The anti-choice right drives women into the arms of criminals like Kermit Gosnell
You may have noticed that the entire right media machine is shrieking in unison (as usual) about the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia doctor accused of committing terrible crimes against his patients for years. The right wingers are using this case as an opportunity to call for more regulations against abortion — but the simple fact is that criminals like Goswell can only exist on the fringes of society, preying on the desperation of poor and marginalized women, because of the right wing campaign against safe, legal abortion.
Here’s your must-read article of the day, by Irin Carmon at Salon, who makes the issues exceedingly clear: There Is No Gosnell Coverup.
That’s exactly right — this is another huge, overblown fake outrage.
If you’ve never heard of the Gosnell story, it’s not because of a coverup by the liberal mainstream media. It’s probably because you failed to pay attention to the copious coverage among pro-choice and feminist journalists, as well as the big news organizations, when the news first broke in 2011. There would be something rich, if it weren’t so infuriating, about these (uniformly male, as it happens) reporters and commentators scrambling to break open this shocking untold story. You know, the one that was written about here, here and here, to name some disparate sources.
I can’t speak for big news organizations like CNN and the networks, but let’s think about this question another way: How often do such places devote their energies to covering the massive health disparities and poor outcomes that are wrought by our current system? How often are the travails of the women whose vulnerabilities Gosnell exploited — the poor, immigrants, and otherwise marginalized people — given wall-to-wall, trial-level coverage? If you’re surprised that in the face of politicized stigma, lack of public funding or good information, and a morass of restrictive laws allegedly meant to protect women, the vacuum was filled by a monster — well, the most generous thing I can say is that you haven’t been paying attention.
But since you’re here, guys — welcome. Here are some important things to know about the tragedies committed in Gosnell’s clinic, based on the sources you missed. This week, as Virginia-based pro-choice activist Michelle Kinsey Bruns noted on Twitter, “Fitting that the right is trying to whip folks into a frenzy over #Gosnell the same day VA is trying to put safe abortion care out of reach.” She’s referring to so-called TRAP laws, which are regulations aimed at abortion clinics that have nothing to do with safety — say, the size of parking lots — to seek to drive them out of business, and which expected to go forward in a vote today. According to Tara Murtha, a Philadelphia-based reporter who has been covering the Gosnell case from the start, in the aftermath of Pennsylvania’s own TRAP laws, the state went from 22 freestanding clinics to 13. As Murtha puts it, “The bottom line is that politicizing abortion led to Gosnell. Their answer? Politicize it more.”
After all, the question is not just why the state failed to respond to the complaints of women and advocates who visited the clinic, although that matters hugely. It’s why women kept going there anyway: Because they felt they had no alternative.
Gosnell was a straight-ahead criminal. He also allegedly ran a “pill mill” supplying Oxycontin and other drugs. The National Abortion Federation denied him membership because of his sub-standard facilities.
People like this thrive on the edges of society precisely because of the anti-abortion right, who are slowly but surely drying up all legal and safe methods of abortion, in state after state.
People like Kermit Gosnell are the kind of abortion providers we’ll see a LOT more of, if the social conservative movement is allowed to prevail.
Yes, Let’s Talk About Kermit Gosnell | Religion Dispatches