Friday, March 21, 2014

Kermit Gosnell Thrived Because of the Anti-Abortion Movement

Brandon McGinley is yet another conservative pro-life warrior wannabe who is trying to link Planned Parenthood to the actions of Kermit Gosnell, the horrible man who performed illegal backroom abortions in Philadelphia.

Planned Parenthood condemned Gosnell and pointed out something that should be understood by now. The pro-life movement causes a hell of a lot of problems for women, and it isn't even that good at stopping abortions or knowing what's going on:
In a March piece for the Huffington Post, Kate Michelman, the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Carol E. Tracy, the executive director of the Women's Law Project, wrote that one reason that poor minority women went to Kermit Gosnell's house of horrors was that they were driven there by fear of anti-abortion protestors outside Planned Parenthood facilities in Philadelphia. They cite the story of one woman, Davida Clarke Johnson, who said "the picketers out there, they just scared me half to death," leading her to turn to Gosnell in 2001. "[P]rotesters (ironically) were not an issue" at Gosnell's clinic, Michelman and Tracy write. Amanda Marcotte repeated the charge in SlateMonday.

Intrigued by the accusation, I reached out to Edel Finnegan, director of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, which runs the anti-abortion protests in the city, according to other groups involved in the abortion fight in the state.
Finnegan refuted the report and confirmed that Gosnell's Women's Medical Society was in fact on the Pro-Life Union's radar for decades, and was not exempted from its picketing or prayer. "We were involved with praying outside of the Gosnell facility. For about 20 years, there was a group of people going out on the second Saturday of the month" to area abortion facilities, she told me.

That makes the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia perhaps the single longest-standing regular outside observer of Gosnell's clinic, which was last inspected by state authorities in 1993 before a Feb. 18, 2010, raid on it by an FBI team going after what it thought was an illegal prescription mill uncovered the dire conditions at the abortion facility located on the same site. "Every Saturday morning," clinic neighbor Bill Baumann said in the Gosnell documentary 3801 Lancaster, "the priests and the antiabortionists were out front praying the rosary."

If you take the health of women seriously, if you work to improve the economic prospects of women, if you pay them as much as men are paid, and if you give them access to health care, they have fewer abortions. Scare tactics send them to facilities that are unsafe and create future Kermit Gosnells. If you deny them access to health care and fair wages, abortions increase in this country. And if you use terror tactics, you end up with backroom abortion horror stories and dead women.

I mean, it's not that hard to understand.

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