Saturday, April 20, 2013

Call it The Compton-Carr Effect

"In my gut, I am completely aghast at what goes on at that place. But I staunchly oppose anything that would correct this situation in law."

Prochoice activist Janis Compton-Carr

No, this isn't recent response to the Kermit Gosnell trial. Ms. Compton-Carr was completely aghast in 1989, in Florida, when an investigation by the Miami Herald revealed that Dadeland Family Planning was reusing disposable instruments, that the doctors were leaving the facility while patients were still in recovery, that there were no nurses on staff, and that "Patient recovery was monitored by employees with no formal health-care training." The stirrups on the procedure tables were covered with blood. The oxygen mask had lipstick on it from the previous patient. Abortions were being sold to women who weren't actually pregnant.

Richard Litt, who performed abortions at Dadeland until 1981, told the Miami Herald that he quit because the owners wanted him to do too many abortions in a single work day, and wanted him to do abortions too late into the pregnancy. He also complained that somebody in the clinic stole his prescription forms and forged his signature in order to get narcotics in bulk. Litt said that Dadeland "is a scum hole. I wouldn't send a dog there. They should be put in jail."

But that wasn't the worst. A dying woman was given little more than tea and sympathy. They scraped her out, handed her some oral antibiotics, and sent her home to die of raging peritonitis.

To reiterate, Ms. Compton-Carr, looking at the goings-on at Dadeland, and speaking on behalf of the reputable providers of Florida, might have been aghast, but she remained staunchly opposed to allowing anybody to actually rectify the situation.

It was such touching devotion to access, the Grand Jury Report noted, that led prochoice politicians and bureaucrats to turn a blind eye to Kermit Gosnell's house of horrors in Pennsylvania during the ensuing quarter century. Nothing has changed.

In 1991, when 60 Minutes was investigating an abortion mill where one woman had been allowed to die and another left incapacitated, reporters asked pro-choice Maryland State Senator Mary Boergers why nothing was being done to address dangerous abortion clinics. Boergers said, "There's only so much of a willingness to try to push a group like the pro-choice movement to do what I think is the responsible thing to do because they then treat you as if you're the enemy." Barbara Radford, then-president of the National Abortion Federation, defended the head-in-the-sand attitude the organization took toward safety issues by saying, "We want to make sure that women have choices when it comes to abortion services, and if you regulate it too strictly, you then deny women access to the service."

Again and again, when foreseeable tragedy strikes, the abortion lobby will concede that malpractice isn't right, but nonetheless oppose and  lament state action to address it. In 2006, staff at an Alabama clinic nearly killed a woman by ignoring her dangerously high blood pressure, giving her RU-486, and sending her home -- though she was eight months pregnant. The president of the Birmingham chapter of NOW called the clinic's closure "unfortunate"

In some cases, the callousness of the abortion-rights response goes beyond tsk-tsking at the "outlier" (who has often been, as was the case with Abu "The Butcher of Avenue A" Hyat, a dues-paying member of the prestigious National Abortion Federation). No. In some cases, they actually leap to the defense of the seedy abortionist, as they did in 1973 after Benjamin Munson sent Linda Padfield home to die, in1984 after Raymond Showery let Mickey Apodaca bleed to death,  in 1996 when Bruce Steir abandoned Sharon Hamplton to bleed to death, and in 2005 when Leroy Carhart let Christin Gilbert develop fatal complications in George Tiller's Wichita clinic.

I know that my prochoice friends, neighbors, acquaintances and co-workers truly do care about women's lives. When will they stop entrusting those lives to a movement that has shown again and again that given the choice between protecting "access" and protecting women's lives, they will choose "access" every time? When will prochoice citizens stand up and start holding the abortion rights lobby responsible?

1 comment:

Cecilia said...

I guess some people just think it's a higher priority to kill babies than to keep their mothers alive.