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From the Kitchen Table


Thirty Pieces

by Peg Luksik
 

A Philadelphia abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is being charged with multiple counts of homicide. The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury that issued the indictment described a filthy facility with uncleaned, unsterilized instruments, flea-ridden cats roaming freely through the rooms, plastic bags of body parts sitting in a refrigerator, born-alive babies of 6 - 8 months gestation, who were then brutally murdered, and at least one female patient who died from an overdose of improperly administered anesthesia.

There were numerous complaints filed against the clinic, but no investigation had been done since 1993, in spite of the PA law requiring the Department of Health to inspect abortion facilities. The Grand Jury said, "We discovered that Pennsylvania's Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety."

The Grand Jury continued, "The Department of Health conducted sporadic, inadequate inspections for 13 years, and then none at all between 1993 and 2010. DOH official Janice Staloski blamed the decision to abandon supposedly annual inspections of abortion clinics on DOH lawyers, who, she said, changed their legal opinions and advice to suit the policy preferences of different governors… when Governor Tom Ridge came in, the attorneys interpreted the same regulations that had permitted annual inspections for years to no longer authorize those inspections. Then, only complaint-driven inspections supposedly were authorized. Staloski said that DOH's policy during Governor Ridge's administration was motivated by a desire not to be "putting a barrier up to women" seeking abortions.

"Senior Counsel at DOH, Kenneth Brody…described a meeting of high-level government officials in 1999 at which a decision was made not to accept a recommendation to reinstitute regular inspections of abortion clinics. The reasoning, as Brody recalled, was: '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.'"

The fact that Tom Ridge was committed to abortion was not a secret. In his campaigns for Governor in 1994 and 1998, Mr. Ridge was a vocal and enthusiastic champion for abortion. The policies of his administration regarding the implementation of regulations that would affect abortion mills were easily predictable. Do those policies, and the administration that implemented them, share in the blame for the murders in the Gosnell facility?

Absolutely.

But in order to be in a position to implement those policies, Mr. Ridge had to win those elections. And sadly, he did so with the votes of many who self-described as pro-life. They proclaimed that candidate Ridge's support for school choice was more important than his support for abortion. They assured everyone who would listen that abortion was not an issue in Pennsylvania at that moment, so it was acceptable to embrace an ardent abortion advocate in return for the money that he would bring to non-public schools.

The women and children who died in Dr. Gosnell's uninspected abortion mill would probably disagree with them. The women and children who were killed in Dr. Gosnell's house of horrors might think that their lives WERE an issue to be considered. And those women and children could credibly hold every so-called pro-life person who put dollars ahead of lives when they cast a vote for Tom Ridge as accountable for their deaths as the administration that those votes brought to power.

This is not the first time in history that someone abandoned principle for money. Let us hope that for those whose abandonment resulted in the horror unfolding in Philadelphia, it will be the last.


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