Big Government's Back Alley
by Mark Steyn
As I was leaving Fox News last night, I glanced up at the monitor and caught Juan Williams expressing mystification to Sean Hannity as to why Republicans in Congress were wasting the country's time on a "little thing" like abortion.
Gee, I dunno. Maybe it's something to do with a mass murderer in Pennsylvania, or Planned Parenthood clinics facilitating the sex trafficking of minors. From the Office of the District Attorney in Philadelphia:
Viable babies were born*. Gosnell killed them by plunging scissors into their spinal cords. He taught his staff to do the same.
This is a remarkable moment in American life: A man is killing actual living, gurgling, bouncing babies on an industrial scale - and it barely makes the papers. Had he plunged his scissors into the spinal cord of a Democrat politician in Arizona, then The New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC and everyone else would be linking it to Sarah Palin's uncivil call for dramatic cuts in government spending. But "Doctor" Kermit Gosnell's mound of corpses is apparently entirely unconnected to the broader culture.
Why? Well, because it's all about a woman's "right to choose". What women? Well, how about the misses Robyn Reid and Davida Johnson:
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Robyn Reid didn't want an abortion. But when her grandmother forcibly took her to an abortion clinic one wintry day in 1998, Reid figured she'd just tell the doctor her wishes and then sneak away.
Instead, Kermit Gosnell barked: "I don't have time for this!" He then ripped off her clothes, spanked her, wrestled her onto a dirty surgical stretcher, tied her flailing arms and legs down and pumped sedatives into her until she quit screaming and lost consciousness, she told the Daily News yesterday...
In 2001, Davida Johnson changed her mind about aborting her 6-month fetus after seeing Gosnell's dazed, bloodied patients in his recovery room, she said. But in the treatment room, Gosnell's staffers ignored her protests, smacked her, tied her arms down and sedated her into unconsciousness, she said. She awoke no longer pregnant.
Oh. Well, "Dr" Gosnell's just one rogue abortionist. How about the "right to choose" over at Planned Parenthood? There are a whole range of choices - not so much for the illegally smuggled underage foreign sex slave, but at least for her pimp. If you're a middle-aged guy running a child-sex business, you have the "right to choose" what's best for that 13-year old Venezuelan hottie you brought over a couple weeks back. As the Falls Church clinic assures him:
We don't necessarily look at the legal status, like I said.
Legal abortion was supposed to end "back-alley abortions," both their dangers and their entanglements with shady characters. But the practice and the mores of the back alley are with us still, tolerated by people for whom the ready provision of abortion trumps all else.
Rich is right. Ever since Roe v Wade, proponents of a woman's "right to choose" have warned us against going back to the bad old days of rusty coat hangers and unsterilized instruments from money-grubbing butchers on the wrong side of town. Now, happily, the back alley is on the main drag, and with a state permit framed on the wall. In Philadelphia:
Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment â€“ such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff â€“ was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn't used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.
In New Jersey:
The Department of Health and Senior Services investigated the abortion facility and found dirty forceps, rusty crochet hooks used to remove IUDs, and a quarter-inch of dirt and debris under an examining table.
For years, the supposed regulators averted their gaze - as a matter of policy. For abortion's ideological enforcers, the official euphemisms trump reality. For those on the receiving end of infection, mutilation, sterilization and death, reality has a way of intruding. Ask Nicole Gaither:
Nicole Gaither got an abortion from Gosnell in 2001. After four days, she said, the pain was so bad she could barely walk. She returned to the clinic, where, she said Gosnell blithely told her he'd left fetal remains in her.
"Stand up! It don't hurt that bad!" he yelled at her, she said, before suctioning - without any medication - her insides.
Ask Patient SB:
After inadequately dilating Patient S.B.'s cervix for a D&E abortion, Pendergraft ruptured her uterus and shoved the pre-born baby's body into the abdominal cavity. She was rushed to the hospital where she received an emergency hysterectomy along with the removal of the dead fetus, which was missing an arm. The arm was later found at Pendergraft's EPOC abortion clinic. His not reporting that he had removed the arm caused a delay in her care at the hospital as surgeons futilely attempted to locate the missing appendage.
Ask Rasheedah Dinkins:
Dinkins, who was 22 at the time of the settlement, became severely ill following the abortion and was transferred to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center where she needed blood transfusions and had her uterus removed. She also suffered a stroke due to the serious blood loss and had one of her lungs collapse.
The back alley is back, and supersized: The above New Jersey clinic performs 10,000 abortions a year. When the pro-choice rally ends and Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd and other celebrities d'un certain age return to Hollywood, and the upper-middle-class women with the one designer baby go back to their suburbs, a woman's "right to choose" means that, day in, day out, the blessings of this "right" fall disproportionately on all the identity groups the upscale liberals profess to care about - poor women, black women, Hispanic women, undocumented women, and other denizens of Big Government's back alley.
A government back alley, licensed and supposedly regulated, is worse than the old kind, because it implies the approval of the state, and of society. That's what Gosnell thought he had, when he murdered those babies and mutilated those teenage girls. That's what Planned Parenthood think they have, when they facilitate the sexual exploitation of Third World children. And, given the silence of the PC media, maybe they're right. Aside from the intrinsic evil of not only Gosnell but a state that knowingly colludes with him, these "little" abortion stories reveal an almost totalitarian mindset in the "pro-choice" movement's determination to brook no intrusion of reality upon the official myths. You may be one of those wealthy suburban "feminists" or "new men" indifferent to the fate of eight-pound "blobs of tissue" or 14-year old "women", but the gulf between propaganda and truth, between the fatuous feelgood bumper stickers and the rusty crochet hooks, is profound - and, in a world where statists and social engineers serve as ruthless enforcers for the prevailing ideology, its deep moral corruption will eventually swallow you, too. America should be at the very minimum deeply disquieted by these revelations. That it is not - that it is dismissed as a "little thing" - is even more disquieting.
[*James Fulford argues that "Dr" Gosnell delivered live babies and killed them because he was too incompetent to perform a "partial-birth abortion" - because, in a ever more credential-obsessed America, ever more credentials have been corrupted by ethnocultural political considerations.]
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