Sunday, November 23, 2014

Abortion-Rights Blame Shifting Jumps the Shark on Gosnell

Garance Franke-Ruta, writing in The Atlantic, addresses "Kermit Gosnell and the Anti-Abortion Movement's Intelligence Failure."

Yes, you read that right. Franke-Ruta does not place blame on state bureaucrats who failed to investigate Gosnell's "house of horrors" and failed to shut it down. Franke-Ruta does not place blame on the medical board, which failed to investigate Gosnell and failed to yank his medical license.

Franke-Ruta does not place blame on the reputable abortion clinics that failed to investigate Gosnell's clinic before referring women there. Franke-Ruta does not place blame on the National Abortion Federation Clinic that failed to investigate Gosnell, hired him, and handed off their patients to him. Franke-Ruta does not place blame on the National Abortion Federation representative who actually did investigate -- actually setting foot in the Women's Medical Society and seeing the appalling conditions for herself -- and failed to warn others to stop referring women to him.

Franke-Ruta places the blame on the prolifers protesting and praying outside. You see, the prolifers didn't investigate and thus didn't uncover the non-existent investigative reports from the previous decades of official non-investigation. It's all their fault:
I reached out to Edel Finnegan, director of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, which runs the anti-abortion protests in the city, according to other groups involved in the abortion fight in the state.  
Finnegan ... confirmed that Gosnell's Women's Medical Society was in fact on the Pro-Life Union's radar for decades, and was not exempted from its picketing or prayer. "We were involved with praying outside of the Gosnell facility. For about 20 years, there was a group of people going out on the second Saturday of the month" to area abortion facilities, she told me.
That makes the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia perhaps the single longest-standing regular outside observer of Gosnell's clinic, which was last inspected by state authorities in 1993 before a Feb. 18, 2010, raid on it by an FBI team going after what it thought was an illegal prescription mill uncovered the dire conditions at the abortion facility located on the same site. ....
Despite Pro-Life Union members' attempts to engage women going for appointments with Gosnell or at the Planned Parenthood facilities in the Philadelphia area that provide abortions (the majority of Planned Parenthood offices that serve the area don't), Finnegan's group never got clear information from the women about their experiences or any kind of comparative picture of the facilities. ....
Nor did the group pull public (such as court) records of complaints against Gosnell, which might have allowed anti-abortion advocates to see the pattern state regulatory authorities were ignoring, despite repeated complaints from doctors and Gosnell's victims.
And what did Franke-Ruta think the prolifers were going to be able to do with whatever sketchy information they might have been able to glean about Gosnell? The Medical Board and the Health Department had declared that there was nothing amiss there. Were these entities any more likely to listen to a bunch of prolifers waving documents in their faces than they were to listen to Marcella Choung, who had actually worked in the clinic and had gone to them?

Could the prolifers have maybe gone public with this information, or told prochoice groups about it, or handed it out to the women walking in? And exactly what does it ever accomplish when we do that? Anything we say, no matter how solid our evidence is to back it up, is blown off by abortion-rights activists and their friends in the mainstream press.

What were the prolifers supposed to do?

Ah, here is where we get to the meat of the matter:
Amid the extraordinary cavalcade of system failures that allowed Gosnell to operate as he did, it's an open question whether the anti-abortion movement could have done more to call attention to his abuses if it had been able to forge any kinds of bonds of trust with the abortion-seeking women who were injured by him.
It's because the prolifers didn't give the women walking in a sense of trustworthiness! Never mind the abortion-rights movement's demonization of prolifers. It's the prolifers' fault the women didn't go to them in droves, reporting the deplorable conditions inside Gosnell's facility.

And again, Franke-Ruta somehow assumes that an abortion-rights movement and a left-leaning media monolith is going to listen to the prolifers when the state is insisting that all is well. Again, no matter how credible our information or how well documented, nobody takes it seriously except other prolifers.

Franke-Ruta begins to ramble on about politics and how the mean old anti-abortion people actually insist on requiring abortion clinics to clean up their acts or close their doors. That makes it the prolifers' fault that the clinics are nasty.

It's never the responsibility of the abortion clinics to actually run clean facilities that practice abortion in accordance with current Planned Parenthood or National Abortion Federation guidelines. It's never the responsibility of prochoice bureaucrats to smack down abortion facilities and practitioners who commit quackery. It's never the responsibility of prochoice groups to vet facilities and practitioners before referring women there. It's not even the responsibility of prochoice groups to at least look into things when the prolifers are waving documents around.

It's all the prolifers' fault. Because otherwise the abortion-rights groups and individuals have to start holding each other -- and themselves -- accountable. And that's something that they're mysteriously either unwilling or unable to do.

No comments: