I’m extremely pro-choice. I think abortions should be safe, legal and rare. I will always fight for a woman’s right to choose. I will always feel that the majority of doctors who provide abortions are brave, caring, and heroic. But this is not the case with Dr. Kermit Gosnell, and I have a feeling that the case of one horrible doctor and his barbaric procedures are going to give the entire pro-life movement more ammunition in the choice wars. And this is extremely unfair because even though Dr. Gosnell operated under the guise of being an “abortion provider” he wasn’t. He wasn’t terminating pregnancies before the fetuses were viable, he was murdering babies and putting the lives of their mother at risk. In one case he is being charged with the death of one woman under his care. Today, jury selection begins in Gosnell’s trial. If he’s convicted, prosecutors want him put to death. And I can’t say that I can disagree with them. From the PDF of the report of the grand jury:
The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.
There were no doctors at the clinic other than Gosnell himself. No nurses. He employed two people who didn’t graduate medical school, but that didn’t stop them from making diagnoses, performing procedures and administering drugs . According to the report, the Women’s Medical Society ran a highly-profitable prescription writing business during the day, when “patients” (who were never seen by an actual doctor) came in during the day and received prescriptions for drugs like Oxycotin written on blank Rx pads that Gosnell has signed and left lying around to be filled out by whoever was working. This brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But the real business of the Women’s Medical Society was to provide abortions for women who couldn’t get them elsewhere, either because these patients were too young or too far along in their pregnancies:
At the Women’s Medical Society, the only question that really mattered was whether you had the cash. Too young? No problem. Didn’t want to wait? Gosnell provided same-day service.
The real key to the business model, though, was this: Gosnell catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere – because they were too pregnant. Most doctors won’t perform late second-trimester abortions, from approximately the 20th week of pregnancy, because of the risks involved. And late-term abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy are flatly illegal. But for Dr. Gosnell, they were an opportunity. The bigger the baby, the more he charged.