One: that both organizations have failed to describe exactly what part of what Gosnell did falls under their condemnation. After all, Delaware Planned Parenthood has been found with similar filthy and unsafe conditions. Planned Parenthood’s abortionists regularly behead babies inside the womb at the same age of many of the babies Gosnell beheaded outside the womb. Would Planned Parenthood or NARAL care to explain the difference? I doubt it, because there isn’t much of one.
The second less surprising thing is that Cecile Richards and Ilyse Hogue (presidents of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, respectively) are using Gosnell’s horrific actions to – get this – condemn the regulation of abortion clinics. Come again? One would think that, if you yourself run upstanding, clean, healthy clinics, you would have no objection to regular inspections by the state or requirements that allow emergency personnel easier access to your procedure rooms. What exactly do Richards’s and Hogue’s objections tell us about the state of their own organizations and clinics?
The Huffington Post shared comments from Hogue:
Instead of encouraging more restrictions on reproductive rights, Hogue said, the Gosnell trial should serve as a warning about the consequences of denying women access to safe and affordable abortion care.
‘This is exactly what happens when you place undue restrictions and you try to shame women to keep them from exercising their constitutional right to safe and legal abortions,’ Hogue told The Huffington Post in an interview. ‘You make them victims to people like Gosnell, because in their desperation they’ll turn anywhere. You want to drive people like Gosnell out of business? Then you actually support medical facilities and the right of women to safe and legal abortion.’
Okay, wait. It’s not as if Pennsylvania is a state that highly restricts abortions – especially not before the Gosnell story came out. Women in Pennsylvania were not denied “access to safe and affordable abortion care.” (Though I can easily imagine that Hogue may be saying, in part, that abortions should not be banned after 23 weeks, even though babies can rather easily survive on their own after that point.) After all, if women can’t kill a baby who could easily live and breathe on his own (with help from the NICU), women are restricted! Their rights are being denied!
I fail to see any explanation of how Pennsylvania’s laws led women to Gosnell instead of to Planned Parenthood. Both were operated in Pennsylvania, and both were subject to the identical restrictions. It’s not as if women knew that Gosnell would commit horrors and flocked to him instead.
When Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman asked Cecile Richards a very pointed question, Richards went off into no-man’s land about how Planned Parenthood is “open to anyone to come and visit and see exactly what we do.”
AMY GOODMAN: … The report singling out Pennsylvania’s health and medical regulators for ignoring complaints against the clinic dating back to 1993. Can you talk about your response to this?
CECILE RICHARDS: Look, it’s a horrific story, Amy. And I think that what is—in some ways, to me, it really underscores the danger of what’s happening in Congress, which is, what we’re seeing is this attempt to move a legal medical procedure that many women need—abortion—and putting it in the back alley again and putting it—putting folks like Planned Parenthood, who are responsible medical providers—we have the highest-quality staff. We have medical doctors from the most prestigious medical schools. Our doors are open to anyone to come and visit and see exactly what we do. It’s so important that we have providers who will provide women with excellent care who need it. And I think the case in Pennsylvania is just a case in point. My fear is that if the House of Representatives is successful and they put Planned Parenthood completely out of business, which is their goal, we are going to see more stories like this, because we are going to see women who will be desperate to terminate a pregnancy, and they will go anywhere to do it.
Let’s think about this for a minute. If I went into a Planned Parenthood and asked to see “exactly what they do” – namely, an abortion procedure – do you really think they’d let me? Do you really think they’d let me freely walk around their clinics and inspect their refrigerators, freezers, plumbing pipes, trash cans, basements, and storage rooms? I doubt it. Would they really, truly want the public to know how many of their clinics are as filthy and unsafe as Planned Parenthood of Delaware?
Another NARAL rant goes off about how, since poor women can’t use federal Medicaid funds in Pennsylvania for abortions (note no mention of state funds here), and since they have to “scrape together hundreds or thousands of dollars to pay for an abortion,” they simply had to go to Gosnell. Whaaaat? Since when have Planned Parenthood clinics decided they were too good to accept scraped together cash? Or is this another admission of how Planned Parenthood and NARAL view the cash of poor women?
Here’s one of the many major problems with Hogue’s and Richards’s unrelated spin: if you don’t insist on regular inspections, clinics are “essentially in charge of inspecting themselves.” Horrific things happen when laws are passed but fail to be enforced. (And what better way to enforce a law than to inspect and see if regulations are actually being followed? I mean, it’s common sense, really.)
Planned Parenthood doesn’t get a free pass just because they claim to have the “highest-quality staff” from “the most prestigious medical schools.” If Planned Parenthood and NARAL really supported women; if they really wanted women to be safe and in a sanitary place, they would stop objecting to state inspections of abortion clinics. In fact, they would be the ones demanding these inspections, if they really wanted to prove how different they are.
The problem is, they’re not different at all. They’ve just been a little better about not getting caught…