Sean Morrow
April 14, 2013 9:00 am

This story is awful. I didn’t want to put a picture of the perpetrator or the hospital on here, and I couldn’t think of anything else, so here’s a picture of some puppies to lessen the blow of this story; this is HelloGiggles after all. 

I am gonna throw a trigger warning up here, even though I think trigger warnings are a little silly, because this story is beyond horrifying. So, trigger warning for medical horrors, infant murder and abortion: 

I don’t know if this is just me, but some things are so horrifying that I can’t really understand them, and as a result I don’t see them as horrifying as they are. Does that make sense? A figure that represents a number of people killed means nothing to me, because I cannot grasp what it means. Finding out that someone went through something horrible enough to seem fictional might not hit me.

Hearing that Kermit Gosnell systematically intentionally killed newborn babies and killed multiple grown women through neglect didn’t have much of an effect on me because I can’t begin to comprehend something so stupefyingly horrible.

Gosnell was the head of a women’s clinic in Philadelphia that was managed as if its goal was to cause pain and suffering: they treated white women better than black women, had teenage anesthesiologists, ignored average standards of cleanliness, lost multiple patients due to gross incompetence, and performed extremely late-term ‘abortions’ that involved inducing birth and severing the baby’s spinal cord (that’s the grossest detail I’ll go into. At risk of sounding like I’m ‘mansplaining’, HelloGiggles isn’t the place for in-depth descriptions of grotesque medical atrocities.) These were not abortions, they were murders – an important distinction. Gosnell is currently on trial.

This isn’t a new story. It was covered in 2011 when the horrors were first discovered. In fact, most of the coverage today is of news outlets shaming other news outlets for not giving it more attention.  Arguments are being thrown around like “liberals killed the story because it makes abortion look bad”, “conservatives killed the story because this all comes down to a lack of funding” and more. In the end it just comes down to the fact that journalism is a business like any other, and people make choices with regards to how that business is run, people make mistakes, and people make bad decisions. We, humans, aren’t smart enough to do conspiracies.

All that needs to be taken from this story is that some people are horrible. Kermit Gosnell is an evil man who happened to be a doctor at a women’s clinic, like John Wayne Gacy was an evil man who happened to be a clown, or pedophile priests are evil men who happen to be priests. Gosnell was also incompetent, which adds a level of sadness to the thing.

Unfortunately, this event is likely to send pro-choice advocacy back a little bit in the public eye. I think it’s kinda inevitable. Other than the evil thing, what needs to be understood is that this also resulted from a lack of proper funding, regulation and inspection for clinics. Regulation/inspection does not mean criminalization, it means making sure facilities are up to par. As a pro-choice person I don’t see anything wrong with that, but I think some advocates would disagree, feel free to explain why in the comments. The Kermit Gosnell clinic is an example of what abortions forced to fly under the radar would look like, like the unnecessary crime caused by American alcohol prohibition that didn’t exist without it (and the same goes for crime related to marijuana prohibition today).

Don’t let the pro-life lobby use this case to take away women’s right to choose. I usually have an issue with blog posts that restate obvious opinions as if they’re taking a stand, but I think this really needs to be said.

Kermit Gosnell is what pro-life people consider all women’s clinic doctors: “baby killers.” If you want to empathize with pro-lifers, from their point of view, this is what all abortions involve. We don’t know if they’re right (the question of when life begins is a complex philosophical one, but women have the right to choose up to a certain point,) but it’s how they see it, and they’re reacting from this mindset. That’s why they’re so angry. The anger may be unjustified, but this is how they justify it.

If you want to learn more details about just how terrible Gosnell is, Buzzfeed has documents relating to the Gosnell case and the Daily Pennsylvania has a timeline of the Gosnell case.

Featured image via Shutterstock

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