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Pennsylvania Senate Passes Abortion Clinic Regulation Bill

Jul 27, 2011 | 06/07-June/July 2011 NRL News

NRL News
Page 14
June-July 2011
Volume 38
Issue 6-7


Pennsylvania Senate Passes Abortion Clinic Regulation Bill

By Dave Andrusko

It was like pulling teeth, but as this issue of NRL News went to press, the Pennsylvania Senate finally passed a clinic regulation measure that local pro-lifers described as, overall, good news for women’s health and safety. Senate Bill 732 included an amendment by state Senator Bob Mensch (R) that would ensure that abortion facilities abide by the safety standards of ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs).

The House had previously overwhelmingly passed its own version—HB 574. The measure now needs House approval and Gov. Corbett’s signature to become law. The question had been whether the Senate would settle for the least possible reform of abortion clinics in the Keystone State or get serious.

Change is always difficult, and it took abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” to get legislation moving. He was not the elephant in the room that everyone chose to ignore. His name—and his Women’s Medical Society—was invoked again and again in oft-times intense debate.

Gosnell is charged with eight counts of murder, but that only skims the surface of what a grand jury determined had gone on at his West Philadelphia abortion clinic.

The passage of Senate Bill 732 with Senator Mensch’s amendment is a response to the atrocities which took place at Gosnell’s abortion clinic,” said Maria Vitale, education director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an affiliate of National Right to Life. “Gosnell and his unlicensed staff are charged with the murders of seven newborn babies and one female patient, but the grand jury believes that Gosnell was actually responsible for the deaths of hundreds of babies, while harming untold numbers of women.”

For far too long, abortion facilities have been operating in the dark, Vitale said. “The women of Pennsylvania deserve better, and enhanced oversight of abortion centers is long overdue.”

The Senate bill includes an amendment advanced by state Senator Pat Vance that would require the independent Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study within 90 days of the bill’s becoming law to see how much it would cost abortion centers to abide by the standards that govern ASFs. “The Vance Amendment is unnecessary,” Vitale said. “Abortion centers should comply with basic outpatient surgery standards as a matter of course. The lives of women depend on it.”

The grand jury’s incredibly complete report is not “news” now. But we need to remember what those jurists found. Let me end with a few paragraphs from the beginning of a report that will curl your hair and break your heart

Section I: Overview

This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy—and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels—and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it. …

Murder in plain sight

With abortion, as with prescriptions, Gosnell’s approach was simple: keep volume high, expenses low—and break the law. That was his competitive edge. … At the Women’s Medical Society, the only question that really mattered was whether you had the cash. Too young? No problem. Didn’t want to wait? Gosnell provided same-day service.

The real key to the business model, though, was this: Gosnell catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere—because they were too pregnant.

… When you perform late-term “abortions” by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it “ensuring fetal demise.” The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that “snipping.”

Over the years, there were hundreds of “snippings.” Sometimes, if Gosnell was unavailable, the “snipping” was done by one of his fake doctors, or even by one of the administrative staff. But all the employees of the Women’s Medical Society knew. Everyone there acted as if it wasn’t murder at all.