Viva Voce
Somewhat Rambly at Times, Though...
Commenting To 
20th-Jan-2011 07:55 am - What They do Mean by "Choice"
elle4life: (Default)
I've been toying with the idea of making a blog dedicated to pro-life thoughts and observations and commentary for a while now. My original blog, on LJ, has no focus whatsoever, so mixed in with the pro-life commentaries are fandom ones, and personal ones, and quizzes and memes... Not an ideally focused blog, really. Two things make today an ideal day to start.

First, tomorrow is the annual "Blog for Choice" day which, as usual, the abortion apologists are expecting to set the blogosphere humming with since Saturday is the anniversary of Roe. This is usually a shameless celebration of death that tries to dress abortion up as if it weren't a bad, disgusting thing, and so, in response, a number of pro-life bloggers decided to get together and create the "Ask Them What they Mean by 'Choice' Blog Day."

The idea is simple. Any time any of us reads pro-aborts spouting their obscure “choice” rhetoric on a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, we call them out on it. We ask them to explain what the “choice” is.

Is it to eat carrots rather than broccoli? To wear red instead of blue? No, of course “choice” is code for killing babies. What’s their problem with the A-word?


While I'm not quite sure yet what direction I want this blog to take, this will open up a number of directions in which to go.

Second, yesterday, abortionist Kermit Gosnell was arrested on eight counts of murder. Seven of those for children he delivered, then stabbed to death with scissors. Since that time, the abortion apologists have been trying, as they always do whenever this happens, to blame pro-lifers for his actions.

I posted on this yesterday in my LJ, and touched on why blaming pro-lifers doesn't make any sense, but since the argument is brief, there's nothing wrong with repeating it here. When you have someone so gung-ho about performing abortions that they are willing to do it in illegal manners even when it is legal, it makes no sense whatsoever to blame those people who oppose it altogether. Don't get all circumlocutive, or rattle off some big long argument about how pro-lifers are making it harder to get abortions because of course we are. We'd like to make it impossible. This guy clearly doesn't share that goal, nor does the aim of the pro-life movement (the creation of a society that rejects abortion entirely on a conceptual level) remotely begin to be the sort of environment in which illegal abortionists could thrive.

Yesterday I used a thread on the WGW forum to get into this, and today I'm going to do the same thing, so last night, this post was made.

Spotts1701: So let me get this straight (based on the arguments on this I've seen elsewhere):

- an unqualified doctor (you can't perform abortions if you aren't a board-certified OB-GYN)
- using unqualified staff
- performing procedures that even the most generous readings of the law still consider illegal
- in a facility I wouldn't take my dog to

is somehow an indictment against the legal procedures out there?


Yes. It is.

And this is a conclusion supported by the Grand Jury report on Gosnell's mill. Since this report is 281 pages long in Adobe, I skipped to the section "How Did This Go On So Long?" and skimmed that before skimming the section entitled "Recommendations of the Grand Jury." The comments in both sections are enlightening.

So, let's look at some of the comments in the report.

The DOH attorneys offered multiple explanations to attempt to justify why the department does not license abortion clinics in the same manner as any other ASF (Ambulatory Surgical Facility). None of their explanations comports with the law or with common sense.

Two of their “justifications” are barely worth comment. One lawyer told us that there is always “push-back” from doctors who do not want to be licensed as ASFs. Not only is this argument irrelevant to any legal analysis, it is unpersuasive. We learned that there are fewer than 30 abortion providers in the entire state. These doctors should not be able to exert that much push-back. Moreover, the legitimate abortion providers who testified before the Grand Jury told us that they already comply with standards as demanding as those for ASFs. Abortion rights advocates told us the same thing – that licensing abortion clinics as ASFs would not be burdensome because clinics that are members of NAF, or associated with Planned Parenthood, already comply with the highest standards of care.

A second reason proffered by DOH attorneys for not licensing abortion clinics – that abortion is “controversial” – is just insulting. Abortion is a legal medical procedure. Any controversy surrounding the issue should not affect how the law is enforced or whether the Department of Health protects the safety of women seeking health care.


italics added

This is a huge comment given that in my comment yesterday I mentioned Virginia's DA Ken Cuccinelli trying to require VA abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ASFs in that state, and the abortion apologists exploded with rage. Rachel Maddow gave her rant about how Virginia was giving an example about "how rights are taken away in this country" and how it's "requiring clinics to operate as if they are hospitals which they are not." The rather alarming comment from this article was that "The Board of Health regulated abortion clinics from 1981 to 1984, when former governor Charles S. Robb (D) ended the practice, according to the opinion." And Tarina Keene with her "this is just brute force of executive power" to push an "ideological agenda."

Unfortunately, you meet this exact same sort of repudiation to regular regulatory procedures from the supposed "safe, legal, and rare" gang any time any regulations attempt to be introduced. In fact, the abortion apologist response to this has been to claim that abortion is over-regulated and there should be more and easier access to it.

That's not true either, though. Quoting again from the Grand Jury report.

DOH’s position is that one subsection of the abortion regulations – 28 Pa. Code §29.33 – contains all of the rules necessary to ensure that women will be protected. But patients at any other ASF are protected by 30 pages of rules and regulations. 28 Pa. Code §§ 51.1 et seq. Gosnell’s clinic, which operated for decades with impunity, constitutes more than sufficient proof that one subsection of regulations, without monitoring, licensing, or inspections, offers inadequate protection.


And even if the single subsection of regulations had been sufficient, it wouldn't have mattered.

The Grand Jury asked several DOH employees, attorneys as well as those charged with overseeing abortion facilities, why the department does not treat abortion clinics as ASFs when the language of the Health Care Facilities Acts is so clear. Their unsatisfactory answers left us bewildered.

The two attorneys closest to the issue – Senior Counsel Kenneth Brody, who advises the Division of Home Health, which currently oversees abortion clinics; and Senior Counsel James Steele, who advises the division that oversees ambulatory surgical facilities – both testified that they believe that abortion clinics such as Gosnell’s fit within the law’s definition of an ambulatory surgical facility. Their boss, Chief Counsel Christine Dutton, refused to acknowledge that the ASF definition would cover abortion clinics, but could not explain why it did not. She said she “would have to research that to determine if that were the case.”


We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.

The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.

Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design.

Many organizations that perform safe abortion procedures do their own monitoring and adhere to strict, self-imposed standards of quality. But the excellent safety records and the quality of care that these independently monitored clinics deliver to patients are no thanks to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. And not all women seeking abortion find their way to these high-quality facilities; some end up in a filthy, dangerous clinic such as Gosnell’s. There the patients have to depend on DOH oversight to protect them – as do babies born alive, and helpless but viable fetuses after 24 weeks of gestation. Yet no protection is forthcoming.

State health officials knew that Gosnell and his clinic were offering unacceptable medical care to women and girls, yet DOH failed to take any action to stop the atrocities documented by this Grand Jury. These officials were far more protective of themselves when they testified before the Grand Jury. Even DOH lawyers, including the chief counsel, brought private attorneys with them – presumably at government expense.

Gosnell’s clinic – with its untrained staff, its unsanitary conditions and practices, its perilously lax anesthesia protocols, its willingness to perform late-term abortions for exorbitant amounts of cash, and its routine procedure of killing babies after they were delivered by their unconscious mothers – offers a telling example of how horrendous a Pennsylvania facility can be and still operate with DOH “approval.”


italics theirs

Not only was this place under-regulated, the regulations that did exist weren't enforced. And this is not the only place these kinds of things happen. It wasn't even the first. Last year Rapin Osthanondh was convicted of manslaughter for killing one of his patients. And given the unanimous opposition to any kind of regulation or restrictions on abortion that come from the abortion apologists, it is only a matter of time before the next Kermit Gosnell with his serial-killer collection of baby feet turns up.

Put simply, you can draw a clear and direct line from the pro-choice opposition to regulations on abortion to Atlantic Women's Medical Services.

And lastly, let's not kid ourselves that Gosnell was somehow operating outside the system. The only thing he operated outside of, was the law. But the Pennsylvania Department of Health knew about him and did nothing to stop him--on purpose. The National Abortion Federation knew about the conditions in this clinic and did not do much to report it, and include Gosnell's other clinic in their membership. This clinic was not an accident, it was a deliberate creation, and was allowed to persist because as long as he was doing abortions, the pro-choice movement at large and the people in the DOH who shared that ideology were willing to look the other way. And this is not an unusual situation.

And let's not kid ourselves that what happened in that clinic was somehow unique, either.

One of the most bizarre things about this case is Dr. Gosnell’s fetal foot collection. He cut the feet off the fetuses he aborted and kept them in a row of jars. No civilized society can accept such an abomination, whether the fetuses in question were viable or not. Although current law prohibits abuse of corpse, there may be some question about how that law applies in the case of fetal remains.

To remove any such question, we recommend an amendment to the Abortion Control Act. The act contains a provision addressing fetal experimentation. Criminal penalties are provided, however, only for “experimentation” on a fetus that is as yet unborn, or on a fetus that is born alive. We believe that the statute should be changed to prohibit the mutilation of any fetal remains, whether or not viable or born alive.


Except we shouldn't really care if he cut off baby feet or not, because those weren't really babies, right? If he had done late-term abortions in another state, everyone would be saying exactly that. They're not people, they're just tissue, those only look like feet, but they aren't really feet. Even in this case, no one cares about those seven dead babies who were aborted after they were born. They only care that the abortions didn't take place in utero. It doesn't matter that those are the exact same children inside as they are out. It happened outside, and that's why everyone cares. But that's all. This same thing happens three thousand times a day in the US, and nobody cares about it then. The only reason we're hearing about this is because he finally killed somebody who matters.

This is what they mean by choice.
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