Preventing Another Gosnell


The murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell began on March 18, but until Friday most people weren’t aware of it. Thanks to Kirsten Powers’ powerful USA Today editorial and a well-attended tweet-fest, the story was finally and thankfully forced into the mainstream media. Gosnell

I probably don’t need to repeat the awful details of the Gosnell’s “practice.” But then again, they bear repeating, because we cannot talk about this enough. Women, children, humanity deserve well-informed individuals who will fight against the horror and injustice that was done in the name of “women’s rights” and “choice.”

At Gosnell’s practice, infants were beheaded. Dead baby feet were kept in jars. One staff member reported a child screaming after birth before being killed. Another said a worker played with a baby before killing it.

Gosnell’s clinic hadn’t been inspected for 17 years. He violated State laws. He disregarded basic standards of safe medical practice. All while he made a reported $1.8 million a year from his “practice.”

This is probably the biggest abortion story since Roe v Wade. As my boss Greg Pfundstein, President of the Chiaroscuro Foundation said in an email today:

If there was ever a story that called for conversation on abortion, regulations, and the safety of pregnant women, this is it.

And yet there was “precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page.”  Until citizen outrage brought results, and media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and FOX began covering the Gosnell story.

But the pressure is still on for the media to get the story right, with details and facts that expose Gosnell’s horrific “practice,” along with what policy and regulation could protect women and children from such atrocities.

This is the conversation we need to be having.

Because the truth is, there are some who think what women need is more abortion.

Take for example New York. In New York City, 40 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, and New York State remains the abortion capitol of the nation. Yet, Governor Cuomo is committed to expanding abortion under the guise of “women’s equality,” claiming he is “codifying federal law.”

But as Pfundstein explains again:

628x471Governor Cuomo’s plans for abortion expansion would establish abortion as a fundamental right. As my friend Helen Alvaré explains, this goes far beyond federal jurisprudence, which treats abortion as only a liberty interest. This would make the passage of any common sense restrictions—restrictions supported by vast majorities of New Yorkers and Americans, like informed consent, 24-hour waiting periods, and basic regulation of abortion clinics—impossible. Even more disturbing is Governor Cuomo’s push to allow non-physicians to perform abortions, a notion which is in no way indicated by federal law. That idea that this unnecessary expansion could possibly make women safer is, prima facie, absurd.

Bill Hammond of the New York Daily News noted that while “[Governor Cuomo’s] plan would not legalize anything Gosnell is accused of doing,.. neither does it take any positive steps to prevent future Gosnells — by, for instance, setting standards under which professionals can perform abortions and under what conditions.”

Gosnell’s “practice” is an exception. Yet, it should be noted that just last week a Delaware Planned Parenthood was forced to close its doors due to accusations of similar unsanitary conditions. Former nurses at the clinic disclosed that the abortionist wouldn’t wear gloves, instruments weren’t sterilized, and tables were left bloody and unclean. Women were subjected to many infections, including potentially hepatitis and AIDS. To echo Bill Hammond, steps should be taken to “prevent future Gosnells.”

Proponents of Roe v. Wade are often cited as wanting abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.” In these cases, all we’re getting is legal.

Yet as Pfundstein explains, many, many Americans—both pro-life and pro-choice—are in favor of sensible restrictions on abortion.

Even in New York, where a majority identify themselves as pro-choice, there is a strong consensus in favor of more restricted abortion. According to a poll we commissioned, conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, more than three-quarters of New Yorkers support restrictions on abortion, such as informed consent and parental consent. And only 17 percent think women should have access to abortion through all nine-months of pregnancy.

Round-two of the #Gosnell tweet fest is an opportunity to inform the public and the media about Gosnell and the wish for less abortion, not more, across our nation and in New York.

Here are some tweets to add to the conversation:

  • Prevent more #Gosnell oppose Cuomo’s abortion expansion @TimesUnion @AlbanyLG #prolife #prochoice #Cuomo
  • More abortion is not women’s equality/oppose Cuomo’s abortion expansion #Gosnell #prolife #prochoice #Cuomo
  • NY wants more restrictions, not more abortion. #Gosnell oppose #Cuomo abortion expansion @NYDailyNews @AlbanyLG

Let’s continue this conversation. Expose the Gosnell trial. Oppose Cuomo’s abortion expansion.

Learn more about the Chiaroscuro Foundation’s efforts in New York at and

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Meg T. McDonnell is the Communications Director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation.  She is also the coordinator at Women Speak For Themselves. She was a 2011 Robert Novak Fellow. Her writing has appeared in a variety of Catholic and secular publications including The Washington Post, The Public Discourse, Family Foundations, The Catholic New World, MercatorNet, and The International Business Times. 

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