses. I’ll admit that the place fucked up by having unsafe precedures for its patients. But inducing labor, for late term abortions is not murder. Viable or not, those “babies” do not have personhood under the constituion. Calling those things “babies” is a threat to keeping abortion legal and therefore is endangering women’s lives.

    • David Frost

      Legally, it depends on the states laws on how late they are allowed to perform abortions. From a constitutional standpoint I haven’t heard anything yet that clearly defines at which age a person has a basic right to live in this country’s founding documents. From an idealogical point of view, both sides are doing what they think is best. From the pro-life side, my side, they want women to have rights and things like that, we just consider a fetus a developing person that deserves a chance at life. The pro-choice side doesn’t think of a fetus as a person and because of such they believe it is a womens rights issue. The debate gets very heated because there are some strong emotions involved. But I know my side isn’t “out to get” pregnant women, and I’m sure pro-choicers feel that they are doing what they think is right.

      • Butter Knife

        Being pro-choice, I’ve yet to anyone who is genuinely in favor of abortions at all. Reality needs to be addressed, and many of us simply feel that total prohibition of abortions is not, at present, a viable option for doing so.

        There are some non-trivial concerns I would need to see addressed before I could actually come out in full opposition to legal, regulated, medically sound on-demand abortions, and none of them really seem to have working solutions in sight.

        • David Frost

          I technically don’t agree with an absolute ban on all abortions. As a general rule rule I’m pro life. But I do see times when it may cause death to give birth or the baby is a still birth, that is when it is a necessary procedure. But in other causes I don’t see why adoption isn’t an more viable alternative to abortion.

          • Katefen

            If adoption was a viable alternative option for all ‘unwanted’ children then we would have no need of children’s homes. There are enough kids growig up without parents, without the level of care they deserve, why add to that number if you can avoid it? Kids in care are repeatedly shown to have a greater risk of social and emotional problems http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/long-term-effects-children-different-parental-backgrounds.

            I, personally am pro-choice, there are those out there (and I’ve met a few) who lead sexually risky lifestyles with the idea that if they happen to get pregnant/get someone pregnant they can just have an abortion. That I think is cold, abortion is not a means of contraception, but there are many reasons for it being viable and, in my view acceptable. For example, I took no risks with my youngest son – I was on the pill, took a course of anti-biotics, knowing this would reduce the efficacy of my pill, I also used other means, which broke and so I went for the morning after pill as soon as I could and I still got pregnant. It took me a lot of soul searching to decide that abortion wasn’t for me and that I would have him but I refuse to believe, given the precautions that I had taken, that if I’d opted for a termination it would have been in any way wrong.

          • dkfjpp

            I totally agree, if given the option between a childrens home or abortion. Give me an abortion. Peope with social and emotional problems would much prefer, not to exist.

          • David Frost

            I’m dirt broke all the time and am a military vet from a bad past before that (enough said), I don’t prefer non-existence, I prefer to make the most of things.

          • http://twitter.com/fathorseharry Harry Cunningham

            While I understand what you’re saying, it’s not possible to “not prefer non-existence” as in the case of non-existence you wouldn’t be around to have a preference. i.e. not existing would make no difference to you!

          • David Frost

            I still think it is far more ethical to give them a chance at life than to make that choice for them.

          • David Frost

            Well you have two issues there. One is that adoption actually isn’t an easy process and two is that children’s homes usually aren’t very good. Why not work on those two issues instead?

            I absolutely agree with the idea that abortion isn’t a good contraceptive for sexual risk-taking, and that is the major thought that comes to me when I think about issues like this, because I have known people like that too, and I can’t dismiss that as an ethically right thing to do. I think the best thing that we should do as a society is address certain issues like how can we work to make sure women in that situation can still take excellent care of themselves and the child as well. You have a long list of issues there that I think need to be brought up but we live in a society that trades the well being of everyone for the love of dead presidents printed on green pieces of paper instead.

          • Butter Knife

            Rape and incest happen.

            Social stigma happens.

            And at the end of the day, the medical procedures undergone by women are between themselves, their doctors, and God (I’m not a Christian, or even a traditional theist, it’s just a turn of phrase). I would prefer that these medical procedures not result in any more deaths than absolutely necessary, and it is far more practical to accomplish this end if we address the reality we have rather than pretend we have the reality we want.

            Even though in that reality I drive a Ferrari made of gold.

      • foedfj

        I reccommed an age of about 16 to give humans the constituional right to life.

    • Lisa

      There is no such thing as ‘late term abortion’. Inducing labor is called BIRTH. Get a clue please and learn what words mean. If you induce labor, and a living baby comes out (which is what happened in this case…multiple times) that is called giving birth. If you then kill the baby, that is considered murder. Viable babies DO have personhood under the constitution….which is why killing them is illegal. It would not be illegal nor would it be an actual issue if they weren’t considered babies or people by a legal definition.

      Just because it’s of your opinion that these babies weren’t babies doesn’t mean anything. All it means is that it’s a good thing you aren’t in charge of making laws in this country.

      A fetus is no longer a fetus if it comes out alive and has to be stabbed in the back with scissors and have it’s spinal cord severed. Then it is called a baby. How you don’t understand that is beyond me.

      • demull829s

        Lisa, you’re misunderstanding my point, is that at this period in history we basically have a abstract line drawn of babies versus fetues. The fact is when life begins is uncertain, and when you are uncertain the best action is to take the prudent one, the prudent action being: not to abort (unless the womens life is in danger). If you’re pro-choice, you’re simply stating it’s ok to kill based on an arbitrary line.

    • Famouswarrior

      You must be one sad sick fuck if you think that a premature baby is not a Human being.
      Abortion + Convenience = Murder

    • Sarah

      You are completely uninformed. I feel sorry for you. Look at pictures of a wanted child born at 24 weeks: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/30780 Those “fetuses” you call them, they are people and we as adults have the responsibility to protect those rights, not kill them before they have a chance at life. Truly sad you are so deceived.

  • demull829s

    “kill those babies.” huh? those are just fetuses. I’ll admit that the place fucked up by having unsafe precedures for its patients. But inducing labor, for late term abortions is not murder. Viable or not, those “babies” do not have personhood under the constituion. Calling those things “babies” is a threat to keeping abortion legal and therefore is endangering women’s lives.

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  • David Frost

    Legally, it depends on the states laws on how late they are allowed to perform abortions. From a constitutional standpoint I haven’t heard anything yet that clearly defines at which age a person has a basic right to live in this country’s founding documents. From an idealogical point of view, both sides are doing what they think is best. From the pro-life side, my side, they want women to have rights and things like that, we just consider a fetus a developing person that deserves a chance at life. The pro-choice side doesn’t think of a fetus as a person and because of such they believe it is a womens rights issue. The debate gets very heated because there are some strong emotions involved. But I know my side isn’t “out to get” pregnant women, and I’m sure pro-choicers feel that they are doing what they think is right.

  • Butter Knife

    Being pro-choice, I’ve yet to anyone who is genuinely in favor of abortions at all. Reality needs to be addressed, and many of us simply feel that total prohibition of abortions is not, at present, a viable option for doing so.

    There are some non-trivial concerns I would need to see addressed before I could actually come out in full opposition to legal, regulated, medically sound on-demand abortions, and none of them really seem to have working solutions in sight.

  • WhiteRose

    It’s really up to the patient to demand a level of care and if they don’t get it run. The reason this chop shop was allowed to go on was because nobody complained or if they did nobody listened.

    • Jordan

      It should never be up to the patient to demand a level of care. This is why we are supposed to have health care “standards,” and this clearly, did not meet any sort of standard. Your point may be somewhat true if they weren’t treating primarily “low-income, minority women,” in which case I’m sure they don’t always know the ins and outs of things like who to call when things appear to be a little unsanitary or “inhumane,” especially when they are in dire need of care. I’m definitely pro-choice, however, it almost seems these babies were being killed like it was a sport. Stabbing live babies with scissors or cutting their spinal cords? C’mon… wtf.

  • WhiteRose

    It’s really up to the patient to demand a level of care and if they don’t get it run. The reason this chop shop was allowed to go on was because nobody complained or if they did nobody listened.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C5SV3Y6GG7GRK3NBX64IXAXDGM Jessica Hurst

    It’s insane not to regularly inspect a medical facility of any kind. I’m deeply ashamed that the pro-choice movement has to be marred by the people who dropped the ball on this one, and even more upset that women’s complaints about the level of care were completely ignored.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C5SV3Y6GG7GRK3NBX64IXAXDGM Jessica Hurst

    It’s insane not to regularly inspect a medical facility of any kind. I’m deeply ashamed that the pro-choice movement has to be marred by the people who dropped the ball on this one, and even more upset that women’s complaints about the level of care were completely ignored.

  • David Frost

    I technically don’t agree with an absolute ban on all abortions. As a general rule rule I’m pro life. But I do see times when it may cause death to give birth or the baby is a still birth, that is when it is a necessary procedure. But in other causes I don’t see why adoption isn’t an more viable alternative to abortion.

  • Jordan

    It should never be up to the patient to demand a level of care. This is why we are supposed to have health care “standards,” and this clearly, did not meet any sort of standard. Your point may be somewhat true if they weren’t treating primarily “low-income, minority women,” in which case I’m sure they don’t always know the ins and outs of things like who to call when things appear to be a little unsanitary or “inhumane,” especially when they are in dire need of care. I’m definitely pro-choice, however, it almost seems these babies were being killed like it was a sport. Stabbing live babies with scissors or cutting their spinal cords? C’mon… wtf.

  • that1guy

    This is long, sorry.

    In case anyone wants to criticize my sources, which I welcome, my info comes almost entirely from the guttmacher institute, either as my first source, or as quoted by the CDC and Wikipedia.

    Ok. So clearly this instance is horrible and disgusting.
    That said, the horror of this man’s 30 year practice confirms my pro-choice stance rather than shaking it.
    In 37 U.S. states, limits are placed on abortions after a certain period of gestation, judged by viability in some cases, judged by time in others. 24 weeks is the Pennsylvania standard. There are also current national bans on certain abortion practices, specifically “partial birth.” Now the failure of regulatory oversight here, to enforce these laws that are already on the books, that is one issue.
    But how does a doctor like this keep a practice going for so long without being reported by employees or patients? Because he was operating in a black market, catering to a niche of clients who had no other choice of surgeon and probably saw little legal recourse to stop him from further practice that wouldn’t implicate them in some way. Pro-lifers, get ready for more and more stories like this one the more you attempt to legislate your concerns for potential life.
    We can throw the ball around about whether, philosophically speaking, a fetus half the size of a plum, a size the vast majority of aborted fetuses never reach, is a human or not. We can debate further whether the estimated .08% of all abortions that occur on viable fetuses are the same as killing a child or not (you might even find some agreement on that with this pro-choicer). What we can’t debate is that the harms of these medical practices do not go away once the practice has been made illegal. If anything, they increase. Abortions are here to stay, regardless of what policies we create. All we get to choose is whether they occur in safe environments and early on, or in dangerous environments after it’s become clear that a windfall miscarriage for the missus isn’t in the cards because it’s 7 months down the line and baby johnny’s still strong as an ox.
    We live in a country where, with abortion legal, more than half of the few women who do end up seeking late term abortions quote “finding it hard to make arrangements to have an abortion” as a reason for waiting so long, where many of these same women quote “outside pressure not to have an abortion” as another cause for waiting. Can we really expect a society that takes away opportunities for earlier term abortions(84% before week 12; 90% before week 15) to drive fewer women into the hands of untalented and uncaring black market surgeons?
    So I’m pro-choice, especially if that choice is made early on. This is because I do differentiate between a clump of cells or a bird-shaped palm-sized seed of a human and a late term fetus or a nearly-born kid, and I have no doubt that the already rare incidence of late term abortions will only be made rarer if women have the real freedom to seek and receive safe abortions in a timely manner.

  • that1guy

    This is long, sorry.

    In case anyone wants to criticize my sources, which I welcome, my info comes almost entirely from the guttmacher institute, either as my first source, or as quoted by the CDC and Wikipedia.

    Ok. So clearly this instance is horrible and disgusting.
    That said, the horror of this man’s 30 year practice confirms my pro-choice stance rather than shaking it.
    In 37 U.S. states, limits are placed on abortions after a certain period of gestation, judged by viability in some cases, judged by time in others. 24 weeks is the Pennsylvania standard. There are also current national bans on certain abortion practices, specifically “partial birth.” Now the failure of regulatory oversight here, to enforce these laws that are already on the books, that is one issue.
    But how does a doctor like this keep a practice going for so long without being reported by employees or patients? Because he was operating in a black market, catering to a niche of clients who had no other choice of surgeon and probably saw little legal recourse to stop him from further practice that wouldn’t implicate them in some way. Pro-lifers, get ready for more and more stories like this one the more you attempt to legislate your concerns for potential life.
    We can throw the ball around about whether, philosophically speaking, a fetus half the size of a plum, a size the vast majority of aborted fetuses never reach, is a human or not. We can debate further whether the estimated .08% of all abortions that occur on viable fetuses are the same as killing a child or not (you might even find some agreement on that with this pro-choicer). What we can’t debate is that the harms of these medical practices do not go away once the practice has been made illegal. If anything, they increase. Abortions are here to stay, regardless of what policies we create. All we get to choose is whether they occur in safe environments and early on, or in dangerous environments after it’s become clear that a windfall miscarriage for the missus isn’t in the cards because it’s 7 months down the line and baby johnny’s still strong as an ox.
    We live in a country where, with abortion legal, more than half of the few women who do end up seeking late term abortions quote “finding it hard to make arrangements to have an abortion” as a reason for waiting so long, where many of these same women quote “outside pressure not to have an abortion” as another cause for waiting. Can we really expect a society that takes away opportunities for earlier term abortions(84% before week 12; 90% before week 15) to drive fewer women into the hands of untalented and uncaring black market surgeons?
    So I’m pro-choice, especially if that choice is made early on. This is because I do differentiate between a clump of cells or a bird-shaped palm-sized seed of a human and a late term fetus or a nearly-born kid, and I have no doubt that the already rare incidence of late term abortions will only be made rarer if women have the real freedom to seek and receive safe abortions in a timely manner.

    • that1guy

      Dammit. It should read “38 states.” typo.

      • http://twitter.com/fathorseharry Harry Cunningham

        You know you can edit the original post, right?

  • that1guy

    Dammit. It should read “38 states.” typo.

  • foedfj

    I reccommed an age of about 16 to give humans the constituional right to life.

  • http://twitter.com/Adigam John Bonanno

    Clinics like this one make it much easier for those who oppose abortion to succeed in their Crusade. Put this guy and his henchmen in chains.

  • http://twitter.com/Adigam John Bonanno

    Clinics like this one make it much easier for those who oppose abortion to succeed in their Crusade. Put this guy and his henchmen in chains.

    • okasiii

      it’s funny, how you’re concerned about the “Crusade” against killing babies, gaining power. Don’t you see what this is, it’s murder based on a technicality of the babies or fetuses being just old enough to be “viable”. Why are we concerned about the lives of these older, babies, yet not the lives of those slightly younger and slightly less viable? I do understand part of the concern by those pro-choice, who are outraged, is how the clinic has treated it’s patients. This is a concern of mine as well. But watch the video, the african american gentleman speaking at the end of the video, seemed most outraged by the deaths, of the babies. I would be curious to hear what his views are on abortion as a whole.

    • Lisa

      I’m pro-good choice. Meaning I’m for abortion under certain circumstances if it’s been thought out rationally and intelligently by the person making the choice. I’m against it as a form of birth control or taking care of an ‘accident’ to save face or other such nonsense. Abortion is not something to be taken lightly, it can have permanent and life changing effects on a woman’s body and mind.

      Now, I hate the ‘crusade’ you’re talking about about as much as I hate the ‘crusade’ on the opposite end, the one you seem to support. The one that caused this whole mess, the one that allowed this clinic to run (without being inspected) for 17 years. The crusade FOR abortion allows this sort of disgusting practice to occur without punishment for fear of supposedly treading on the right to choose. Instead of being happy with the fact that the laws in this country DO support a woman’s right to choose, the pro-choicers would like to take a step further.

      Don’t worry about inspecting THOSE medical facilities. It’s a woman’s right to choose, inspecting THOSE facilities will get in the way of a woman’s right to choose (somehow in some odd, unexplainable way).

      The crusade on both sides has to stop because it’s ridiculous. Everyone should just shut up, get over it, move on, and come into the only reality that actually exists.

      People WILL get abortions whether everyone agrees or not, it WILL happen, they WILL find a way.

      Instead of everyone screaming “YES!” or “NO!” why can’t we yell “MAYBE UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES!” And remind people to think logically about the decision they are actually about to make. Abortion IS the answer in some situations, but sometimes there could be another choice that might be better. Not better for the fetus, or baby, or whatever you want to call ‘it’, better for the woman making the choice.

      The Pro-choice Crusade MADE this clinic. It GAVE all that money to Gosnell. It harmed many of the women it is claiming to protect. Apparently the right to the choice was more important than the right to their lives. The right to choose was more important than the right to decent medical care. Sure, those women made a mistake going to that doctor and trusting him with their bodies. But, they might have had more doctors to choose from had the crusade on either side of the fence not existed.

  • Katefen

    If adoption was a viable alternative option for all ‘unwanted’ children then we would have no need of children’s homes. There are enough kids growig up without parents, without the level of care they deserve, why add to that number if you can avoid it? Kids in care are repeatedly shown to have a greater risk of social and emotional problems http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/long-term-effects-children-different-parental-backgrounds.

    I, personally am pro-choice, there are those out there (and I’ve met a few) who lead sexually risky lifestyles with the idea that if they happen to get pregnant/get someone pregnant they can just have an abortion. That I think is cold, abortion is not a means of contraception, but there are many reasons for it being viable and, in my view acceptable. For example, I took no risks with my youngest son – I was on the pill, took a course of anti-biotics, knowing this would reduce the efficacy of my pill, I also used other means, which broke and so I went for the morning after pill as soon as I could and I still got pregnant. It took me a lot of soul searching to decide that abortion wasn’t for me and that I would have him but I refuse to believe, given the precautions that I had taken, that if I’d opted for a termination it would have been in any way wrong.

  • okasiii

    it’s funny, how you’re concerned about the “Crusade” against killing babies, gaining power. Don’t you see what this is, it’s murder based on a technicality of the babies or fetuses being just old enough to be “viable”. Why are we concerned about the lives of these older, babies, yet not the lives of those slightly younger and slightly less viable? I do understand part of the concern by those pro-choice, who are outraged, is how the clinic has treated it’s patients. This is a concern of mine as well. But watch the video, the african american gentleman speaking at the end of the video, seemed most outraged by the deaths, of the babies. I would be curious to hear what his views are on abortion as a whole.

  • dkfjpp

    I totally agree, if given the option between a childrens home or abortion. Give me an abortion. Peope with social and emotional problems would much prefer, not to exist.

  • Lisa

    Most of the people posting here are just disgusting. Legally, according to the laws set forth by this country, this man was killing viable babies. He was inducing LIVE birth, in other words (for the people out there who obviously didn’t pay attention) he caused the women to give birth to living babies and then he killed the living babies.

    I realize some of you don’t think a person is a person until they are 16…good for you…if you ever have children and they are taken from you before the age of 16 please remember that they weren’t actually people so you’ll feel better about it. Remind all those other folks who have lost their children that their children weren’t really people too. Because it’s intelligent comments like that, where the author assumes they are being witty or smart, that really make the world go round.

    I think women should be able to get abortions depending on the circumstances. Using it as birth control is a disgusting practice and all those in favor to that degree are idiots. Abortion doesn’t just get rid of an unborn baby, it has detrimental effects on a woman’s body as well. Potentially EXTREMELY detrimental. Abortion is something that should be considered thoughtfully and intelligently with all options being weighed carefully by the person making the decision.

    Most of you are making it sound like a viable answer to not liking condoms. Many of you don’t seem to understand what this doctor actually did either. Let’s all concentrate on the fact that women should have the right to choose instead of concentrating on the fact that this man was inducing labor in women that were 8 months pregnant, right? Because that is what many of you are doing, and it’s sad. If you had half a brain you’d remember that it takes about 9 months to make a baby…and some of them are born healthy and alive after just 6 to 8. The guy was also running a disgusting clinic that was beyond unsanitary. The issue here isn’t that the guy was performing abortions at all, it was that he was performing them on babies that could no longer be considered a fetus.

    So yea, this whole ordeal is all about pro-choice or pro-life and women’s rights and how fetus’s aren’t people. Yea…that’s it. I’ll never understand how people can be so stupid. If you didn’t catch the sarcasm dripping from most of my text…I’ll just point out that the real issue here is that this man was doing something illegal. He didn’t just kill fetus’s or babies that some of you don’t think of as babies…he killed a woman. An adult woman. Even those of you who think a person isn’t a person until they are 16 can agree that he killed a person when he ‘accidentally’ killed her.

  • Lisa

    Most of the people posting here are just disgusting. Legally, according to the laws set forth by this country, this man was killing viable babies. He was inducing LIVE birth, in other words (for the people out there who obviously didn’t pay attention) he caused the women to give birth to living babies and then he killed the living babies.

    I realize some of you don’t think a person is a person until they are 16…good for you…if you ever have children and they are taken from you before the age of 16 please remember that they weren’t actually people so you’ll feel better about it. Remind all those other folks who have lost their children that their children weren’t really people too. Because it’s intelligent comments like that, where the author assumes they are being witty or smart, that really make the world go round.

    I think women should be able to get abortions depending on the circumstances. Using it as birth control is a disgusting practice and all those in favor to that degree are idiots. Abortion doesn’t just get rid of an unborn baby, it has detrimental effects on a woman’s body as well. Potentially EXTREMELY detrimental. Abortion is something that should be considered thoughtfully and intelligently with all options being weighed carefully by the person making the decision.

    Most of you are making it sound like a viable answer to not liking condoms. Many of you don’t seem to understand what this doctor actually did either. Let’s all concentrate on the fact that women should have the right to choose instead of concentrating on the fact that this man was inducing labor in women that were 8 months pregnant, right? Because that is what many of you are doing, and it’s sad. If you had half a brain you’d remember that it takes about 9 months to make a baby…and some of them are born healthy and alive after just 6 to 8. The guy was also running a disgusting clinic that was beyond unsanitary. The issue here isn’t that the guy was performing abortions at all, it was that he was performing them on babies that could no longer be considered a fetus.

    So yea, this whole ordeal is all about pro-choice or pro-life and women’s rights and how fetus’s aren’t people. Yea…that’s it. I’ll never understand how people can be so stupid. If you didn’t catch the sarcasm dripping from most of my text…I’ll just point out that the real issue here is that this man was doing something illegal. He didn’t just kill fetus’s or babies that some of you don’t think of as babies…he killed a woman. An adult woman. Even those of you who think a person isn’t a person until they are 16 can agree that he killed a person when he ‘accidentally’ killed her.

    • hirdt

      The most common initial reaction to abortion is relief, waves of other emotions can follow, but relief is the feeling reported most often by women who have just had an abortion. http://www.emedicinehealth.com

      The most common reasons for strong negative emotions after abortion are:
      –having a history of emotional problems before your abortion

      –having important people in your life who aren’t supportive of your decision to have an abortion

      –having to terminate a wanted pregnancy because your health or the health of your fetus is in danger

      * Health/psychological problems attributed to abortion tend to be due to the social stigma attached to abortion itself: ‘As summarized in the Guttmacher Institute’s May 2006 report, Abortion in Women’s Lives, the APA found that “women who are terminating pregnancies that are wanted or who lack support from their partner or parents for the abortion may feel a greater sense of loss, anxiety and distress. For most women, however, the time of greatest distress is likely to be before an abortion; after an abortion, women frequently report feeling ‘relief and happiness.”‘ http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs

      The risk of death when a pregnancy is continued to birth is about 11 times as great as the risk of death from induced abortion. Each year, about 10 women die from induced abortion, compared with about 260 who die from pregnancy and childbirth. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/hs
      *

      Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are about as uncommon as they are after giving birth. http://www.plannedparenthood.o

      To support this claim: the Royal Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and of General Practitioners in the United Kingdom sponsored a major study that followed more than 13,000 women in England and Wales over an 11-year period ending in the early 1990s. Importantly, it considered two groups: women facing an unintended pregnancy who had an abortion and women facing an unintended pregnancy who gave birth. The study’s authors concluded that those women who had an abortion following an unintended pregnancy were not at any higher risk of subsequent mental health problems than were women whose unintended pregnancy was carried to term. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs
      Here are some facts that show your reasoning to be completely flawed:

      Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.

      There are about 1.2 million abortions are performed each year in the United States. More than 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.

      • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

        This is what I think about when I see those commercials with all the women who supposedly regret their abortions; maybe you shouldn’t have had one, in that case?

  • Lisa

    There is no such thing as ‘late term abortion’. Inducing labor is called BIRTH. Get a clue please and learn what words mean. If you induce labor, and a living baby comes out (which is what happened in this case…multiple times) that is called giving birth. If you then kill the baby, that is considered murder. Viable babies DO have personhood under the constitution….which is why killing them is illegal. It would not be illegal nor would it be an actual issue if they weren’t considered babies or people by a legal definition.

    Just because it’s of your opinion that these babies weren’t babies doesn’t mean anything. All it means is that it’s a good thing you aren’t in charge of making laws in this country.

    A fetus is no longer a fetus if it comes out alive and has to be stabbed in the back with scissors and have it’s spinal cord severed. Then it is called a baby. How you don’t understand that is beyond me.

  • Lisa

    I’m pro-good choice. Meaning I’m for abortion under certain circumstances if it’s been thought out rationally and intelligently by the person making the choice. I’m against it as a form of birth control or taking care of an ‘accident’ to save face or other such nonsense. Abortion is not something to be taken lightly, it can have permanent and life changing effects on a woman’s body and mind.

    Now, I hate the ‘crusade’ you’re talking about about as much as I hate the ‘crusade’ on the opposite end, the one you seem to support. The one that caused this whole mess, the one that allowed this clinic to run (without being inspected) for 17 years. The crusade FOR abortion allows this sort of disgusting practice to occur without punishment for fear of supposedly treading on the right to choose. Instead of being happy with the fact that the laws in this country DO support a woman’s right to choose, the pro-choicers would like to take a step further.

    Don’t worry about inspecting THOSE medical facilities. It’s a woman’s right to choose, inspecting THOSE facilities will get in the way of a woman’s right to choose (somehow in some odd, unexplainable way).

    The crusade on both sides has to stop because it’s ridiculous. Everyone should just shut up, get over it, move on, and come into the only reality that actually exists.

    People WILL get abortions whether everyone agrees or not, it WILL happen, they WILL find a way.

    Instead of everyone screaming “YES!” or “NO!” why can’t we yell “MAYBE UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES!” And remind people to think logically about the decision they are actually about to make. Abortion IS the answer in some situations, but sometimes there could be another choice that might be better. Not better for the fetus, or baby, or whatever you want to call ‘it’, better for the woman making the choice.

    The Pro-choice Crusade MADE this clinic. It GAVE all that money to Gosnell. It harmed many of the women it is claiming to protect. Apparently the right to the choice was more important than the right to their lives. The right to choose was more important than the right to decent medical care. Sure, those women made a mistake going to that doctor and trusting him with their bodies. But, they might have had more doctors to choose from had the crusade on either side of the fence not existed.

  • David Frost

    Well you have two issues there. One is that adoption actually isn’t an easy process and two is that children’s homes usually aren’t very good. Why not work on those two issues instead?

    I absolutely agree with the idea that abortion isn’t a good contraceptive for sexual risk-taking, and that is the major thought that comes to me when I think about issues like this, because I have known people like that too, and I can’t dismiss that as an ethically right thing to do. I think the best thing that we should do as a society is address certain issues like how can we work to make sure women in that situation can still take excellent care of themselves and the child as well. You have a long list of issues there that I think need to be brought up but we live in a society that trades the well being of everyone for the love of dead presidents printed on green pieces of paper instead.

  • David Frost

    I’m dirt broke all the time and am a military vet from a bad past before that (enough said), I don’t prefer non-existence, I prefer to make the most of things.

  • Famouswarrior

    You must be one sad sick fuck if you think that a premature baby is not a Human being.
    Abortion + Convenience = Murder

  • hirdt

    “Abortion doesn’t just get rid of an unborn baby, it has detrimental effects on a woman’s body as well. Potentially EXTREMELY detrimental”

    More people die from childbirth in a year than abortions, just fyi, so claims that abortions are more harmful than pregnancies is not only incorrect (and unsubstantiated, mind you), it is also misleading and fails to take in to account the fact that there are more long-term health and financials issues– for the mother and child– for unwanted pregnancies, including psychological stress.
    ———

    The most common initial reaction to abortion is relief, waves of other emotions can follow, but relief is the feeling reported most often by women who have just had an abortion. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/abortion/article_em.htm

    The most common reasons for strong negative emotions after abortion are:
    –having a history of emotional problems before your abortion

    –having important people in your life who aren’t supportive of your decision to have an abortion

    –having to terminate a wanted pregnancy because your health or the health of your fetus is in danger

    * Health/psychological problems attributed to abortion tend to be due to the social stigma attached to abortion itself: ‘As summarized in the Guttmacher Institute’s May 2006 report, Abortion in Women’s Lives, the APA found that “women who are terminating pregnancies that are wanted or who lack support from their partner or parents for the abortion may feel a greater sense of loss, anxiety and distress. For most women, however, the time of greatest distress is likely to be before an abortion; after an abortion, women frequently report feeling ‘relief and happiness.”‘ http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/09/3/gpr090308.html

    The risk of death when a pregnancy is continued to birth is about 11 times as great as the risk of death from induced abortion. Each year, about 10 women die from induced abortion, compared with about 260 who die from pregnancy and childbirth. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/hs/pubhealth/modules/reproductiveHealth/abortion.html
    *

    Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are about as uncommon as they are after giving birth. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/pregnancy/thinking-about-abortion-21519.htm

    To support this claim: the Royal Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and of General Practitioners in the United Kingdom sponsored a major study that followed more than 13,000 women in England and Wales over an 11-year period ending in the early 1990s. Importantly, it considered two groups: women facing an unintended pregnancy who had an abortion and women facing an unintended pregnancy who gave birth. The study’s authors concluded that those women who had an abortion following an unintended pregnancy were not at any higher risk of subsequent mental health problems than were women whose unintended pregnancy was carried to term. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/09/3/gpr090308.html

    #

    Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.

    There are about 1.2 million abortions are performed each year in the United States. More than 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.

    ——–

    So, Lisa, I agree with you that this clinic is bad and killing babies is bad, but the idea that abortion shouldn’t be used as birth control is ridiculous. Yes, people should use birth control and condoms, but abortion IS birth control, too. I don’t understand how you can call it “disgusting,” at least. Also, 1/3 of all fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted naturally by the human body. I don’t see the distinction, really, at least not for early term abortions.

    • Sarah

      Have you ever had a child or a pregnancy??? If you had ever carried a baby (and guess what, us that want our children call them babies as soon as we see that + sign 5 days BEFORE our period is missed) I would hope you would think differently. Anyone who can think it is ok to use abortion as birth control should go to a live birth and an abortion. See what they do, it’s horrible. Would you have preferred someone do that to you instead of give you a chance at life? Doubt it, but that’s different right? Because your parents wanted you? I was adopted I thank my birth mother for her choice to be a real woman every time I think of these weak minded women who buy into these money hungry marketers that promote “woman’s choice.” They sure do know how to market it, but the right to chose is in the choice to be sexually active. If raped then the responsible thing to do is carry to term and place for adoption. Selfishness drives this, selfishness.

      • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

        You are free to do whatever you want. But please don’t assume that your limited experience and reasoning capabilities has any bearing on anyone anywhere. I realize having a child is probably the only thing you will ever accomplish in your life, but many other people aim higher.

  • Anonymous

    “Abortion doesn’t just get rid of an unborn baby, it has detrimental effects on a woman’s body as well. Potentially EXTREMELY detrimental”

    More people die from childbirth in a year than abortions, just fyi, so claims that abortions are more harmful than pregnancies is not only incorrect, it is also misleading and fails to take in to account the fact that there are more long-term health and financials issues– for the mother and child– for unwanted pregnancies, including psychological stress.

    I agree with you that this clinic is bad and killing babies is bad, but the idea that abortion shouldn’t be used as birth control is ridiculous. Yes, people should use birth control and condoms, but abortion IS birth control, too. I don’t understand how you can call it “disgusting,” at least. Also, 1/3 of all fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted naturally by the human body. I don’t see the distinction, really, at least not for early term abortions.

  • Anonymous

    The most common initial reaction to abortion is relief, waves of other emotions can follow, but relief is the feeling reported most often by women who have just had an abortion. http://www.emedicinehealth.com

    The most common reasons for strong negative emotions after abortion are:
    –having a history of emotional problems before your abortion

    –having important people in your life who aren’t supportive of your decision to have an abortion

    –having to terminate a wanted pregnancy because your health or the health of your fetus is in danger

    * Health/psychological problems attributed to abortion tend to be due to the social stigma attached to abortion itself: ‘As summarized in the Guttmacher Institute’s May 2006 report, Abortion in Women’s Lives, the APA found that “women who are terminating pregnancies that are wanted or who lack support from their partner or parents for the abortion may feel a greater sense of loss, anxiety and distress. For most women, however, the time of greatest distress is likely to be before an abortion; after an abortion, women frequently report feeling ‘relief and happiness.”‘ http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs

    The risk of death when a pregnancy is continued to birth is about 11 times as great as the risk of death from induced abortion. Each year, about 10 women die from induced abortion, compared with about 260 who die from pregnancy and childbirth. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/hs
    *

    Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are about as uncommon as they are after giving birth. http://www.plannedparenthood.o

    To support this claim: the Royal Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and of General Practitioners in the United Kingdom sponsored a major study that followed more than 13,000 women in England and Wales over an 11-year period ending in the early 1990s. Importantly, it considered two groups: women facing an unintended pregnancy who had an abortion and women facing an unintended pregnancy who gave birth. The study’s authors concluded that those women who had an abortion following an unintended pregnancy were not at any higher risk of subsequent mental health problems than were women whose unintended pregnancy was carried to term. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs
    Here are some facts that show your reasoning to be completely flawed:

    Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.

    There are about 1.2 million abortions are performed each year in the United States. More than 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.

  • Sarah

    All women will always have the right to CHOOSE what is right, too keep their pants on. And in the case of rape, to carry the child to term and place the baby up for adoption. If you are having sex take on the consequences men and women. It is NOT the mother’s body in question during abortion, you are a straight up murderer if you abort. It’s simple and easy, quit taking the blame off of the moms who chose. The Dr. was a TOTAL asshole, but the mom’s chose to do this horrible thing in the first place. Consequences for bad choices.

  • Sarah

    All women will always have the right to CHOOSE what is right, too keep their pants on. And in the case of rape, to carry the child to term and place the baby up for adoption. If you are having sex take on the consequences men and women. It is NOT the mother’s body in question during abortion, you are a straight up murderer if you abort. It’s simple and easy, quit taking the blame off of the moms who chose. The Dr. was a TOTAL asshole, but the mom’s chose to do this horrible thing in the first place. Consequences for bad choices.

  • Sarah

    You are completely uninformed. I feel sorry for you. Look at pictures of a wanted child born at 24 weeks: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/30780 Those “fetuses” you call them, they are people and we as adults have the responsibility to protect those rights, not kill them before they have a chance at life. Truly sad you are so deceived.

  • Sarah

    Have you ever had a child or a pregnancy??? If you had ever carried a baby (and guess what, us that want our children call them babies as soon as we see that + sign 5 days BEFORE our period is missed) I would hope you would think differently. Anyone who can think it is ok to use abortion as birth control should go to a live birth and an abortion. See what they do, it’s horrible. Would you have preferred someone do that to you instead of give you a chance at life? Doubt it, but that’s different right? Because your parents wanted you? I was adopted I thank my birth mother for her choice to be a real woman every time I think of these weak minded women who buy into these money hungry marketers that promote “woman’s choice.” They sure do know how to market it, but the right to chose is in the choice to be sexually active. If raped then the responsible thing to do is carry to term and place for adoption. Selfishness drives this, selfishness.

  • Sarah

    Oh, and this is standard procedure in clinics to stab the baby in the back of the head and sever their spine if born alive. It is written down and they will deny it. But if you talk to workers/nurses they will tell you the truth if they are not worried for their own safety. It’s the way these assholes make money. If they allow a baby to live that was supposed to be murdered then their business “ratings” will go down.

  • Sarah

    Oh, and this is standard procedure in clinics to stab the baby in the back of the head and sever their spine if born alive. It is written down and they will deny it. But if you talk to workers/nurses they will tell you the truth if they are not worried for their own safety. It’s the way these assholes make money. If they allow a baby to live that was supposed to be murdered then their business “ratings” will go down.

  • demull829s

    Lisa, you’re misunderstanding my point, is that at this period in history we basically have a abstract line drawn of babies versus fetues. The fact is when life begins is uncertain, and when you are uncertain the best action is to take the prudent one, the prudent action being: not to abort (unless the womens life is in danger). If you’re pro-choice, you’re simply stating it’s ok to kill based on an arbitrary line.

  • http://twitter.com/fathorseharry Harry Cunningham

    While I understand what you’re saying, it’s not possible to “not prefer non-existence” as in the case of non-existence you wouldn’t be around to have a preference. i.e. not existing would make no difference to you!

  • http://twitter.com/fathorseharry Harry Cunningham

    You know you can edit the original post, right?

  • David Frost

    I still think it is far more ethical to give them a chance at life than to make that choice for them.

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    This is what I think about when I see those commercials with all the women who supposedly regret their abortions; maybe you shouldn’t have had one, in that case?

  • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

    You are free to do whatever you want. But please don’t assume that your limited experience and reasoning capabilities has any bearing on anyone anywhere. I realize having a child is probably the only thing you will ever accomplish in your life, but many other people aim higher.

  • Butter Knife

    Rape and incest happen.

    Social stigma happens.

    And at the end of the day, the medical procedures undergone by women are between themselves, their doctors, and God (I’m not a Christian, or even a traditional theist, it’s just a turn of phrase). I would prefer that these medical procedures not result in any more deaths than absolutely necessary, and it is far more practical to accomplish this end if we address the reality we have rather than pretend we have the reality we want.

    Even though in that reality I drive a Ferrari made of gold.

  • kingofjamos

    these people are satanists

  • kingofjamos

    these people are satanists

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