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Thursday, May 9, 2013
The trial of Kermit Gosnell has shaken the conscience of our nation.
The abortionist, currently awaiting judgment in a Philadelphia courtroom, is charged with the murder of four newborn infants, whom he allegedly killed with scissors after they’d been born alive, as well as with the death of a Virginia woman.
His clinic has been described as a “house of horrors,” complete with blood-stained, unsanitary equipment, dirty operating tables and untrained, unlicensed staff performing medical procedures.
The abortion lobby claims that the Gosnell clinic is an outlier, but there has been no shortage of recent examples of abortion industry negligence and even death resulting from lack of oversight. Breaking news in Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, New York, Washington, D.C., and Illinois shows the failure of the abortion industry to self-regulate.
There is also cause for concern in Virginia. According to the health commissioner’s report to the State Board of Health last June, more than 80 violations were found during inspections of just nine abortion facilities.
These violations include: blood-stained medical equipment and operating tables; a doctor doing exams with unwashed hands; improper disposal of fetal remains, including frozen blood and remains at the bottom of the freezer after contents had spilled out of an unclosed plastic bag; staff failure to disinfect blood-stained equipment and recovery cots between patients; splattered, dried blood in different colors and thicknesses on an exam table and between exam table cushions; improper storage and dispersion of drugs; and staff failure to properly sanitize equipment and distinguish between dirty and clean instruments.
These violations were found even with advance notice of inspection — proof positive that the abortion industry is in need of thorough and consistent safety regulation.
Fortunately, the Virginia Board of Health recently voted for increased health and safety standards for abortion facilities. Included in the regulations are periodic, unannounced inspections, which will help hold clinics accountable and guard against repeat violations. The new standards also require hallways and doorways to be wide enough for EMS personnel to access women in the event they suffer complications from the abortion procedure.
This is a much needed provision. When Virginia resident Karnamaya Mongar died at Gosnell’s facility in 2009 from a Demerol overdose, emergency medical services were detained for more than 20 minutes as they sought a way to remove her from the cramped and cluttered building, where the emergency exit was padlocked.
Those in the business of fact-checking have recently — and bizarrely — accused Women Speak Out Virginia of trivializing the new regulations with a radio ad campaign, which aims to increase awareness of the conditions inside Virginia abortion facilities, as well as gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s opposition to the Board of Health’s new regulations.
Far from trivialize, the ad makes clear that women’s safety is paramount. In the age of Kermit Gosnells, the increased regulation of abortion facilities should not be an issue of partisan dispute. Virginia women expect a sanitary environment when walking into a hospital — even nail parlors and hair salons. The same cannot currently be assumed about the commonwealth’s abortion facilities. That much has been made clear by the board of health.
Planned Parenthood, which performed more than 333,000 abortions in the U.S. last year and has seven clinics in Virginia, has led the opposition to the new measures. Planned Parenthood has also made more than $40,000 in in-kind contributions to McAuliffe.
The next occupant of the governor’s mansion will be responsible for enforcing the new regulations — which is why McAuliffe’s opposition to protecting women’s health should give every Virginia voter pause.
It was the turning of blind eyes that first allowed Kermit Gosnell to go unchecked. Under pro-life Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Bob Casey, Keystone State clinics were subject to yearly inspections. When pro-choice Republican Gov. Tom Ridge took over, clinic inspections were abandoned for political reasons: the Ridge administration believed inspections would put up a barrier to abortion access. Gosnell’s clinic went uninspected by state authorities for more than 17 years.
When it comes to the abortion lobby and pro-choice politicians, any concern for women’s safety has clearly been eclipsed by unbending support for the institution of abortion. Women in Virginia cannot afford to elect a governor in 2013 who, in order to appease his abortion industry campaign funders, does not support the most basic measures for women’s health.
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