“Feminists” & the Gosnell case: Babykilling is different when it happens outside the womb

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. It’s also the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. When I was a vocal proponent of abortion back in my liberal days, I thought it was kinda neat that my birthday was also the anniversary date of the Supreme Court giving women in the United States a “right to choose” whether or not to terminate their respective pregnancy(ies). Like most feminists, I treated the day as one that should be celebrated – and not just because I was turning one year older.

It didn’t dawn on me until much later the irony of my position.

In my mind, abortions were necessary so we wouldn’t have a bunch of unwanted kids walking around. They were also ok to have, in my view, because if a pregnancy happened at an inconvenient time in a woman’s life, she had the option to go to a clinic, have the abortion procedure done, and then get on with her life, make her career choice, etc.

I’ve spent the last 15 or so years trying to atone for the guilt I (still) feel over what I used to advocate. Keep in mind that I wasn’t one of those militant liberal feminists marching on Washington, DC trying to make sure that “right” was preserved forever. I was pretty naive about what the procedure involved. In fact, at the time I had never really read that much about what happened when a woman had an abortion. My thinking was that as long as she had the procedure done before the baby was viable, then it was ok. This is still a common position for the casual abortion supporter today. They don’t really think about the inconvenient details of the procedure; they just “know” it should remain “safe and legal” – and supposedly rare (although we all know in reality that it is not even close to “rare”). Feminist “representatives” like NOW, on the other hand, who do know EXACTLY what the inhumane details of what happens during an abortion are are directly responsible for aiding in enabling the casual abortion supporter to view a pregnancy as not being about the developing life inside of the woman’s womb, but rather the “woman’s body” and her “right” to do with it as she wishes. The unborn life is not really a “life” to liberal feminists; it’s a “clump of cells” – a “parasite.” Of course, I’m sure it has never entered the minds of these women that they’re extremely fortunate that their mothers didn’t view them that way, otherwise they might not be around to advocate the procedure today.

But I digress …

Photo of 10 week old baby courtesy of David Barlow/National Geographic's In the Womb seriesThe powerful forces and loud voices in pro-abortion “feminist” groups like NOW and NARAL have deliberately and systematically framed the debate this way for decades because, contra to their stated beliefs about wanting a pregnant woman to be “fully informed’ of all of her options before she decides to have or not have an abortion, they know that when and if women are indeed fully informed when it comes to deciding whether or not to keep their babies – and that includes knowing EVERYTHING about early fetal development as well as what EXACTLY what happens during an abortion, that women will more often than not keep their child. This is why liberal “feminists” so strongly oppose any attempt by lawmakers at the national and/or state level from enacting any laws that would require abortion providers to show ultrasounds to women planning on having abortions. Not many women – at least not those with a heart and warm blood running through their veins – can look at an ultrasound of a developing baby, hear its heart beating, watch its precious first movements, and then turn around and extinguish that life.

But even with all that said, reading the responses from “feminist” spokespeople after the story broke about the gruesome Philadelphia abortion mill where Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his unlicensed, untrained staff murdered 2nd and 3rd trimester babies as often as most of us change underwear caused a whole new level of burning fury at the callousness of liberal feminists to rage inside of me. I’ll get to that in a minute. Before I do, though, I wanted to recommend Michelle Malkin’s post and The Anchoress’ post (more here) on this heartbreaking, enraging developing story from the angle of how our left leaning media, our “if it feels good do it” culture, and pro-abortion advocates and politicos on the left and sometimes even on the right – all of who have willingly turned a blind eye to what the central focus of the abortion debateshould be about (the morality of terminating a developing unborn life) – all contributed indirectly to the cycle of filthy abuse and death inside the Gosnell “Women’s Clinic” via their willfull avoidance and misframing of the debate and, in the case of some of the politicos, their unwillingness to confront the all-powerful “women’s rights” groups for fear of political repercussions. From one of the Philly Inquirer’s many stories about Dr. Gosnell’s “clinic” via the grand jury’s report, here’s what we learned about the conditions inside his abortion mill (emphasis added by me):

* Gosnell performed thousands of abortions at his Women’s Medical Society at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue, even though he was a family practitioner never certified as an obstetrician or gynecologist. Gosnell was rarely present in the clinic, allowing his unlicensed, untrained staff to administer drugs and perform procedures.

* Gosnell routinely induced labor in patients in their second and third trimesters rather than perform risky late-term abortions. That sometimes resulted in live births. He and his staffers killed the babies by stabbing their necks with scissors to sever their spinal cords and sometimes suctioning their skulls, too. About a baby writhing as he cut its neck, Gosnell joked to a staffer: “That’s what you call a chicken with its head cut off.”

* Gosnell is accused of murder in the November 2009 death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who died a day after a staffer overdosed her with sedatives. Another woman, Semika Shaw, 22, died after Gosnell punctured her uterus and sent her home. Gosnell allegedly injured “scores” of others, leaving some sterile, perforating the bowels and uteruses of others. He frequently left fetal remains inside women, who then had to seek treatment elsewhere. * Gosnell and his staffers frequently left their patients unattended, so that the dead fetuses or live babies “fell out” wherever the patient was, often the bathroom. One clinic janitor told the grand jury that this happened so often that fetuses frequently clogged the toilet.

* Conditions at the clinic were deplorable. The walls were urine-splattered, and the floors were bloodstained. A janitor testified that the bathrooms were cleaned just once a week, even though patients routinely vomited into sinks and miscarried into toilets.

* White patients waited and were treated in a cleaner room than patients of color. Patients of color who became “too rowdy” got a slap on the thigh from Gosnell, one worker testified. Gosnell photographed his patients’ genitalia before procedures, another told the grand jury.

You can read the full report here.

What does this tell us about abortion? Oh, “absolutely nothing,” says staunch abortion proponent Jill at the Feministe blog:

Absolutely nothing.

No, really. Contrary to what Great Moral Authority On Abortion William Saletan has to say about the matter, I think we’re all pretty well agreed that if the charges against Kermit Gosnell are true, then dude is a criminal and needs to go to jail. Killing a baby after it’s born and has taken breaths? Is not abortion. It should be, and is, a crime punishable by law. And Kermit Gosnell is being criminally prosecuted.

Note the “after it’s born and has taken breaths” part of what she said. As if it makes one shred of difference whether or not a 2nd or 3rd trimester baby is breathing on its own outside the womb, or is being sustained inside the womb by its mother. In her eyes (and no doubt in the eyes of countless other “feminists” like her) a 2nd or 3rd trimester baby that is aborted inside the womb is not a victim of murder. It’s just been given a “safe” and “legal” abortion. I’d like to remind folks before I continue about the types of abortions available in the 1st and 2nd trimesters. 1st & 2nd trimester (warning: graphic):


During an aspiration abortion

  • Your health care provider will examine your uterus.
  • You will get medicine for pain. You may be offered sedation — a medicine that allows you to be awake but deeply relaxed.
  • A speculum will be inserted into your vagina.
  • Your health care provider may inject a numbing medication into or near your cervix.
  • The opening of your cervix may be stretched with dilators — a series of increasingly thick rods. Or you may have absorbent dilators inserted a day or a few hours before the procedure. They will absorb fluid and get bigger. This slowly stretches open your cervix. Medication may also be used with or without the dilators to help open your cervix.
  • You will be given antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • A tube is inserted through the cervix into the uterus.
  • Either a hand-held suction device or a suction machine gently empties your uterus.
  • Sometimes, an instrument called a curette is used to remove any remaining tissue that lines the uterus. It may also be used to check that the uterus is empty. When a curette is used, people often call the abortion a D&C — dilation and curettage.

An aspiration procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes. But more time may be needed to prepare your cervix. Time is also needed for talking with your provider about the procedure, a physical exam, reading and signing forms, and a recovery period of about one hour.


During a D&E

  • Your health care provider will examine you and check your uterus.
  • You will get medication for pain. You may be offered sedation or IV medication to make you more comfortable.
  • A speculum will be inserted into your vagina.
  • Your cervix will be prepared for the procedure. You may be given medication or have absorbent dilators inserted a day or a few hours before the procedure.  They will absorb fluid and grow bigger. This slowly stretches open your cervix.
  • You will be given antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • In later second-trimester procedures, you may also need a shot through your abdomen to make sure there is fetal demise before the procedure begins.
  • Your health care provider will inject a numbing medication into or near your cervix.
  • Medical instruments and a suction machine gently empty your uterus.

A D&E usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes. But more time is needed to prepare your cervix. Time is also needed for talking with your provider about the procedure, a physical exam, reading and signing forms, and a recovery period of about one hour.

3rd trimester:

  • Induction Abortion: a rarely done surgical procedure where salt water, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac; prostaglandins are inserted into the vagina and pitocin is injected intravenously.
  • Dilation and Extraction: a surgical abortion procedure used to terminate a pregnancy after 21 weeks of gestation. This procedure is also known as D & X, Intact D & X, Intrauterine Cranial Decompression and Partial Birth Abortion.

So … those types of 2nd & 3rd trimester abortions where live, developing baby parts are either sucked out of the body or the skull of an unborn baby is “decompressed” are not “murder” to Jill, because they happened inside the womb rather than out.   Yes – you see there is a difference between extinguishing a life “humanely” (cough) inside the womb verus “inhumanely” outside of it. 

Really, you can’t make this stuff up. 

Continuing on, Jill continues to try to rationalize her advocacy of 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions:

Also, women don’t get late-term abortions for fun. Seriously. No one is like, “I think I will continue this pregnancy for as long as legally possible before I undergo an invasive medical procedure that is rendered longer, more expensive, and more complicated because I waited six months to have it.” No. It’s actually more like, “I really wanted this baby but now it turns out that there’s a fetal abnormality incompatible with life, and if I continue this pregnancy I risk my own health and/or life to give birth to a baby that either will not live or will only live in extreme pain for a very short while.” Fun stuff like that.

Uh, no.  The vast majority of  abortions performed in the United States, whether late term or not, have very little to do with the mother’s health or the health of the baby.  A Guttmacher study from 1987 found:

In 1987, the Alan Guttmacher Institute collected questionnaires from 1,900 women in the United States who came to clinics to have abortions. Of the 1,900 questioned, 420 had been pregnant for 16 or more weeks. These 420 women were asked to choose among a list of reasons they had not obtained the abortions earlier in their pregnancies. The results were as follows:[3]

71% Woman didn’t recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation
48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion
33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents
24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion
8% Woman waited for her relationship to change
8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion
6% Something changed after woman became pregnant
6% Woman didn’t know timing is important
5% Woman didn’t know she could get an abortion
2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy
11% Other

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that because those statistics are over 2 decades old that those percentages and rationales have changed much today. They haven’t. The “health reasons” rationale lie is another one that “feminists” have perpetuated over the years to make people think that “most” abortions – whether they are done early on in the pregnancy or in its late stages – are not done for purposes of convenience. Never, ever believe a liberal feminists who tell you abortions are done primarily for any other reason other than for the convenience of the mother.  More often than not, it’s about birth control – as sometimes they will admit themselves.

And the last part of Jill’s snarky post is devoted to playing down the suggestion that abortion is “icky” by comparing it to … other “medical procedures”:

But way more entertaining to play Wise Man and draw lines in the sand around what are actually really complex moral issues. Saletan’s entire body of writing on abortion seems to center around the goal of getting pro-choice people to admit that abortion is kind of icky. So, Will, I will give you that: Abortion is pretty gross. So are many medical procedures. So is childbirth, actually. Can we move the conversation forward now?

Ummm … maybe we can, Jill, as soon as you can get your narrow mind to acknowledge that the term “icky” more describes stepping barefoot in dog pooh rather than the cold, clinical, brutal practice of vacuuming live, developing baby parts out of a woman’s body, or in some cases, crushing the skull of a live, developing unborn viable baby because its mother waited too late to have a “medical abortion” and would rather finish out her college years without having to deal with the “burden” of a mouth to feed. Until then …

Some abortion proponents in the mainstream media have tried to make this horror story out to be about “access/affordability issues” – like the Philly Inq’s own editorial page,  Time’s “Healthland” blog, and another prominent “feminist” blogger Amanda Marcotte:

That shady abortion providers get patients at all is something we can safely blame the anti-choice movement for. Most doctors in this country are pro-choice, and many would like to provide abortion, but as Slate‘s Emily Bazelon demonstrated in the New York Times, the stigma of doing so makes it that much harder to do.  Good medical care costs money, but very few women seeking abortion can get coverage, in no small part because of anti-choice initiatives like the Hyde Amendment.  If you’re seeking an abortion but can’t afford it, going to a doctor who provides substandard care on the cheap is certainly going to be an attractive option.

These particular charges involve late-term abortion, and all I could think upon reading the news story was, “I wish these women could have gone to Dr. George Tiller,” because he was renowned for the quality of care provided at his Kansas clinic.  But sadly, that wasn’t even an option, even for those who could afford it, as Dr. Tiller’s life was taken by an anti-choice extremist in 2009.  When vacuums are created, we shouldn’t be surprised when they suck in a bunch of junk.

Er, wrong – again.   As one of her Slate XX factor blog co-bloggers points out in a later piece:

Gosnell did business in a city that has several abortion clinics, at least one of which offers financial assistance, in a state that offers no-cost birth control (AND emergency contraception) to women who meet income requirements.  You wrote that “If you’re seeking an abortion but can’t afford it, going to a doctor who provides substandard care on the cheap is certainly going to be an attractive option.” But the grand jury report shows that Gosnell was anything but cheap. A first-trimester abortion can cost anywhere from $350 to $950 at Planned Parenthood.  Gosnell was charging $2,500 or more for late-term abortions.

Whoops. It’s clear someone read the grand jury’s report and did a little research, and it wasn’t Amanda Marcotte.  Marcotte simply did what so many other militant abortion proponents do when the topic of abortion comes up: in  customary knee-jerk fashion, she whipped out her handy dandy talking points sheet (well – I take that back; she’s got the talking points down by heart) on how the pro-life movement is supposedly “forcing” poor women into going to unsafe clinics because of supposed “access” and “affordability” issues.  Not surprising that her grasp on the facts is non-existent, considering facts typically play little to no role in the thought process of abortion proponents, anyway – as has been noted here time and time again.

Photo courtesy of Kurt Rogers/SF Chronicle Note also her remark about wishing these women “could have gone to Dr. Tiller.” Er, correct me if I’m wrong – but if these “poor” women in Philadelphia allegedly could barely afford to have the abortion as it was in town, how did Marcotte and her infinite “wisdom” think they were going to come up with the $$ to pay the travel and lodging expenses of making a visit to Tiller’s Kansas “quality” abortion mill, which was thousands of miles away? 

The mind truly is a terrible thing to waste.  I certainly wish that Marcotte, Jill, and so many others pro-abortionists would stop wasting theirs – and poisoning the minds of others.

One thing we can ALL – pro-abortion or pro-life – agree on is that what happened at Dr. Gosnell’s clinic with the patients and the babies born alive  was horrific, grotesque, and inhumane.  Sadly, though, pro-abortion forces – including our extremist abortion proponent President –  refuse to acknowledge that that same description accurately describes what happens inside the womb during an abortion, too, no matter in what stage the pregnancy is.  They’d rather lie, misdirect, mislead, mischaracterize, avoid, deflect, and attempt to shut down the debate – at the expense of hundreds of thousands of innocent unborn babies each year.  Yet it’s pro-lifers who are the “heartless” ones?

And their calculated responses and rationales to stories like Gosnell’s, my dear readers, are also horrific in and of themselves.  If  a society won’t stand up and defend and protect their most innoncent and vulnerable, what good are they?


Update – 2:00 PM: Make sure to ready PA blogger Dana Pico’s take on the Gosnell case here.

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