Did Limited Access to Abortions Keep Kermit Gosnell in Business?

On one hand, the responses of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) have not surprised me. Because they are advocacy groups, I expected them to defend abortion even as they applauded the verdicts.

On the other hand, I wondered if perhaps they would seek some common ground. Surely, everyone should be able to agree that killing babies after they are born should be condemned.  In addition, it seems that all concerned should welcome strict enforcement of laws regulating abortion as a means of finding and stopping any future Gosnell-like clinics.

Such reactions are not happening.

Planned Parenthood tweeted:

NARAL issued a statement missing any direct reference to the babies murdered by Gosnell. The statement begins by citing Ilyse Hogue, president of the group:

“Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty and will get what he deserves. Now, let’s make sure these women are vindicated by delivering what all women deserve: access to the full range of health services including safe, high-quality and legal abortion care.”

It seems to me that these statements confirm the worst fears of every pro-life advocate. Whether deliberate or not, by failing to even mention the murder of infants, these groups communicate a callous disregard for the lives of these children.

Apparently hoping to use the verdict to advance the cause, a NARAL tweet blames pro-life sentiment for Gosnell’s crimes:

NARAL spinners find numbers they like, but regarding both regulation and funding, they miss the facts of this case. Regarding funding, sources existed to pay for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic or for options other than his clinic. Delaware Pro-Choice Medical Fund paid for abortions at Gosnell’s clinic as well as at other abortion providers around the Philadelphia area. In fact, this funding source and others helped keep Gosnell going.

In 2007, three representatives from the Delaware Pro-Choice Medical Fund toured Gosnell’s Womens Medical Society in West Philadelphia. They saw nothing wrong. Even though the representatives were greeted by two people who called themselves doctors, the funders did not check credentials and continued to pay for abortions at Gosnell’s house of horrors.

When Gosnell’s crimes were first exposed in 2011, pro-choice advocates blamed the Hyde Amendment for driving women to low-cost providers like Gosnell. At that time, I responded that Gosnell had access to funding for the women who were seeking his services. As noted, various medical funds paid for abortions at his clinic. As this rate sheet demonstrates, it appears he billed Medicaid for allowed abortions. I suspect he stretched the truth on some of those billings.

As is now obvious, none of these funding sources provided adequate oversight. The funding was there but the horrors continued.

Despite the smoke screen from NARAL, one central issue in this case, whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, is the appalling lack of regulation of a so-called medical clinic.

The issue here is oversight, or rather the lack of it, and let’s not forget why that oversight was lacking. Kenneth Brody, Department of Health lawyer said there was consideration given to restarting abortion clinic regulation in 1999. However, the state did not resume inspections. Why? Brody told the grand jury:

…there was a concern that if they did routine inspections, that they may find a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [the standards for getting patients out by stretcher or wheelchair in an emergency], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion.

Worries over access kept Gosnell unregulated. Generally, pro-choice advocacy groups oppose laws which tighten oversight on clinics. Why should those who operate properly fear rational regulation? Only those acting in the darkness fear the light. For the sake of women and babies, let the light shine.

 

  • Emily k

    What exactly is your endgame here? Women are not going to stop getting abortions. They’ve been getting them for almost as long as they’ve been getting pregnant. Womb control is not going to “save babies” any more than it will rescue sad puppies.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Emily K – I can’t speak for anyone else, but my endgame is to promote regulation and oversight of abortion clinics on par with other out-patient medical clinics. When I interviewed NAF and NNAF reps in 2011 they both said they oppose that. I can’t see how that is rational or safe.

    I recognize that some pro-life advocates want the Gosnell verdict to lead to a reexamination of the civil rights status of abortion. However, that is not going to happen anytime soon. What all should be able to agree about is the value of living infants and the need for state oversight where private oversight didn’t work, and state oversight wasn’t provided for political reasons.

  • ken

    “Why should those who operate properly fear rational regulation? ”

    Because not all of the regulations are rational. Many are designed to discourage/inhibit a woman’s ability to have an abortion. Now it would be nice if both sides were to try to use this tragedy to improve rational regulation of medical access, but neither of them are. Sadly the more vocal pro-choice/pro-life advocates are simply trying to use this case to push their own agendas.

    Although, I disagree that the problem was a lack of regulation, rather it was a lack of oversight (or enforcement) of the regulations. And in that case, NARAL has probably left out their own culpability in why Gosnell was allowed to operate as long as he was.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    ken – I changed my wording to oversight in the post to reflect that the state did not do what it should have done by law. However, as I mentioned to Emily, I recall talking to a Health Dept staffer who told me that abortion clinic regulations are more lax than those governing out-patient medical clinics. I don’t know what the situation is now, but I can’t see any reason why an abortion clinic should meet lesser standards than an out-patient clinic doing other procedures.

  • ken

    Warren says:

    May 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    “I recall talking to a Health Dept staffer who told me that abortion clinic regulations are more lax than those governing out-patient medical clinics. ”

    I doubt his statement. And you should as well. At best I suspect he was limiting his comments to a sub-set of the overall regulations. Ex. to my knowledge I know of no out-patient medical clinics (other than those that do abortions) that are required to enforce a “waiting period” before a patient can undergo a medical procedure.

    I know I would have no problem if you threw out ALL the regulations regarding abortion, and simply said they had to follow the exact same regulations as outpatient surgical clinics.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ken

    You say “I know I would have no problem if you threw out ALL the regulations regarding abortion, and simply said they had to follow the exact same regulations as outpatient surgical clinics.”

    That’s your view. Fair enough.

    But I see a big problem here. The surgical removal of, say, a cancer is a very clear cut matter. Noone in their right mind would want to have a cancerous growth in their body, would they? But an foetus (or, as some of us would say, unborn offspring/child) is a very different matter: while a woman might, for whatever reason, believe she should/must have an abortion, there will also be a part of her that will want her offspring to survive and prosper. This is just how things really are (‘instinct’ if you like – something we ignore at our peril), and why – for a prospective mother – abortion must be a very tough issue, and very different from surgical treatment. Maybe it’s not so much a matter of ‘regulations’, but more one of ‘psychological approach’?

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren: Surely, everyone should be able to agree that killing babies after they are born should be condemned.

    Please see this: Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

    Found here: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Let Planned Parenthood set up and finance a voluntary inspection regime, financed by pro-choicers. Abortion is their thing, so let them take the moral responsibility for making it safe and rare.

  • Richard Willmer

    A very ‘libertarian’ view, Tom – and I can sort of see where you are coming from. However, I would sound a (somewhat loud) note of ‘caution’: there are those instances (and they are, I believe, not few in number) where the physical and/or mental health of the pregnant woman is a key issue, and I would take the view that ‘society’ should ensure that there is proper provision for a woman in such a situation. I would also be of the opinion that, in what I see as pretty fundamental issue, we should aim for broad social consensus on what laws and standards should be.

  • ken

    Richard Willmer says:

    May 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    “there will also be a part of her that will want her offspring to survive and prosper. This is just how things really are ”

    No that is how you believe them to be. While what you say may be true for some women, that certainly doesn’t mean it is true for every woman.

    “for a prospective mother – abortion must be a very tough issue, and very different from surgical treatment.”

    For some woman I’m sure. Likewise, for many women, an unwanted pregnancy may be a very tough issue, regardless of the outcome they choose. Further, many medical conditions may cause psychological issues, including cancer, and MD’s should take that into account with their treatment.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    A very ‘libertarian’ view, Tom – and I can sort of see where you are coming from.

    Not really libertarian. I think it’s a straight question of ethics–work for abortion, assume some moral responsibility for its consequences.

    On the other side, if you work against abortion–say, crisis intervention–you certainly incur an obligation to help with unwed mothers homes, adoption services. And you can bet pro-choicers heartily agree with the latter! Well, the ethical door swings both ways.

    However, I would sound a (somewhat loud) note of ‘caution’: there are those instances (and they are, I believe, not few in number) where the physical and/or mental health of the pregnant woman is a key issue

    Well, that “health” business is a sneaky nose under the tent I largely reject. Few abortions are medically necessary, and the % of women who suffer psychological harm could easily be greater than the %age who suffer psychological harm by having the baby.

    On that one, I don’t expect an honest answer from the ideologically corrupt social science establishment for a long long time. If ever.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abortion-has-no-mental-health-benefit-poses-more-risks-for-unwanted-pregnan/

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ken

    I would ‘turn round’ your response to my comment, and say that you are believing what you want to believe. Or maybe we both are. But the ‘survival instinct’ (which usually extends to our offspring) is something very real and leads me to see abortion as something that essentially ‘counter-intuitive’.

  • ken

    Richard Willmer says:

    May 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    “say that you are believing what you want to believe. ”

    Really, specifically, what is it you think I am “believing what I want to believe”?

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Tom

    We’ve discussed, in a general sense, this topic at some length previously, and I think we can leave things where they are at least for now. You know my perspective and I know yours.

    The article you cite is published in a medium that clearly has a particular ‘agenda’. There have been other studies …

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ken

    … that (and I quote) “that certainly doesn’t mean [what I said] is true for every woman.”

    Can one really be so certain? Human psychology is a complex matter, and some aspects of it are very deep=seated, and easily covered by ‘other stuff’.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    The article you cite is published in a medium that clearly has a particular ‘agenda’.

    Genetic fallacy, just like rejecting anything reported by Fox News. Find the original study [if you can; the mainstream press is completely uninterested in the truth of the matter] then. As I said, honest inquiry is impossible on this, but if you’re going to try to slip the questionable “health of the mother” bit into the discussion, I object.

  • ken

    Richard Willmer says:

    May 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    “Can one really be so certain? ”

    Because everyone is different. Because I’ve read of many cases where parents (not just mothers) didn’t have a “survival instinct” for themselves or their children. It was you making absolute claims about women’s “survival instincts” w/o any evidence.

  • Richard Willmer

    Maybe you’re right, ken. But I think that, generally, the ‘survival instinct’ is very strong, even it is ‘buried’ by other considerations.

    It think may also have slightly misunderstood what I actually wrote, which was “there will also be a part of her that will want her offspring to survive and prosper.” That ‘part’ may be small, and less significant than ‘other considerations’, but can really be certain that it is never there in certain individuals?

    Anyway, I doubt very much either of us can ‘prove’ the other one wrong. It’s not really a matter that can be ‘proved’. So I’m happy to leave things here and move on.

  • Richard Willmer

    (Sorry about the poor wording and typos above … it’s late here, and I was trying to do two things at once! But I think the meaning is clear.)

  • David M.

    I’ll probably regret jumping into such a volatile discussion, but here goes. I want to challenge you, Richard, on your proposed requirement of a waiting period. I am reminded of my own situation in which, by state law, I was required to wait a full year after separating from my wife before I could file for a no fault divorce. In principle, it sounds good for people to try to save their marriages. But in my case, the decision to separate and divorce was years in the making. By the time I separated, there was no longer any conceivable possibility in my mind of recovering the marriage. By analogy, who’s to say the a woman coming for an abortion hasn’t already gone through a self-imposed prolonged “waiting period.” Would it be good in such a case to prolong her psychological agony further? I’m not sure one size fits all regardless of our biases around abortion.

  • David M.

    Warren, with all due respect, is it possible you are suffering a bit of confirmation bias as you view the responses of ardently pro-choice groups? Is there perhaps a prejudice that their responses will be inadequate? It feels to me as if you, perhaps like them, are using this event to promote a cause. If that’s what you want to do, then so be it. Just don’t pretend your promotion of your cause is a spontaneous reaction to what they are actually saying.

  • Warren

    David M. – Good question. As far as their responses being inadequate, I doubt I would have written about it now if PP and NARAL had said something about justice for the infants and called for stringent oversight of clinics. I have little respect for the responses of NARAL especially which I addressed in the post. The cause I think is indicated by the Gosnell tragedy is that the state must oversee abortion clinics in the same manner they oversee medical clinics.

  • David Blakeslee

    I don’t think Warren pretends…

    Oversight of medical facilities seems like a non-partisan issue, unrelated to confirmation bias…unless the bias is that all medical facilities need to be supervised.

    Regarding divorce, there is nearly always a waiting period, some are longer than others, except New Hampshire.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/money-gallery/2011-11-10/best-and-worst-states-for-getting-divorced.html

  • David M.

    @David Blakeslee

    I respect Warren so I’ll not press that point.

    Yes, I know the waiting periods are common. I question the wisdom, though, of using the law to regulate people’s psychological processes.

  • Richard Willmer

    I don’t think I suggested waiting times, David.

    I would agree with you that trying to use ‘law’ to regulate people’s thoughts and feelings is – well – not a very good idea, to say the least. But I think there may be a role for the use of laws to attempt to mitigate the effects of ‘psychologically-difficult’ situations … though I’m not sure how that might work in practice.

    There is always an element of ‘one size fits all’ in a law, I suppose. Not quite sure how one can get round that …

  • JCF

    I’m trying to figure out what all of the above has to do w/ your (very well-worded) headline, Warren. It’s the reason I clicked to view your blog today.

    “Did Limited Access to Abortions Keep Kermit Gosnell in Business?”

    Yes. Duh. Yes.

    The right to SAFE&LEGAL abortion is under attack. Relentless attack, by those who would deny women the right to control their own bodies (a woman’s body doesn’t end at her outer uterine wall!). Forgive me, *and* NARAL, for not phrasing the Gosnell “Preview of Anti-Choice Police-State to Come!” horror-show pressers in appropriately women-minimizing language. Give me a break!

  • ken

    Richard Willmer says:

    May 15, 2013 at 3:39 am

    “I don’t think I suggested waiting times, David.”

    I was the one who brought up waiting times and I did it to show how abortion clinics have different (but not necessarily less) regulations than other medical clinics and how they are singled out for regulations that have more to do with politics than medicine.

  • David Blakeslee

    Government gets involved when we do not trust a person’s own conscience…and sometimes that is a very good thing.

    Generally, it is easier for government and individuals when a person’s conscience is effective at helping him make sound, compassionate and reasoned decisions. It is cheaper, less intrusive and has much more respect for personal dignity when we can trust people to make sound moral decisions.

    When government funds an activity or simply authorizes an activity and doesn’t supervise it, it becomes a tempting situation for people with compromised morals.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ ken

    Thank you for the clarification.

    @ Tom

    I wasn’t dismissing the article, or the studies it cited, but merely stating that it appeared in a medium that made no bones about its opposition to abortion. If you wish to send me the original studies in the article, feel free.

    @ JCF

    While it may be the case that the women abused by Gosnall lacked a ‘safe’ alternative, I’m not convinced by the rhetoric that accompanied your comment. I do not think that one can simply say that a foetus is simply ‘part of a woman’s body’; I take the view that this is, at the very least, a genuinely debatable point.

  • David M.

    @Richard Wilmer

    I apologize for apparently misreading you. Yes, Ken is the one who brought up waiting periods as an example of how abortion is being singled out with special requirements. I assumed then that your response, Richard, that the psychological ramifications of abortion should be a prominent factor in regulation was a defense of the waiting periods. If that was not your intent, then I fail to understand what kind of regulation might be based on the psychological factors. Perhaps you are not clear on this either, since you say you don’t know how these psychological factors might find their way into regulations. So I am left wondering, why then the little side-debate with Ken? What was that about if not about things like waiting periods?

    @David Blakeslee,

    I’m not sure that the mere mistrust of another’s conscience is a good reason for regulation. Mistrust of another’s potential actions might be, but mistrust of another’s conscience? I think, though, that your comment may betray you and perhaps some others on the conservative side of this issue who favor lots of regulations. There may be a stereotype of the type of woman who gets an abortion, and the stereotype does not include that woman having a well-formed conscience. Perhaps she’s a hedonist, perhaps she lacks self-control, perhaps she’s uneducated — but surely if she were a “good” woman she would not be in this quandary to begin with. So we better legislate that she has to really think about this before she goes through with it. I find that stereotype offensive, and demeaning of women who face this difficult possibility.

    But then again, maybe I’m just confirming my biases about those who push such regulations.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    To answer my own previous question,

    Representative Trent Franks raised the issue of Kermit Gosnell with Attorney General Eric Holder today, asking if the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act has ever been enforced. The attorney general of the United States, the week of Gosnell’s conviction, has no idea.

    No surprise there.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/348430/how-about-enforcing-born-alive-infant-protection-act-kathryn-jean-lopez

    __________________

    To Richard, neutral and direct links to David Fergusson’s clinical work on abortion’s harmful effects on women have been posted here numerous times.

    http://anp.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/04/02/0004867413484597

    It’s quite frustrating to have you forget, or pretend to forget. It’s almost like you’re just trying to gum up discussion.

    ______________________

    To David M., the state has a compelling interest in keeping your marriage together, absolutely no interest in your being “free” or happy. It’s the reason we have marriage atall, to have an additional person responsible for paying your bills.

    As you know, or should have known, marriage the end of all freedom and happiness, and the state is just the guys to do it.

    =:-O

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David

    My exchange with ken was really about whether most or all women at some level ‘instinctively’ want their offspring to survive. My contention is that they do, and, by implication, that – from a psychological point of view – a decision to have an abortion was often not as ‘clear cut’ as ‘pro-choice ideologues’* might want us to believe. His contention was that this was not case. I think we have ‘agreed to differ’, since we both understand that neither of us can ‘prove’ the other wrong.

    Does that answer your question?

  • David M.

    Thanks, Richard.

  • Richard Willmer

    You’re welcome, David. :-)

    (I do admit that this exchange, which was arguably initiated by me, was not strictly relevant to the post.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    My exchange with ken was really about whether most or all women at some level ‘instinctively’ want their offspring to survive. My contention is that they do, and, by implication, that – from a psychological point of view – a decision to have an abortion

    You were actually onto something heavy there, Richard. Sorry to see you scuttle your own argument. The only reasonable use of reason–or instinct–in killing one’s own child is for the rest of your brood to survive.

    Or, I suppose, if eating its own young enables an animal to survive until the next breeding season to try to reproduce again.

    I don’t blame you for backing away from the implications of what you wrote, but I sure wish you’d have followed them instead: Animals don’t really have “psychology.” They’re incapable of self-destruction when it comes to reproduction.

    It takes reason and intelligence to do that.

  • stephen

    Yes.

  • carole

    Emily K: “What exactly is your endgame here? Women are not going to stop getting abortions. They’ve been getting them for almost as long as they’ve been getting pregnant. Womb control is not going to “save babies” any more than it will rescue sad puppies.”

    _______________________________________________

    Several thoughts:

    1.) I don’t know what others “end game” is. First, I wanted the bastard taken off the streets. That’s been accomplished. ( I would have preferred he got the death penalty and was executed ASAP.)

    Beyond that….

    2.) I want regulation for safety’s sake–for mother and child.

    3.) I want to end third trimester abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger.

    The child is very well developed. It hasn’t been just ” a mass of cells” for some time, and it’s on the road to what will likely be a healthy life, and needs only a few more weeks of a good home– yes, the womb, the place nature has evolved in a woman’s body to nurture that life she created. If she doesn’t want the child (you never know–nature has given her hormones that make loving that child very easy), at that point in_ a _few_ meager_ weeks, she can give it up for adoption. (Suffice it to say that PP knows that most people, given an education about what a third trimester child “looks like” and “is”, feel that abortion at that point is different from abortion at 4 wks or 6 wks or 12 weeks, and feel aborting is killing, period, killing and horrid in method as well. )

    4.) You are right when you say women will not stop getting abortions, but you failed to add the qualifier: “some” women will. With education, fewer and fewer, hopefully. We were told that with easy and free contraception (and I, for one, believed this totally years ago) would stop getting pregnant. Unfortunately, that’s not been the case. Many women simply don’t use contraception because they know that getting an abortion is easy. This is a cultural problem, for the most part, and we have to change the culture. We did it with cigarettes. We did with drunk driving. We are trying to do it with education about healthier eating habits. Seems to me as a country we can do it about responsible reproduction habits and about the responsibility of caring for the innocent, the most innocent of all.

    Again, you say women will keep getting abortions. I say “some.” Surely you wouldn’t suggest we stop forbidding thievery, murder, drunk driving, etc. with the argument ” People will keep stealing, murdering, driving drunk, etc.”

    Abortion is not unlike inviting someone into your home (a womb) and once he or she is inside, proceeding to take a baseball bat to the head.

    In today’s society, we have ways of helping women through a pregnancy. She need not go w/out medical and neonatal care. She need not be hungry. She need not live without decent shelter. And because of all that, she need not kill the child.

    ” Womb control is not going to ‘save babies’ any more than it will rescue sad puppies.”

    ___________________

    Re: “womb control”

    Hey, way to go in using Orwellian language.

    So, you want to set up a silly team sport or something. Your womb versus baby in womb? Baby, every time. Your womb will actually be healthier for having had a baby in it. Your breasts too. And, it’s all temporary anyway. You don’t have to keep the child. Your womb will go back to being what it was So too will your body. The baby on the other hand, doesn’t recover from an abortion.

    It’s about responsibility.

  • David

    @Tom Van Dyke

    I suppose you think you’re being funny, or at least glib, about the failure of my marriage. The decision to leave my wife was agonizing. It represents my failure as a gay man to be a good husband to a woman. I can only imagine that there are many women who agonize about getting an abortion too. I will not disparage the gift of marriage any more than I will disparage the gift of pregnancy. But life is complicated. We humans are not capable of doing all we might wish we could do.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ carole

    ‘Responsibility’ – yes. But, as you suggest, but not explicitly state, not only women’s responsibility. And I’m all for everyone ‘having control’ over their own bodies – through having one’s ‘no’ respected by others, through proper provision to help prevent ‘unwanted pregnancies’ in the first place, through social infrastructure that allows women to have both children and a rewarding career if they wish, through good sex education in schools, etc.

    The difficulty arises (and this is ENTIRELY relevant to the post, stephen!) when one considers the possible practical results of ‘making abortion more difficult’. My understanding is that many of the women abused (and, in [at least?] one case, murdered … not sure I would agree with the ‘third degree’ bit there, by the way) at the hands of Gosnall were already ‘disadvantaged’ in terms of the respect and support they were receiving from their ‘social context’, and I see this as an important issue here.

    I felt that some of your rhetoric was somewhat overdrawn. The ‘invited guest’ analogy is IMO flawed: I suspect that most women who have abortions do not intend to become pregnant – the guest was therefore, in a sense, ‘uninvited’ – although we do, of course, have responsibilities to ‘guests in our lives’, whether or not they are ‘invited’.

    Lastly, while I would agree with your wish to see third term abortion made (or, in the jurisdiction where I reside, remain) illegal, except … , I would point out that, in England and Wales (my ‘home jurisdiction’), the incidence of abortion is only very slightly less than that in the United States. Which seems to suggest to me that – and again you strongly suggest this in your comment – the challenge is ultimately a ‘cultural’, rather than a ‘legal’, one.

  • Bill Fortenberry

    I agree with Tom on the invalidity of the health excuse for abortions, but I take my position a bit further and apply that to issues of physical health as well as mental. In fact, my research has shown that not even ectopic pregnancies produce a sufficient health risk to justify abortion. You can find the results of my research at: http://www.personhoodinitiative.com/articles.html

  • David Blakeslee

    Several times people have attempted to divine someone’s motives or “end game” in making comments or even posting this article.

    Why can’t we deal with comments without trying to divine someones motives or hypothesize about “end games?”

    If we are truly complex and moral, arguments made can lead to multiple locations and do not “betray, imply or suggest” hidden agendas.

    Less paranoia leads to a better discussion.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Tom

    I don’t understand your last comment. I stand by my contention; ken disagrees with me; we’ve decided to leave the exchange there. What’s your reference to ‘scuttling’ all about?

    If you think I’m going to join you or anyone else in overblown anti-abortion rhetoric, you are mistaken. I’m not going to. But my concern about seeing abortion as straightfoward matter – or something that’s ‘okay’ – is real and unabated.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    @Tom Van Dyke

    I suppose you think you’re being funny, or at least glib, about the failure of my marriage. The decision to leave my wife was agonizing. It represents my failure as a gay man to be a good husband to a woman. I can only imagine that there are many women who agonize about getting an abortion too. I will not disparage the gift of marriage any more than I will disparage the gift of pregnancy. But life is complicated. We humans are not capable of doing all we might wish we could do.

    David, I didn’t even know the gay angle on your marriage. And I was being glib, but not insincere. The state only has a compelling interest in marriage as far as paying the bills goes. It is indifferent to your happiness.

    As for dragging abortion in, it’s a different set of arguments. if performing an abortion on a woman causes permanent psychological damage to the woman–and science says it often does–then the state has a compelling interest in mitigating that harm. Indeed, a moral-ethical-legal obligation to restrain the abortion industry from doing that harm.

    ________

    Richard, your argument was taking you to a place where “science” might lead you to a value judgment, that it’s not just “counter-intuitive” that we would kill our children, but a sign something’s wrong.

    If a zoologist observed such self-destructive behavior in the wild, she’d suspect something was really wrong, perhaps radiation or something in the water. A brain parasite, maybe. Something.

    So I was sorry to see you retreat to agreeing to disagree, as though there are no truths–even scientific ones–only opinions.

  • Throbert McGee

    That little graphic from NARAL would be a great deal more persuasive if they were able to demonstrate that it was specifically the “attacks on abortion rights” that had made it impossible for Gosnell’s patients to obtain abortions in much earlier stages of their pregnancies. (It’s impossible to know WHY all of the women who went to Gosnell’s clinic had delayed seeking an abortion until it was too late to obtain one elsewhere, but I am skeptical that draconian anti-abortion laws or lack of low-cost clinics were the main reasons that these women waited so long.)

    P.S. Carole, good to see you!

  • David M.

    @Tom Van Dyke

    I’m sorry for being a bit defensive about my former marriage. It still hurts. I really didn’t intend to have a conversation about marriage. I was trying to make a point about waiting periods as enforced by law. Apparently you don’t see the analogy, and that’s OK. It seems we’re done with any conversation about waiting periods now anyway.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Throbert

    I think you are correct in your suggestion that the reasons for those women going to Gosnall were probably ‘complex’. Lack of access to timely advice might have been one of them; pressure from the father another; simple panic another. As I said, my impression is that Gosnall’s (adult) victims were from relatively disadvantaged circumstances.

    @ Tom

    I understand your point now. I’m not going to push my point further – for various reasons.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    @Tom Van Dyke

    I’m sorry for being a bit defensive about my former marriage. It still hurts. I really didn’t intend to have a conversation about marriage. I was trying to make a point about waiting periods as enforced by law. Apparently you don’t see the analogy

    Of course I do, David. I’m just pointing out that the law is an ass, and must be written so one size fits all.

    Even if we stipulate that no waiting period would have saved your marriage and further that woman X would not be one of the ones psychologically damaged by an abortion, the state’s compelling interest is in the marriages it CAN save and the women it CAN spare psychological damage.

    You DID get your divorce and woman Y DID eventually get her abortion. This is really just an ethical argument, even a utilitarian one that simply seeks to minimize harm–not a moral one, making no moral judgments of divorce or of abortion.


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