The events surrounding the arrest of Dr. Gosnell served as an eye-opener for pro-life and pro-abortion forces alike. One of the key factors revealed in the case is that agencies which should have protected the general public from the callous and willful negligence of Dr. Gosnell turned a blind eye to the facts, leaving not only hundreds of viable babies to be killed but also to have mothers put at extreme risk.
The grand jury report provides example after example of illegal activity on the part of Dr. Gosnell and his staff. It isn’t abortion that Dr. Gosnell performed in his “women’s health” facility…it was infanticide. He murdered viable babies after delivery by driving a pair of scissors into their neck and cutting their spinal cord, an act he called “snipping”. This “women’s health” facility didn’t even come close to upholding what would be considered industry norms as it relates to sanitation, sterilization, prevention of complications, or credentialing of personnel. And women suffered because of it.
Dr. Gosnell didn’t just kill babies. He was also a deadly threat to mothers. Not every abortion could be completed by inducing labor and delivery. On these occasions, Gosnell would attempt to remove the fetus himself. The consequences were often calamitous – though that didn’t stop the doctor from trying to cover them up.
One woman, for example, was left lying in place for hours after Gosnell tore her cervix and colon while trying, unsuccessfully, to extract the fetus. Relatives who came to pick her up were refused entry into the building; they had to threaten to call the police. They eventually found her inside, bleeding and incoherent, and transported her to the hospital, where doctors had to remove almost half a foot of her intestines.
On another occasion, Gosnell simply sent a patient home, after keeping her mother waiting for hours, without telling either of them that she still had fetal parts inside her. Gosnell insisted she was fine, even after signs of serious infection set in over the next several days. By the time her mother got her to the emergency room, she was unconscious and near death.
A nineteen-year-old girl was held for several hours after Gosnell punctured her uterus. As a result of the delay, she fell into shock from blood loss, and had to undergo a hysterectomy.
One patient went into convulsions during an abortion, fell off the procedure table, and hit her head on the floor. Gosnell wouldn’t call an ambulance, and wouldn’t let the woman’s companion leave the building so that he could call an ambulance.
Complaints against Dr. Gosnell that were submitted to local and state agencies were ignored. For political reasons. To promote abortion. For the sake of “women’s health”. Even when 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar died, the state still did nothing to shut down Dr. Gosnell’s “women’s health” facility.
Because we should support a woman’s right to “unrestricted reproductive freedom” and promote “women’s health”.
I can just hear the pro-abortion supporters crying out, “But that’s only one example…Dr. Gosnell is only one person. You can’t judge the entire industry by the actions of only one person”.
The evidence, provided here, here, and here indicate otherwise. And those are just recent cases of botched abortions reflecting the substandard medical practices of abortionists. Perhaps this list can shine more light on the matter.
For those who haven’t caught on to it yet, I’m using the phrase “women’s health” in a tongue-in-cheek manner. There’s nothing about the operation of substandard medical facilities engaging in illegal activity that promotes the quality of women’s health. In fact, we’re now to the point in our “progressive” stance towards the support of “women’s health” and “unrestricted reproductive freedoms” that women actually need patient advocates who are willing to fight against the lack of oversight being provided to the abortion industry.
Hence, the motivating factor for Americans United for Life (AUL) in development of policy proposals that can be used to act as a detriment in the totally negligible and irresponsible behaviors of abortionists. Americans United for Life develops policy proposals for a wide range of issues related to protection and preservation of the sanctity of human life. These issues include abortion, protection of the unborn, bioethics, end-of-life issues, and healthcare freedom of conscience. Each year since 2010, AUL has released a document titled “Defending Life” that provides an indepth state-by-state analysis of current policy positions at the state level. A copy of Defending Life 2013 can be downloaded via this link.
Defending Life 2013 includes four new policy proposals that are designed with the purpose in mind of bringing abortion centers into the light of modern-day healthcare provision by requiring that these providers meet standards that are commonly applied in similar areas of the healthcare industry:
- The Abortion Complication Reporting Act requires abortion centers to report all complications to the state. This legislation is critical because, without it, abortionists can keep abortion deaths from the public eye. Just this month, Maryland investigators—who were spurred to act by the death of Jennifer Morbelli in a late-term abortion—learned that another Maryland woman had died in an abortion center. Abortion workers were unable to respond to her cardiac arrest because the defibrillator was broken.
- · The Women’s Health Protection Act requires abortion centers to be licensed. A license may not be granted until the center passes a physical inspection. The Act also directs the state health department to adopt standards for abortion centers, including basic necessities like “areas for pre-procedure hand washing,” “emergency exits to accommodate a stretcher or gurney,” “areas for cleaning and sterilizing instruments,” and, most important, “required equipment, supplies, and medications that shall be available and ready for immediate use in an emergency.”
- · The Abortion Providers’ Privileging Act requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. A lack of admitting privileges can delay emergency treatment for women suffering from abortion complications.
- · Finally, the Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act defines abortion facilities as ambulatory surgical centers, subject to all of the regulations that are applied to non-abortion surgical clinics.
All four of the above are excellent proposals. The last two on the list have been near-and-dear to my own heart for quite a while due to the fact that these types of proposals require oversight from entities outside the realm of the abortion industry.
The Abortion Providers’ Privileging Act requires that abortionists apply for admitting privileges at a local hospital. Within a hospital, gaining admitting privileges relies on two processes, i.e. application and delineation of privileges. Application includes numerous requirements, including proof medical school graduation, internship, and residency; licensed to practice medicine; malpractice coverage; certificate of insurance; and a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report. The NPDB is a national repository of information pertaining to physician professional credentials. For accreditation purposes, hospitals must query the NPDB at least every two years during the renewal of clinical privileges to obtain information about a physician’s standing the health care community. The data bank serves as a means of flagging system for state licensing boards, hospitals, and other healthcare entities.
The delineation of privileges process tends to focus on the scope of services a physician can provide within the realm of that physician’s area of specialty.
These are standard processes in the realm of health care. They are designed to provide patient protection and to encourage that quality of care standards are kept high. Renewal of privileges usually takes place on a two-year schedule. Within that two year period of time, if changes have taken place that negatively impacts the physician’s professional status, then the hospital or other health care entity can respond in a way that ensures the general public is protected. Many of these health care entities, such as hospitals, have to go through an accreditation process in order to receive reimbursements from government payers, i.e. Medicare and Medicaid. Outside agencies, such as the Joint Commission, are involved in those accreditation processes. All in all, it serves the purpose of keeping physician’s who have stains on their record of one sort of another from abusing the system.
The latter of the four policy proposals, i.e. the Abortion Patient’s Enhanced Safety Act, relates to categorization of abortion facility as ambulatory service centers. Where this has the most impact is that it requires abortion facilities to meet the same standards similar facilities providing outpatient surgery would face. The Joint Commission provides a very good reference on what is included in these standards. Just to provide a few example, the standards include environment of care, emergency management, human resource, infection prevention and control, information management, life safety, medication management, National Patient Safety Goals, performance improvement, and rights and responsibilities of the individual. This is a partial list of the standards required for ambulatory surgery centers.
During recent years, in their effort to promote greater access to abortion-on-demand, the abortion industry has fallen way behind in meeting the standards that are considered “normal’ within the health care industry. Quality of care has become substandard at best. And it shows. Especially when it results in the deaths of patients and/or long-term complications for patients.
It’s become absolutely necessary for intervention of some sort that will turn back the tide of the totally irresponsible behaviors of providers within the abortion industry. It has to be done for the sake of protecting and preserving the lives of women who receive services from these providers.
And pro-life organizations like Americans United for Life are leading the way.