Pennsylvania Abortion Activists Fought New Anti-Gosnell Laws, But Lost

State   |   Maria Vitale Gallagher   |   May 10, 2013   |   4:25PM   |   Washington, DC

If you’ve been following the Kermit Gosnell trial at all, you might have come to the conclusion that Pennsylvania is the most lax state in the nation when it comes to abortion law and the regulation of abortion facilities. After all, we’ve really never heard of anything like this case before—an abortionist who, prosecutors say, severed babies’ spinal cords after they were born…kept severed baby feet in jars…let a flea-infested cat routinely wander his “medical facility” as newborns struggled for life in toilets.

The grand jury noted that Gosnell’s alleged death trap was not inspected for 17 years, and that nail salons and hair salons were subjected to greater scrutiny.

Interestingly, the grand jury also pointed out that inspections of abortion facilities halted in Pennsylvania under former Governor Tom Ridge, for purely political reasons. The Ridge Administration concluded that inspections would create a barrier to access to abortion, and therefore they took a hands-off approach. And Governor Ed Rendell continued that appalling policy.

See no evil, hear no evil—and, if the allegations are true—evil continued unabated at the Gosnell abortion center.

But one very underreported fact in the national media is that Pennsylvania lawmakers and the current Governor, Tom Corbett, acted swiftly in the wake of the revelation of the Gosnell horrors. Corbett used his administrative powers to conduct a full review and shed light on the darkness in which abortion centers had been operating.

Then, the legislature passed and Corbett signed into law Act 122, which followed the recommendation of the grand jury by ensuring that abortion facilities abide by the safety standards of outpatient surgery centers.

Despite intense push-back by abortion advocates during the deliberations and debate, Pennsylvania health officials are now obligated to conduct unannounced inspections of abortion centers. The Keystone State is currently home to five fewer abortion facilities, indicating that those facility operators who could not meet basic health standards—or who refused to—have shut their doors.

But it has been difficult getting the word out. For instance, during an otherwise enlightening recent interview with a Pennsylvania reporter about Gosnell, “Huckabee” carried a chyron which stated that Pennsylvania law does not require routine inspection of abortion facilities.While that certainly was the case during the pro-abortion Governor years, it is not now.

As state Representative Matthew Baker, the chair of the Pennsylvania House Health Committee and one of the leading proponents of regulatory reform said, “I remain disappointed that not enough ( none in some cases) has been reported by major national TV networks as to what we have done to enact a new law to address abortion clinics in PA.” As a result of Gosnell, Pennsylvania has become “ground zero” for abortion center regulation. The Oxford Dictionaries cite two definitions of “ground zero” that are relevant: 1.) “a site of devastation, disaster, or violent attack” and 2.) “a starting point or base for some activity.”

The Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia, according to prosecution witnesses, was a place of devastation—for both helpless children and vulnerable women. From the descriptions in the grand jury account, it was a certifiable disaster area, with routine, violent attacks perpetrated on beautiful newborn babies.



In the wake of this massive, unfathomable tragedy, Pennsylvania’s Governor and state legislature took decisive action, the starting point for a new era of accountability for abortion centers throughout the Commonwealth.

And in the aftermath of Gosnell, ordinary people are beginning to ask questions about what goes on in abortion centers… about the line of demarcation between abortion and infanticide…and about the medical standards of those who make abortion their business.

Gosnell has been a wake-up call for Pennsylvania—a wake-up call that carries with it the warning that politics should never be placed ahead of the health and safety of women and their children.


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