Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obituaries and priorities

"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

I've noticed a major irony in the stands of prochoice organizations and the attitudes of high-profile advocates for abortion. And it's really bobbed to the surface, where it's easy to see, in the current round of abortion advocates eulogizing yet another killer abortionist. This fellow, Harvey Karman (pictured), wasn't a doctor, killed a woman doing an abortion on her in a motel room with a nutcracker, nearly killed roughly a dozen minority women on Mother's Day of 1972, and left rape victims in Bangladesh with infections and hemorrhage from pieces of plastic springs and balsa wood stuck through the walls of their wombs. Yet the prochoicers' words in obituaries and blogs were all filled with adoration for this fellow, and all that he supposedly did for women.

This isn't a new way of thinking. It's part and parcel of devoting your life to "safe, legal abortion". You start losing sight of the women that you're supposedly there to help. The cause becomes everything, and if it must be paid for with women's lives, so be it.

Follow this.

They're 100% against any kind of governmental oversight of abortion because it might jeopardize the future of "choice". 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."

Prochoice groups are fond of accusing prolifers of putting the needs of the unborn -- specifically, existing fetuses -- ahead of the needs of living, breathing, born women. But here they are, these prochoice groups, sacrificing the real safety of the 4,000 living, breathing, born women walking into abortion clinics today, to protect the possible preferences of women who haven't even been conceived yet.

This is the ultimate placing of a higher value of the lives of the unborn over the lives of the born. These organizations point fingers at prolifers, who place the lives of existing fetuses before the preferences of their mothers. Then these same organizations place the hypothetical choices of non-existent women ahead of the safety and lives of women undergoing abortions in the here and now.

We can't pretend that there aren't horrible things happening to women in abortion mills across the country. Just on this site, which barely scratches the surface, I've summarized cases including:

  • Scott Barrett, whose habit of using overdoses of local anesthetic to facilitate abortions killed Stacy Ruckman
  • Inglewood, that had five-minute abortions down to an art form, with often fatal results
  • Eastern Women's Center, that let three abortion patients die and couldn't even find its medical director
  • Her Medical Clinic, where at least four women died

The collective response of the prochoice movement is at best a big yawn. Not a peep was heard when an illegally-operating Tennessee abortion mill misadministered RU-486 to Brenda Vise, with fatal results. Silence greeted the death of Leigh Ann Alford at the hands of a legally-operating quack. It's been prolifers, not prochoicers, demanding a full-scale investigation in the third-trimester abortion death of Christin Gilbert. And the recent cluster of RU-486 deaths in the Los Angeles area has even the FDA and the CDC taking notice, without any complaints by prochoice groups about off-label administration of dangerous abortion drugs. (In fact, it was two high-profile prochoice organizations, the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood, whose members administered the fatal doses; this may explain the deafening silence.)

Another response is to concede that malpractice exists, and to admit that it isn't right, but to nonetheless lament and even block state action to address it. This is the response from Ms. Compton-Carr that I quoted above. Recently, 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 prochoice movement actually moves in to actively defend an abortionist whose practice leaves much to be desired, as they did with Bruce Steir after the death of Sharon Hamplton.

The pattern is clear: Organizations that are supposed to protect women's interests instead pursue an agenda of protecting "choice" at all costs -- even the cost of women's lives.

When are we going to see prochoice organizations start to put the needs of real, living, breathing women ahead of their politics?

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