Friday, May 02, 2014

Why "Gosnell" Must be Told: The Compton-Carr Effect

Dr. Kermit Gosnell
Dr. Kermit Gosnell
Last year, in a little-noted trial, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder in the deaths of three of the hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of newborn babies he killed by severing their spinal cords with surgical scissors while their mothers lay nearby, overdosed to the brink of death on a cocktail of drugs given to them at Gosnell's direction by his accomplices. One of those mothers, Karnamaya Mongar, went past the brink and died herself. Gosnell was convicted of manslaughter for his part in her death.

Filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney have launched a crowdfunding effort to produce a movie about Gosnell's crimes.

The abortion-rights movement can't be sleeping well as they ponder that. You see, Gosnell did the hideous things he did as a routine part of his abortion practice in Philadelphia. He practiced with the collusion of more reputable abortion facilities, who referred patients to him. More to the point, he practiced without let or hindrance from city and state authorities, who turned a deliberate blind eye in the name of "access" to legal abortion.

This unwillingness of abortion-rights supporters to take action against seedy abortion is something I've dubbed "the Compton-Carr effect," after its most straightforward and unapologetic proponent -- Janis Compton-Carr of the Florida Abortion Council.

In 1989, 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.

"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
Ms. Compton-Carr led the fight to halt any state oversight of abortion facilities in the wake of the Dadeland scandal. She summed it all up to the Miami Herald:

"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."

NAF -- National Abortion Federation
Ms. Compton-Carr was not alone. 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"

"Butcher" - NAF member Abu Hayat
NAF member Abu Hayat
The typical public response of the prochoice movement is tsk-tsking at the "outlier," even though the "outlier" 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. Hayat killed teenage abortion patient Sophie McCoy and tore the arm off the yet-unborn Ana Rosa Rodriguez, who was subsequently born alive.

Dr. Bruce Steir
Sometimes the abortion-rights response is even worse than that. In some cases, abortion-rights organizations and activists have actually leaped 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.

Kermit Gosnell is merely one example of the abortion-rights drive to place "access" above the well-being of women, and even above the women's lives. Telling his story will be a vital step toward awakening the public to the Compton-Carr effect and will, I hope, lead to a wariness of abortion practitioners and their cronies, both in activism and in positions of responsibility.

A contribution to need not set you back any more than $1 -- less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a bottle of water. Every contribution is a message to the champions of "access" over women's lives that we will no longer allow them to sweep their enabling under the rug. If you can't contribute, or have already contributed funding, keep in mind that both prayer and spreading the word about the project are also vital contributions to the efforts. Together we can end the silence.

For more about why it's vital that this movie be made, read:

1 comment:

Chrome Dome said...

OMG! I had never heard of this and thought it was expecting to hear this happened in some corrupt, poor, nation ruled by a dictator where health officials were bribed. I can't believe that was here!