Former NARAL president witnessed ‘decrepit,’ ‘dilapidated’ abortion centers

abortion, Gosnell, House of Horrors

All too often, it is abortion facilities that serve the poor that are in the worst shape.

Before Kate Michelman became the president of NARAL, she got a job supervising a chain of abortion facilities. In her book Protecting the Right to Choose, she says…

My first day on the job, a staff member took me on a driving tour of our seven clinics, which primarily served low income women. I was … distressed by the environment in which those services were delivered. Many of the clinics were dilapidated. The furniture was decrepit. The medical staff wore T–shirts and jeans. I worried that women coming into these clinics might feel as though they were not deserving of medical settings comparable to those more prosperous women would expect. I made the same point to our board in their next meeting.

“We should not provide medical services in these settings, and the fact that we serve mostly poor women does not justify the conditions of these clinics. It’s an insult to poor women to strive for anything less than what other women would expect.”

Despite the poor condition of the facilities, Michelman says that she was “very impressed” with the level of medical care provided in them. One wonders, however, how competent the medical care could have been  if the facilities were so dilapidated and poorly kept. Reading that abortion centers are “decrepit” does not inspire faith in how safely abortions were done in them.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, whose filthy, disgusting clinic was raided and later shut down, served mostly poor women and minorities. Gosnell is now serving time in jail for killing a woman in a botched abortion (she was not the first) and killing babies born alive after abortion procedures, which he routinely did.


While Michelman does not indicate that the abortion facilities she saw were as filthy as Gosnell’s, an environment of shabbiness can’t help but have a negative effect on aborting women.

Women deserve better than having their babies torn from their wombs in a shabby, dilapidated abortion center. Pro-lifers often speak about women being the second victims of abortion. Michelman’s account illustrates how true this is.

Finally, this quote shows how important it is to inspect abortion facilities regularly and to make them to adhere to basic safety standards. Perhaps abortion activists fight such requirements because they know many of the facilities operate in a substandard fashion. Their argument is that abortion centers would close if they were to be held to the standards of other surgical facilities. Sadly, Michelman’s account indicates that they are right. Obviously, creating a safe and comfortable environment for women fell by the wayside in these seven facilities.

Source: Kate Michelman Protecting the Right to Choose (New York: Plume, 2007) 33

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