No, Salon, abortion restrictions don’t “get women killed”

women clinic abortion
Kermit Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell

Pro-aborts are pulling out all the stops in hopes of getting the Supreme Court to strike down Texas’s HB2 regulations of abortion facilities. The latest tactic, courtesy of Salon’s Daniel Denvir, is to relitigate the Kermit Gosnell case as supposedly demonstrating that “abortion restrictions get women killed”…

In a United States where abortions were available free and on demand, and where comprehensive sexual education and contraception were prevalent, Gosnell’s business model would have been a bust. Thanks to the Hyde Amendment, federal Medicaid funds are mostly barred from helping poor women pay for abortions. Some states pay out of their own funds. Pennsylvania does not.

Complete abortion-on-demand, taxpayer funding of abortion… it’s awfully convenient that the way to supposedly prevent virtually any abortion-related tragedy coincidentally happens to be whatever abortion supporters want anyway. Unfortunately, it’s undermined by a Guardian report last fall that abortion facilities were closing nearly as fast in pro-abortion blue states with Medicaid abortion coverage as they were in the states Denvir demonizes here. Hmm, so then what could the real cause be…

Soon after the grand jury report was released in 2011, I spoke to advocates and experts in Philadelphia who described how poor women, unable to afford an abortion often delay getting them, scrambling to put together necessary funds as their pregnancy progresses and abortions become more expensive and, ultimately, illegal. Susan Schewel, executive director of the Women’s Medical Fund, predicted that abortion access would become even more restricted and that women’s lives would be in danger.

Tom Ridge (Photo by Jim Wallace; via Public.Resource.Org)

Tom Ridge (Photo by Jim Wallace; via Public.Resource.Org)

So Schewel falls back on the same access canard that fails to account for closings that have nothing to do with abortion restrictions. More importantly, there are two players in the Gosnell saga who had far more direct culpability, but get a pass because they were on the “right” side. First, chief Gosnell reporter JD Mullane calls former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge (pictured right), an abortion supporter, the notorious butcher’s “chief enabler” for “decid[ing] to halt annual inspections of Pennsylvania’s abortion clinics”—and the grand jury report backs Mullane up:

After 1993 […] 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.

Second, if Ridge’s willful negligence was inexcusable, the National Abortion Federation’s was even worse. According to the grand jury report, their inspector saw Gosnell’s abysmal conditions, deemed his to be “the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected”…and “never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.”

Pro-abortion authorities chose to give Gosnell free reign. The abortion industry’s own watchdogs knew what he was doing, and chose not to stop him. But no, his crimes are still pro-lifers’ fault. If the abortion industry’s apologists were any more transparent, they’d be invisible.

“This was like a pre-Roe v. Wade clinic,” Schewel told me five years ago. “And I think that as abortion access becomes narrower and narrower and more and more limited, there will be more and more of these types of providers.”

Sorry folks, but this is a lie too. On top of the widely-debunked exaggerations of actual pre-Roe death numbers, in 1960 former Planned Parenthood director Mary Calderon admitted that 90% of illegal abortions were performed not by seedy characters with coat hangers, but by licensed physicians in good medical standing.

Later in the piece, Denvir also cites the debunked Texas study on self-abortions that has become infamous in more honest circles for the litany of methodological failings and shortcuts used to conjure up its conclusion that pro-life laws were forcing women to dangerously take matters into their own hands. But no matter. Good enough for self-righteous pro-abortion “journalism!” Anybody else noticing a pattern here?


There is one lesson to be drawn from the Philadelphia parallel—that the abortion industry cannot be trusted to police itself. Just as Kermit Gosnell’s crimes persisted thanks to years without consequences, the entire reason Texas’s law is before the Supreme Court is because Whole Woman’s Health doesn’t want to change from its own long record of negligence in maintaining medications and equipment, ignoring standards, deficient staffing, and more. Both situations boil down to women and children suffering because abortionists refuse to be accountable for their own actions.

Denvir closes by sneering that “Gosnell’s true lesson is that the anti-abortion movement’s supposed concern for women’s health is a farce.” But judging by everything above, he—and the rest of the media’s abortion propagandists—should stop projecting their own sins and reach for their nearest mirror.

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