This week brought us the conviction of Kermit Gosnell, a man whom I refuse to recognize as a medical doctor and whom the state of Pennsylvania should have shut down long ago. Gosnell, apparently, didn’t do abortions very well; so he had his staff dope up his patients with various drugs so that they would deliver the fetus on their own (at which point, legally, it magically becomes a baby because she’s now outside of the mother) and then he or another staff member would kill the fetus-now-baby. Had the same been done to the fetus/baby inside the womb, it would have been just another routine abortion. Nonetheless, these late term atrocities make real what is abortion at any stage.
When the Philadelphia Grand Jury submitted its report on Gosnell’s clinic, most pro-life activists and leaders thought that there were less than five doctors nationwide who performed late-term abortions, i.e. abortions done after the fetus is viable. (If the mother wanted that same baby and delivered her prematurely, that baby would be taken to the NICU.)
Gosnell made it clear that there was at least one more doctor who terminated the lives of very developed fetuses. (Fetus, incidentally, is a Latin word that can be used to describe both the born and unborn child; so the truth comes forth even as people would try to obfuscate the humanity of the unborn.) My response to his conviction? There are many more such doctors. This week of Gosnell’s conviction also brought news of another so-called doctor who appears to be just like him. This time it’s Douglas Karpen who runs three abortion clinics in Texas. Former employees from one of his clinics in Houston have come forth with testimony and evidence. It’s disturbing beyond words. But I firmly believe that it should be shown on all of our media outlets so that we can have an honest debate about abortion. Sanitizing it or ignoring it doesn’t give us an honest discussion.
Since Gosnell went to trial, there have been a lot of questions from pro-lifers. We don’t want another woman or her child to go through the same horror as the patients of Gosnell, now Karpen, and quite possibly many other abortionists. After all, legalizing abortion was supposed to eliminate the horrors of “back alley abortions.” Instead legalization has just given these criminals the cover that they need to do irreparable harm to thousands of women and fetuses/babies.
So what do we do? My suggestion: Take the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report and use it as a playbook. Sure, you might get legislation passed, but these doctors don’t bend their practices to the law. They act regardless of the law which ironically gives them cover…for a while.
The Grand Jury Report lists numerous instances where local and state government agencies failed to follow through on reports received. Want to find out who’s the Gosnell in your community? Start asking around. Just recently, I learned of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic that shut down. In that same neighborhood there were, as in every neighborhood, other people who saw the comings and goings of the clinic, including four ambulances in recent months on the days that the clinic did abortions. Surely, PP isn’t calling an ambulance because they ran into a crisis while handing out condoms or some other form of contraception. And, guess what? Those ambulances took patients somewhere, presumably to a hospital. And most states have some sort of reporting requirement when a patient shows up with a botched procedure done outside the hospital. Who makes and gets those reports? Ultimately, they have to end up at a local or state agency, probably an office of the Department of Health. What happens to those reports? This is the sleuth work that needs to be done by pro-life activists on the ground everywhere. Additionally, there are those who work with post-abortive women. Without compromising the privacy of any woman, they can indicate where many of these atrocities took place. And some women are at the point in their own recovery where they might want to help bring their assailant to justice.
Listen to the testimony of the three informants in Texas. How did Karpen treat his patients?
“He would never tell the woman [of complications, like a ripped cervix].”
“If she asked too many questions, he would ask for her to be put to sleep.”
The informants, by the way, filed reports with the Texas Medical Board which concluded that there was no evidence that he broke the law or acted inappropriately. (At least one member of Gosnell’s staff also filed a report.) But there’s a record of reports and now the District Attorney can go forward with an investigation. Pro-life activists can help collect that documentation, as was done in Texas, and get the process moving so that the work of these criminals can be exposed, the criminals themselves can be brought to justice, and the whole truth about abortion can be exposed. As long as the truth is hidden, we won’t be able to stop abortion. Abortion, like slavery did, persists because a lot of lies are believed and too many people would rather not talk about the truth.