The Widdershins

Remain Calm, Etc.: Change Is Coming, But When Will It Get Here?

Posted on: April 18, 2013

Ch-ch-ch-changes!  Game changers.  Agents of change.  I’ve been hearing about this for years – nay. make that decades.

Somehow, someway, despite the multitude of positive changes in the lives of American women, there are still those who did not seem to get the memo, or even the meme.  Consider the case of Kermit Gosnell, M.D.

Dr. Gosnell attended Jefferson, one of the premier US medical schools.  He has been a practitioner of late term abortions for many years, and is currently on trial for murder.  ThWashington Post has an article about this, and is one of the few large newspapers that seem to have reported the event.  Jonathan Capehart wrote the article, and he includes the following paragraph from the Grand Jury 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.

What the hell?  With all of the restrictions placed on clinics, how did this hot mess get missed?  It certainly isn’t because of non-reporting.  Both the medical board and the  public health department received complaints, but declined to investigate.

Understand that  late-term abortion frequently involves the delivery of what amounts to a low-birth weight premature (yet viable, by medical standards) infant.  In most instances, the baby does not live very long.  According to patient and staff reports, Dr. Gessner’s patients were encouraged to pass their foetus while sitting on a toilet.  Should they deliver them in a non-watery setting, Dr. Gessner dispatched the living infants by severing the spinal cords with scissors.  Despite all of the obvious problems, this outrage continued until  a federal prescription drug raid took place.  Amazing how this works – prescription drug abuse = raid, dead women = no raid.

The New York Times Sabrina Tavernise also quotes the Grand Jury in her article:

A grand jury report issued on the same day offered its own theory on why so little happened for so long.

“We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color,” the report said, “and because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.”

Sad, but true.  Women who are poor/ of color/undocumented have little in the way of protections.  The infants were the result of late- term abortion, which is a knotty problem in and of itself.  In all honesty, as pro-choice as I am, I still have a problem with late-term abortions.   If performed at all, the sole reason should be the life of the mother.  Should the infant be born alive, I honestly believe that you have a live birth that should be treated as such.

Practitioners such as this are the exception that proves the right-wing meme of dead infants abounding in murderous conditions.  The damnedest thing about is that the right-wing insistence upon lack of regulation is what permitted this to flourish.

I am a women, and I cannot keep calm about this.  Neither should you.

This is an open thread.

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18 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc.: Change Is Coming, But When Will It Get Here?"

Oh, no doubt., I will also bet they were unlicensed as well.

Chat and Pat I read the Atlantic article which broke this horrible story. It is very gruesome. Yes, the “assistants” were unlicensed.

Chat you are so right that late term abortion is an extremely difficult ethical issue, and a painful discussion which needs to happen now. I once questioned the legal counsel of a major Boston hospital about the procedure and she told me that if a live birth occured, the infant would be given comfort care and there would be an ethics panel assembled immediately. This hospital would only perform them up to 17 weeks, which is not really late term, but they will perform later abortions if the mother’s life is in danger. Is that the standard in most hospitals?

@1 Pat I think it does happen more frequently than we suppose. I’m surprised Gosnell got caught for insurance fraud because he was making the women pay cash. Most of them were undocumented, uninsured, or both. I wouldn’t be surprised if several of his referrals trace back to legitimate clinics and physicians, and that may be the real reason behind the institutional coverup.

Oy, horrible story. I’m actually surprised my right-wing friends aren’t screaming about it at the top of their lungs.

@3: The usual standard is 19.5 weeks. As for a live delivery, by me you’ve got yourself a baby there. Nothing a Bioethics committee can say will change that.

@6: Oh, they are. And the lack of coverage by the MSM has fueled their conspiracy theorists anew. Fox is all over it as well.

I find this reprehensible beyond belief if true. Mind you all the facts need to be presented before crucifying the doctor – which is what he deserves if indeed he indulged in these practices. My main concern is the blowback on abortion. As you all probably know (cause I’ve mentioned it enough), I wanted an abortion many, many years ago because something just wasn’t right. I was forced to carry for 9 months only to deliver conjoined twins who could not live. I should have been able to stop that in it’s tracks but because of the nonsense of men controlling women’s bodies I was stymied. Abortion should be available and women should have choices. but doctors should not be murdering viable children. A dialogue needs to occur on health care, and care of children. Just my two cents. P.S. as you all know I went on to have two very healthy, happy and very tall children. Where’s Socal – haven’t seen her for awhile and Laker is regrettably absent.

When this story appeared two years ago, I was appalled and utterly revolted by the whole mess. It is criminal malfeasance that this monster was allowed to operate without a hint at intervention. Now it has become a story and cause celebre for those with an agenda.

Chat is absolutely right — we shouldn’t be quiet about this — the health agencies, licensing agencies, and anyone who turned a blind eye to these travesties should be given a court date right behind Gosnell. Somehow being a poor woman is license for being disposable to society. This has to end.

Hear, hear Prolix.

To be honest I had not heard anything about this and I’m just floored.

I’m with y’all in that late term abortions kind of give me pause unless it is because of the health of the mother.

And yes, the right wing will have a field day with this.

They are having a field day. I heard of it when a Fundie friend called shrieking that the pro-abortion media was suppressing the story.

chat@12: Oh dear Lord. 🙄

Mary Luke is this the article in The Atlantic you were referring to? When I googled, there were several Atlantic articles.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/04/why-dr-kermit-gosnells-trial-should-be-a-front-page-story/274944/

It gets worse and worse. Sepsis post abortion is reportable, and it wasn;t. Gonorrhea is reportable, and it wasn’t. There were enough red flags to make a circus tent, but no one noticed and apparently, no one cared.

chat@15: And it seems from the Atlantic article I listed that reports were made to the state officials or boards and no one did a thing about them.

@14 Yes Fredster. Be warned. The photographs are graphic and gruesome.

@15 There’s also the fact that Gosnell apparently was raided for oxycontin prescription abuse. Once drug abuse is involved anything can happen, and in this case, it’s beyond our worst imagining. The article makes it seem as if Gosnell just gave up on any shred or medical or human ethics at some point and went for the cash.

Mary Luke, yeah, I went ahead and read it and the photos were awful.

I agree wholeheartedly with you about the “doc’s” motives.

I’m stunned – all of those complaints about unsafe, non-sterile, downright murderous conditions yielded nothing. Oxycontin abuse? We’re on it!

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