The appalling story of "House of Horrors" abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania is something most of us prefer not to think about. And I am not in this entry going to include anything gruesome. The gruesome information is all out there and available.
I'm also going to take it as read that I do not believe that Gosnell's murderous business would have been non-murderous and okay if it had been clean and had followed state requirements for staff, equipment, cleanliness, etc., nor that if he had not been killing women by gross malpractice (repeatedly), everything would have been all right. Abortion is murder always and everywhere, and that is my well-known position.
However, Gosnell's particular murder clinic might have been shut down many, many years sooner, and possibly some lives (both those of mothers and children) saved if he had not been shamefully, blatantly, and repeatedly protected by Pennsylvania bureaucrats. In fact, since his building didn't have sufficient access for a stretcher, he could have been refused a license to operate in the first place.
Section VI of the Grand Jury Report begins on p.140 (PDF software numbering, 137 on the page) and goes on for nearly eighty pages, telling the outrageous tale. Particularly prominent in the story is the name of one Janice Staloski, who had a number of important positions in the Pennsylvania Department of Health and protected Gosnell again and again.
Staloski began protecting Gosnell with her faux inspections of his facilities even during the Casey administration, but she attempted to blame the complete lack of inspection thereafter on the administration of Tom Ridge, which began in 1995. Staloski, who quite evidently was annoyed at the raid on Gosnell even after it was over, testified to the grand jury that the policy of non-inspection was motivated by a desire "not to be putting a barrier up to women" seeking abortions (p. 147). She said it. I didn't. And attorneys justifying the unequal treatment of abortion clinics also said that abortion is "controversial" (p. 163).
The Grand Jury report is devastating. The obvious fakery and the repeated cover-ups are everywhere. The DOH deliberately wrote regulations that don't expressly require it to inspect abortion clinics regularly, then it claimed that its hands were tied because the regulations (which it wrote) do not "authorize" regular inspections. One attorney tried to claim that DOH was "responsive" to complaints in a case when the only thing done (this was in a case of a woman's death at the clinic) was to ask Gosnell to resubmit his report of the death! The list of abuses of the system goes on and on, page after page. It is so bad that it almost makes one wonder if bribery was involved, though that may not have been necessary.
One other fact to which my attention was called by a correspondent: Gosnell was overtly performing forced abortions and was doing so with so little worry about legal repercussions that he expressly included a line in the paperwork that advised women regarding sedation that they should pay extra for more "comfort" sedation if they were being forced to have the abortion! (p. 55) At first when I heard this I thought Gosnell must have been crazy, as this involved leaving an explicit paper trail of his own practice of forced abortion. After reading section VI of the report, however, I realize that he knew full-well he had nothing to worry about. He was not being called to account. He had plenty of inductive evidence that all such things would be overlooked. Only when law enforcement finally got involved was DOH's hand forced, and then they acted none too willingly and complained in e-mails that they were "used." (p. 152) Even now, Gosnell hasn't been charged with carrying out forced abortions, though I assume that is illegal under PA law. He's been charged with plenty of other things, and I'm not blaming the Grand Jury. My guess is that until they have a specific case of a forced abortion to charge him with, they can't charge him. So he was perfectly safe putting that line in his paperwork.
Now, I have repeatedly said that pro-aborts turn the other way when there is evidence that even by their own lights women are being harmed, coerced, etc., by abortion. I call this the "choice devours itself" phenomenon. Pro-aborts start out defending abortion ostensibly for the woman's sake and end up not really caring tuppence even about the woman and even about her choice.
In this case, the direct evidence of coercion only came out after the evidence of everything else--the murders of born-alive infants, the gross malpractice that killed women, the multiple, egregious violations of health regulations--had already come to light. But if the bureaucrats had cared tuppence about women's health and well-being, they would have shut down the clinic long before, at which point presumably Gosnell's forced abortion practices would also have come to light and been stopped.
But they didn't really care. The most sickeningly believable aspect of the entire report comes in the statement that the only thing the DOH consistently tried to make Gosnell do was to file paperwork--in particular his (made up) reports of number of abortions that they needed to fill out their own required paperwork reporting on aggregate abortion numbers. (p. 171) So the machine of death ground on.
No doubt pro-choicers will find something to say to all of this. They are never at a loss for words for long. I hear that the despicable Amanda Marcotte is already in full spin mode, applying for a position as a one-woman electric power generator, asserting that somehow, somehow pro-lifers are responsible for the existence of Gosnell.
The facts say otherwise. In fact, the facts point to specific people with specific names, beginning (but by no means ending) with Janice Staloski, who (besides Gosnell himself) are responsible for Gosnell. And we have Ms. Staloski's own word for it that the hands-off policy towards abortion clinics, including Gosnell's, was motivated by the desire not to put a "barrier" in the way of women seeking abortion. In the name of which, Staloski and others apparently cared not one whit for the women who died of Gosnell's practices, those who developed infections, those who were infected with an STD at his clinic (p. 144), and those whose born-alive children were killed. I guess some people just have to suffer for the cause.
I do not quite understand why Janice Staloski cannot be prosecuted. One early news story said something that implied a statute of limitations issue, but I have not been able to follow that up. One thing is for sure: If she ever says a word about "women's lives," "women's bodies," or "women's choices," I hope everyone around her responds with appropriate disgust. Spitting in front of her feet would be a good start, and it's non-violent, too.
In cases like this, one wants (clearly, some members of the appalled Grand Jury want) to rise up and ask, "Where are the pro-choicers? Where are the feminists?" But don't bother. They're out there with Marcotte running the electric power generator.
The one that devours choice.