Friday, May 31, 2013

Gosnell, Carhart, and the PBA Ban (Part 4)

In Part 1, I gave some background on post-viability abortions, which were invented by the Supreme Court in 1973. In Part 2, I described the advent of the procedure that came to be known as Partial Birth Abortion. In Part 3, I looked at how the Partial Birth Abortion Ban changed -- albeit only temporarily -- the practice of Philadelphia quack Kermit Gosnell.
Today I'll look at how the ban changed the practice of LeRoy "Meat in a Crock Pot" Carhart.

When Carhart (pictured) challenged the Partial Birth Abortion ban, he testified about what was then his standard abortion practice. Carhart indicated that he tried to grab the baby and get it positioned to where he could suck out the brain without taking the baby apart first. But sometimes, he indicated, the baby would stick a limb out through the cervix, and it was just easier to pull that part off and go from there:
Carhart: My normal course would be to dismember that extremity and then go back and try to take the fetus out either foot or skull first, whatever end I can get to first.

Question: How do you go about dismembering that extremity?

Carhart: Just traction and rotation, grasping the portion that you can get a hold of which would be usually somewhere up the shaft of the exposed portion of the fetus, pulling down on it through the os, using the internal os as your counter-traction and rotating to dismember the shoulder or the hip or whatever it would be. Sometimes you will get one leg and you can’t get the other leg out.

Question: In that situation, are you, when you pull on the arm and remove it, is the fetus still alive?

Carhart: Yes.

Question: Do you consider an arm, for example, to be a substantial portion of the fetus?

Carhart: In the way I read it, I think if I lost my arm, that would be a substantial loss to me. I think I would have to interpret it that way.

Question: And then what happens next after you remove the arm? You then try to remove the rest of the fetus?

Carhart: Then I would go back and attempt to either bring the feet down or bring the skull down, or even sometimes you bring the other arm down and remove that also and then get the feet down.

Question: At what point is the fetus...does the fetus die during that process?

Carhart: I don’t really know. I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.
When Live Action did an undercover investigation of Carhart recently, he had changed his approach, using a digoxin injection into the baby's heart to make sure that it was dead before he even started the procedure:

Woman: So I'll have a dead baby in me?

Carhart: For three days, yeah.

Woman: Will it start to decompose or something:

Carhart: No. It's like putting meat in a Crock Pot, OK? 
So the PBA ban got Carhart to change the method he used for killing the baby. While we can assume that it's painful for the baby to have a large-bore needle stuck through its chest into its beating heart, that is surely less painful than being dismembered alive and conscious, able to move and put a limb out through the mother's cervix. Though the ban didn't save these babies' lives, it did provide them with a somewhat more merciful death.

Carhart also indicated to the Live Action investigator that he was careful to follow the law. He did not break the Nebraska law by perpetrating abortions past the legal limit, but instead had those patient travel to Maryland, where he could legally perform elective abortions through 26 weeks. Left to himself, Carhart is not a lawbreaker.

He did, however, perpetrate illegal third-trimester abortions in Kansas while he was working for infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller. Carhart perpetrated the illegal third-trimester abortion that killed Christin Gilbert (pictured). However, Tiller was able to maintain a clinic where such illegal abortions were openly perpetrated because of his tremendous political clout. He had no less a personage than the Governor protecting him. Carhart evidently has not on his own initiate cultivated such relationships in the states where he is practicing now. Whether he would do so if abortion were banned entirely is open to speculation.

Odds are that Carhart could be kept in check by clearly written laws that distinguished between direct abortion (deliberately killing the baby) and indirect abortion (performing a procedure necessary to protect the mother's live but which necessitated delivering the baby prior to viability). The law would have to include clear and severe penalties for deliberately killing the baby. This would make it extremely difficult for even the Governor to get the doctor out of trouble if a local prosecutor went after the lawbreaker. 

Carhart's age (he was born in 1941) makes it likely that were his livelihood to be taken away, he would just retire. However, is is a tireless advocate for abortion -- particularly post-viability abortions -- so he would still be trying to pull political strings and would have to be monitored and thwarted in his efforts to remove protection from unborn babies and their vulnerable mothers.

Three Deaths and Why Women Will Always be Vulnerable to Abortionists

Dr. Robert Prince (pictured) has claimed that before Roe vs. Wade, he saw a lot of women suffering from the effects of illegal abortions. Rather than help his patients to address the real problems they faced, once abortion was legalized Prince became an abortionist himself and performed the fatal abortion on Dorothy Bryant, who died on May 31, 1986.

Would Prince stop perpetrating abortions if they were recriminalized? It's difficult to say. I've found no evidence that he was a criminal abortionist before Roe,  and he does not appear to be flagrantly breaking the law now, so he's not a likely candidate for taking up a life of crime. However, abortion has become his livelihood, so recriminalization would leave him in dire financial straights, as well as with an enormous void in his life. This is something we need to prepare for when legal protection is restored to the unborn and their vulnerable mothers. Fortunately, many abortionists are up in years (Prince himself graduated from medical school in 1960), so retirement will be a tempting option and might be enough to take many of them out of circulation. 


Maureen Tyke (pictured), a 21-year-old Pennsylvania resident, was in Florida visiting relatives when she went to Aware Woman Clinic in Melbourne for a safe and legal abortion. The abortion was performed by Dr. John Bayard Britton on May 27, 1983. The clinic records indicate that Britton noted that Maureen had a complete double uterus and cervix. Nobody noted anything else unusual. About 24 hours after her abortion, Maureen developed nausea, vomiting, and chills. She felt extremely ill. The next day, she was admitted to the hospital. She had fever and chills, and was extremely weak. Her blood pressure was very low and her skin had turned an unhealthy blue-gray from lack of oxygen to her tissues. Her autopsy later noted that she was "in extreme septic shock." Doctors at the hospital performed a complete hysterectomy on Maureen to try to remove what seemed to be the source of the infection. But their efforts were in vain. The raging infection and heart failure Maureen suffered took their toll on her body. Maureen died early on the morning of May 31. In addition to the infection that took her life, the autopsy found that Maureen had "florid myocarditis, probably of viral etiology [a serious viral infection of the heart]." The medical examiner added, "The intensity of this myocarditis should indicate that the young woman was very ill and there should have been some signs or symptoms of serious illness at the time she was being prepared for the abortion." However, as the autopsy had noted, nobody at the clinic had noticed that Maureen was very ill and in no condition for elective surgery.

Britton, sadly, was murdered as he showed up at the facility for work one day, ending his life before he had any opportunity to repent of the destructive life's work he had chosen. His murderer had justified the crime on the grounds that killing Britton saved the lives of the unborn babies Britton would have continued to kill. But Britton's death did nothing to stop Patricia Baird-Windle (pictured), owner of Aware Woman, from practicing what she said upfront had become a religion for her -- promoting the "sacrament" (her word) of abortion. Only when she retired did Aware Woman finally close its doors for good. And you can bet that she's still at work in her retirement, making sure that active abortionists have plenty of customers.

As legal protection is restored to the unborn, life advocates need to maintain an awareness of people like Baird-Windle, who will pursue abortion with the fervor of a jihadist. These are the people who will set up networks to find vulnerable women and get them to an abortionist come hell or high water. We will need to develop strategies for keeping them in check -- and in prison if necessary. Habitual accomplices to abortion will have to be treated as what they are -- people who conspire to facilitate serial murder. Nothing short of locking them up for life will stop them, and even when they are in prison they will continue to strive to make sure that abortions are committed. It's their religion, and they're not going to give it up unless the Holy Spirit delivers an smackdown.


On May 30, 1929, 19-year-old Amelia Stumbras died from complications of a criminal abortion. Though the coroner pushed for prosecution, the guilty party was never identified or apprehended.

Given how little information I have about Amelia's death, the only preventability factor is the obvious one of making sure that women know that they are not abandoned to the abortionists. Women who are offered loving support aren't nearly as likely to resort to abortion as women who are left to believe they have no other options. As Planned Parenthood Medical Director Mary Calderone (pictured) noted in 1960:

"[Planned Parenthood Abortion in America] Conference members agreed, and this was backed up by evidence from the Scandinavians, that when a woman seeking an abortion is given the chance of talking over her problem with a properly trained and oriented person, she will in the process very often resolve many of her qualms and will spontaneously decide to see the pregnancy through, particularly if she is assured that supportive help will continue to be available to her."
Modern abortion advocates know this as well. The more honest of them picked up and embraced this quote by prolife activist Frederica Matthewes-Green: "No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg."

We're once more seeing Big Abortion taking action to ensure that women remain caught in the trap through their latest attack on the pregnancy help centers that offer the woman a chance to free herself from the trap without resorting to abortion. Whether because, like Robert Prince, it's their bread and butter, or because, like Patricia Baird-Windle, it's their religion, there will always be those who will fight any attempts to help women avoid abortions. Keeping them in check will always have to be a high priority.

Gosnell, Carhart, and the PBA Ban (Part 3)

In Part 1, I gave some background on post-viability abortions, which were invented by the Supreme Court in 1973. In Part 2, I described the advent of the procedure that came to be known as Partial Birth Abortion. 

Now let's look at the ban and what it meant for abortion practitioners.

A trained eye can see the impact of Martin Haskell's "D&X" presentation paper all over the Kermit Gosnell Grand Jury Report. After all, sticking a scissors in the base of a living baby's skull to kill it didn't originate with Gosnell. In fact, the Grand Jury Report itself says:
At one point in his Grand Jury testimony, Kermit Gosnell employee Steve Massof "tried to suggest that the clinic’s practice of cutting babies’ spinal cords was somehow part of a late-term procedure called intact dilation and extraction (IDX), commonly referred to as 'partial birth abortion' and banned under federal law since 2007."

That Gosnell saw what he was doing as a modified PBA is clearer when we come to another employee's testimony:
Kareema Cross testified that when she first started working at the clinic, in 2005, Gosnell slit the neck of every baby. But he subsequently told the workers that the law changed so that he could not do that anymore. .... Cross said that Gosnell then tried a few times to use a new procedure: He tried to inject a drug called digoxin into the fetus’s heart while it was in the womb. This was supposed to cause fetal demise in utero. But because Gosnell was not skillful enough to successfully administer digoxin, late-term babies continued to be born alive, and he continued to kill them by slitting their necks.
Clearly Gosnell was trying to work inside the law. He tried to modify his practice to be in compliance as he understood it, even though he was violating other laws left and right. 

While the Partial Birth Abortion Ban did at least result in an attempt to change procedures to something that would be slightly less painful for the baby, in Gosnell's case at least it ultimately had no effect. What's more had Gosnell managed to kill the baby while it was only partially born, he would have only been guilty of violating the Abortion Control Act, and not guilty of murder.

When Roe falls, the laws will have to be tightened up so that there will be no chance of an abortionist weaseling around.

Gosnell, Carhart, and the PBA Ban (Part 2)

In Part 1, I gave a bit of background to the whole practice of post-viability abortions, which were invented by the Supreme Court in 1973 and embraced wholeheartedly by a select group of intrepid abortion practitioners who weren't about to let a little thing like a baby thwart their ambitions.

Post-viability abortions are a subset of abortions past the midpoint in pregnancy, at which point the baby is too big and sturdy to easily dismember. It was for these abortions in general, and not post-viability abortions in particular, that a solution was sought.

Hysterotomy (delivering a baby via c-section and just letting it die) is a massively invasive procedure and can lead to unpleasant legal ramifications if somebody in the OR realizes that you're killing a viable baby and is enough of a retrograde throwback to have a problem with that.

The old-style instillation abortions (putting poison in the amniotic fluid) were, like hysterotomy, too dangerous to do outside a hospital. Not only was that prohibitively expensive, but in a hospital, the doctor didn't have as much control over who dealt with the patients, and thus he was risking the problem I mentioned before of buttinski nurses who would see a live baby and wouldn't just drop it in the bucket and stick it in the closet per instructions.

Once ultrasound machines became common, however, abortionists discovered that rather than just load the amniotic fluid down with poison and hope the baby swallows and inhales enough of it to die, they could jab a needle straight into the baby's heart or brain and deliver a lethal dose much more reliably.

Once the baby is dead, the abortionist can let it soften overnight -- "like meat in a crock pot" as LeRoy Carhart said -- and take it out in pieces the next day, or he can induce labor and let the mother deliver it into the toilet, as George Tiller preferred to do.

Some doctors, however, found the crock-put baby thing a bit troubling. Among them was Dr. James McMahon in California, who had two issues brewing.

First of all, he had a strange fascination with the idea of dilating the cervix as wide as he could. He quoted another abortionist as describing opening the cervix "like a lotus in the moonlight." Personally I find that creepy, but then I have a problem with dropping a live baby into a bucket and covering it with formaldehyde so I'm clearly an unenlightened busybody like those troublesome nurses that couldn't be trusted to deal appropriately with saline survivors.

Second of all, many of his patients were aborting wanted babies that had been diagnosed with some problem. These parents wanted to see the baby after it was dead. A macerated, mutilated fetus isn't a pretty sight.

McMahon came up with a solution, which he dubbed "intrauterine cranial decompression." He'd drag the living baby out feet-first, then stop just before delivering the head to suck out the brains, "decompressing" the "cranium." All he'd have to do was have a nurse stuff the collapsed head with cotton batting to round it out and he'd have a very presentable dead baby to show the parents.

"Intrauterine cranial decompression" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, and perhaps because of this it didn't catch on very quickly. Then in 1992, Dr. Martin Haskell made a presentation to the National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar in Dallas. He tweaked McMahon's technique and dubbed it "D&X," for "dilation and extraction." With such a catchy name, how could it fail?

The method caught on, but the prolifers caught wind of it, and the proverbial shit hit the fan. The prolifers gave the procedure the name that finally stuck -- Partial Birth Abortion -- and managed to get it banned.

What a bunch of killjoys.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gosnell, Carhart, and the PBA Ban (Part 1)

Abortionist Carhart
The Kermit Gosnell verdict and Live Action's release of the Carhart video offer us a chance to reflect on how the Partial Birth Abortion (PBA) Ban changed and didn't change abortion practice.

Let's have a brief refresher.

Before Roe

Post-viability abortions are at their core a nonsensical concept. Pick up any dictionary and you'll find that "abortion" is defined as the death of the fetus prior to viability. All pregnancies end. A pregnancy with an "abortive outcome" ended before the baby could survive outside the womb. This abortive outcome could be natural (a miscarriage) or induced by deliberately killing a living fetus. Once the fetus had passed the developmental age of viability, the outcome of the pregnancy is by definition a birth -- either a live birth or a stillbirth. But in 1973, a group of non-physicians handed down a decision called Roe vs. Wade which decreed that logic be damned, language be damned,  medicine be damned, if somebody wanted to kill a fetus at any point in the pregnancy, legally that act of killing would be lumped in under "abortion" and it would be enshrined as a right.

Tinkering Around

With this new permission to kill any fetus they wanted to kill, abortionists tinkered around. They took the two basic ways of getting a viable fetus out of the mother -- induced labor and a c-section -- and modified them to make sure that the end result would not be a live baby. Those who preferred to induce labor would do something prior to inducing labor to make sure the baby would come out dead. In the era before ultrasounds allowed an abortionist to guide a needle to the fetal heart or brain to do a lethal injection, this was done by injecting poison into the amniotic fluid. If labor induction failed, or if for some reason time was of the essence, a hysterotomy would be performed -- which is just a c-section with the intent of delivering a dead baby.

The Problem

Both of these approaches to the newly-minted post-viability abortion, however, had one serious drawback. Fetuses can be remarkably tenacious of life. You can want them dead, but they can thwart your plans by failing to die. This is known as the "dreaded complication." (Interesting that the "dreaded complication" isn't a dead mother but a live baby. What other medical procedure considers life itself to be both dreaded and a complication?)

There are two standard approaches to the dreaded complicaton:
  1. The Obama Approach: Pronounce that since you'd made the decision to go ahead with an abortion, the fetus is by definition not viable regardless of his or her actual gestational age, size, health status, and condition upon delivery. He or she is to be stashed with the more cooperative -- and hence dead -- fetuses in the utility room or biohazard bag or wherever you choose to put them. Just pretend the whole ugly little business with the pulse and the breathing and the movement and the gasping and the crying never happened.
  2. The Gosnell Approach: "Ensure fetal demise" after the baby is delivered. This is much quicker and more certain.
The problem with both of these approaches is that they leave you open to a third possibility:
  • The Oh Shit I'm Gonna Get My Ass Sued Off Now Approach: Some idiot nurse rescues the baby and you curse the day you let that interfering bitch anywhere near your patient.
To most people, the How About We Don't Abort the Baby in the First Place Approach seems like an obvious solution. In fact, most abortionists decided that this is a good approach, at least for their own personal practices.* But some abortionists were more bold and intrepid. They weren't about to be cowed by some three-pound conglomeration of pregnancy tissue! And leading the charge was a stalwart fellow from Orange County, California. His name was James McMahon, and he was determined that if the person "who owns the child" wants it dead, then he would achieve that death, for a sizeable fee, whatever the great  personal cost to himself!

*I find it fascinating that although the abortion lobby fights to force all ob/gyns to perpetrate abortions whether they want to do them or not, there is no concerted effort to force existing abortion practitioners to do late abortions whether they want to do them or not. Bizarre, no?

1929 Mystery Abortion Proved Fatal

On May 30, 1929, 19-year-old Amelia (or Anela) Stumbras died from complications of a criminal abortion. Though the coroner pushed for prosecution, the guilty party was never identified or apprehended.

Given how little information I have about Amelia's death, the only preventability factor is the obvious one of making sure that women know that they are not abandoned to the abortionists. Women who are offered loving support aren't nearly as likely to resort to abortion as women who are left to believe they have no other options. As Planned Parenthood Medical Director Mary Calderone noted in 1960:

"[Planned Parenthood Abortion in America] Conference members agreed, and this was backed up by evidence from the Scandinavians, that when a woman seeking an abortion is given the chance of talking over her problem with a properly trained and oriented person, she will in the process very often resolve many of her qualms and will spontaneously decide to see the pregnancy through, particularly if she is assured that supportive help will continue to be available to her." ("Illegal Abortion as a Public Health Problem," American Journal of Public Health v. 50 no. 7,July 1960)

There is simply no excuse to come between women and hope. And if abortion-rights activists valued women's lives as much as they say they do, they'd stop their drive to keep women away from the people who are willing to offer hope. 

Remembering Douglas "Texas Gosnell" Karpen's Teenage Victim

Abortionists Douglas Karpen is currently under investigation after three of his empolyees came forward to assert that they'd seen him, Gosnell-like, routinely murder viable infants born alive during abortions.

But it's not only nameless infants that have fallen victim to Douglas Karpen. Today we remember a teenage victim.

Denise Montoya was fifteen years old when her parents brought her to Women's Pavillion in Houston for an elective abortion on May 13, 1988. Karpan performed an abortion to kill Denise's viable 25.5-week unborn child.

Denise suffered severe bleeding, and was admitted to Ben Taub hospital. Her condition deteriorated, and she died on May 29, 1988.

Her parents filed suit against Karpen and the clinic, saying that they had faied to adequately explain the risks of the procedure, and had not provided consent forms, or had the parents sign any informed consent document, prior to the fatal abortion. They indicated that they never would have subjected their daughter to a highly risky third trimester abortion had they been informed of how dangerous the procedure was.
According to their 1991 Annual Report, Women's Pavillion was a National Abortion Federation member.

Operation Rescue has made the complaint by Denise's parents available here.

Karpen also owned and operated the facility where Glenda Davis suffered multiple internal lacerations before being loaded into an employee's car rather than an ambulance for transport to the hospital where she died.

Abortionist Showery
In a Post-Roe Texas, it would likely be easier to take a quack like Karpen out of circulation -- provided, of course, the authorities actually cared enough about women to want to do so. So far the authorities in Texas are moving at an utterly glacial speed regarding the allegations his former employees have brought forth -- and what they have provided already far surpassed what was sufficient to convict Raymond Showery of murdering a live-born infant in 1979. But were the law that Norma McCorvey challenged as Jane Roe once again in effect, there would be no dancing around how many ultrasounds Karpen did or didn't perform, or whether he killed the baby with digoxin before ripping its throat out, or even whether the baby was in or out of the womb when the deed was done. Such niceties of law might determine precisely which laws he could be prosecuted for breaking, but "So what? Abortions are ugly and brutal." wouldn't provide any legal coverage.

As we move closer to a Post-Roe America, prolifes in individual states need to do an in-depth legal analysis of the laws that are currently enjoined by Roe and Doe, along with laws that have been  passed since then, and immediately move to close up any loopholes the likes of Douglas Karpen will be looking to wriggle through. The laws need to be tightened up to make it clear that killing a baby is killing a baby, and where that baby was when you ripped through its fragile flesh with your Bierers' forceps should have zero effect on how accountable an abortionist is held.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"When a Pregnancy Goes Horribly Wrong"

NARAL's latest email lamentation is that the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would "ban abortion for women who face a tragic diagnosis later in pregnancy."

This drive to mobilize the masses is deceitful for two primary reasons.

First, the action alert is intended to convey a false impression about why late abortions are done. The impression that NARAL and other abortion lobbyists work to convey is that these late abortions, which involve inflicting a painful death on a baby close to or past the point of viability, are done primarily "when a pregnancy goes horribly wrong." This is demonstrably false on its face. The abortion lobby's own research indicates that the majority of abortions after 20 weeks are done for the same reasons that abortions before 20 weeks are done; they're just done later.

Second, they are trying to give a false impression that "when a pregnancy goes horribly wrong," abortion is the solution that is best for the woman. Again, this is demonstrably false. Big Abortion knows that the later in the pregnancy, and the more wanted the baby, the more devastating the emotional impact of abortion is on the mother. Abortion is the worst thing that you can do.

Let's look at each of those false claims:

Late abortions are done "when a pregnancy goes horribly wrong."

The abortion lobby is very careful to lump late second-trimester abortions (20 - 24 weeks) in with second-trimester abortions in general (12 - 24 weeks). This allows them to refer to "abortions after the first trimester" and allow people to imagine abortions at 13 or 14 weeks, which people are squeamish about but not often totally horrified over. If absolutely forced to address abortions past 20 weeks, they'll trot out some woman who was given a dreadful prenatal diagnosis and present her as typical.

So though the data are buried carefully, we can get some solid clues. Human Life International put together a review of information on why later abortions are done.

One source of information is a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute on why women were undergoing abortions beyond 16 weeks.
Only two percent (2%) said "a fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy," compared to 71% who responded "did not recognize that she was pregnant or misjudged gestation," 48% who said "found it hard to make arrangements," and 33% who said "was afraid to tell her partner or parents." The report did not indicate that any of the 420 late abortions were performed because of maternal health problems. ["Why Do Women Have Abortions?," Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988.]

Keep in mind as well that "fetal problem" is a broad category that includes everything from a fatal condition like anenecephaly, through conditions like Down Syndrome which don't prevent the person from living a full, happy life, to things like cleft lip or an extra finger.

Lest anyone assert that surely the social reasons are at the earlier end of the "past 16 weeks" spectrum and the "fetal diagnosis" abortions are the ones past 20 weeks, let's look at what we learned during the Partial Birth Abortion battle in the 1990s. You can follow the link for the full article. Here's a sample:

US News & World Report investigated abortion supporters' claims about late abortions. In looking at the reasons for late abortions, the report said:
    [T]he survey undermines another claim sometimes made by abortion-rights groups, at least with regard to the D&X issue: that late abortions are usually done for medical reasons, particularly to protect the life and/or health of the mother. Only 9.4 percent of late abortions at clinics that responded to the U.S. News survey were done for medical reasons, either to protect the mother's health (a rare situation) or, more commonly, because of fetal defects such as spina bifida and Down's syndrome. For the handful of very late abortions, those after 26 weeks, medical reasons do predominate. But for post-20-week abortions generally, about 90 percent were classified by the clinics as "nonmedical." Source: When abortions come late in a pregnancy:
Let's nerd-wrestle those numbers, shall we?

According to the CDC, from 1999 - 2008, roughly 5.8% of abortions were done at or after 16 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks. So of abortions done past 16 weeks, 76% are at or before 20 weeks and 24% are at or after 21 weeks.

So let's go back to the AGI study that found 2% of 16+ week abortions being done due to some prenatal diagnosis of a health problem in the baby. CDC data indicate that 24% of those 16+ week abortions were actually done at 21+ weeks. That would mean that for every 100 abortions done past 16 weeks at AGI-surveyed facilities, 24 of them are past 20 weeks, and 22 of those post-20-week abortions, or 83%,  were for social reasons. That's far closer to the 91% number U.S. News found than it is to the image the abortion lobby is trying to convey.

That's enough to show that the image of late-abortions for "when a pregnancy goes horribly wrong" is just a way of turning women with tragic situations into human shields.

Let's move on to the second false claim:

Abortion is the best solution to late pregnancy problems.

This goes beyond the political and into the personal. Many women who get an unfavorable prenatal diagnosis report pressure to abort that can reach the level of lying, terrorizing, threatening, and even in some cases scheduling the abortion immediately while the woman is too stunned by the news to resist.

I find it telling that the same people who scream bloody murder that a prolife pregnancy center might "mislead" a woman "at a vulnerable time" are not the least bit up in arms when doctors, genetics counselors, and social workers browbeat and even lie to women in order to convince them to abort loved and wanted babies!

There are so many ugly creatures hiding under the eugenics abortion rock that I can't even begin to tackle them here. I'll just mention them briefly:
  1. It's deplorable the way doctors put their own personal eugenics agenda ahead of their patients' needs, and its doubly deplorable the way Big Abortion colludes with them.
  2. Every aspect of a "fetal indications" abortion makes it especially devastating to the mother. How disgusting is it that the abortions that are most likely to emotionally crush women are the ones the self-appointed champions of women push for the hardest?
  3. Late abortions are not low risk. They carry all the risks of delivering a living child plus the risks involved in whatever it is the doctor does to make sure that the baby dies. It's inexcusable to push risky and unnecessary procedures on stressed and vulnerable women in the name of supposedly protecting women's lives and health.
  4. If a baby has health problems that are treatable or manageable, the compassionate response is to treat or manage the health problems.
  5. If a baby has a fatal condition, perinatal hospice allows the family to nurture and love the child for every moment of his or her short life, providing palliative care to keep the child comfortable.
  6. If the woman is given supportive care and it turns out the diagnosis or prognosis was wrong, she has the immeasurable joy of bringing home and loving her baby. If the woman aborts and the prognosis is wrong, her loved, wanted, and healthy-after-all baby is dead. How terrifying a prospect is that?
 Abortion is ugly enough in its most common form. Rallying behind the practice of aborting babies that we know are capable of experiencing the torture of being aborted because it is "necessary" to kill sick children is hideous.

We Need to Coin a Term

The latest handwringing over all of those yucky disabled babies that might not get aborted if a post-20-week abortion ban goes into effect has my thoughts turning again to the need for a word to describe the mindset of the people who champion such abortions. Their "celebrate diversity" signs vanish when the diversity means somebody whose mind or body or senses work differently than those of the majority of people. Something must be suddenly kicking in to shut down the tolerance have them reaching for the medical equivalent of torches and pitchforks.

Let's go to the Phobia List and see what we find:

Here we have a possibility: Atelophobia- Fear of imperfection. Granted, these folks act out their own bigotry in terms of trying to eliminate others that they view as "imperfect", but might not there be an underlying fear of their own imperfection that they're projecting onto kids who are different?

Maybe this is closely related to Cenophobia or Centophobia- Fear of new things or ideas. (or Metathesiophobia- Fear of changes.) How horrible it might be for these people to entertain the idea that just because other people are different doesn't mean they're wretched or deserve to die?

Maybe we're dealing with Optophobia- Fear of opening one's eyes. Not literally, of course, but fear of opening one's eyes to the humanity of those who are different.

There's definitely an aspect of Panthophobia- Fear of suffering and disease. The eugenicists perceive the child as suffering, and as being afflicted with some disease, and thus fear the child.

Maybe we have a lot of different people with different fears all converging against their common enemy: children whose existence makes them uncomfortable, for whatever reason.

We need to stop acting as if what they propose -- identifying "defective" children through prenatal testing so that they can be weeded out in the womb -- is in any way a decent, humane thing to do. It's acting on one's own fear, making somebody else die because of your own personal issues.

It's bigotry and intolerance maxed out and on steroids and needs to be treated like the social pathology it is.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Abortion Advocacy Post-Roe: "We Need a Corpse!"

I call this article "Abortion Advocacy Post-Roe," but make no mistake -- the preparations are already in the works for any contingency that they can play to their benefit. You can be certain they're ready for those states that will soon be without a dedicated abortion facility. We've seen this sort of thing play out before, so we know what's going to happen. We need to be prepared.

We need to take a lesson to prevent needless tragedy -- a specific needless tragedy that the abortion advocacy movement desperately needs to regain momentum.

It's important to note up front that it is not the average pro-choice citizen who is gearing up to create and exploit a tragedy. It's Big Abortion -- an unholy alliance of population control zealots, abortion practitioners, eugenicists, and Sandra Fluke-style feminists. Make no mistake about it. They are putting the pieces in place, and average prochoice citizens are being primed to play their part in protecting Big Abortion's interests under the guise of protecting women.

Big Abortion is losing traction. The main thing they need to regain momentum is a corpse. If you think they're not gearing up to produce one, think again. We only need to look back to 1976.

Lessons From the Past

In 1976, the Hyde Amendment went into effect, banning the use of Federal funds to pay for abortions except to save the mother from an immediate threat to her life. The measure was named for its author, Congressman Henry Hyde. Abortion advocates had been keening from the moment the Hyde Amendment was up for vote. They painted a ghastly picture of coathanger-impaled women littering the streets as poor women were driven to desperation by lack of "access," just as today abortion enthusiasts are keening about what will happen if we start actually holding abortion clinics up to standards more rigorous than what you see in a bus station men's room.

When the Hyde Amendment went into effect, abortion advocates ramped up the hysteria and waited for a death, any death, they could hang around Henry Hyde's neck.On October 3, 1977, the Big Abortion vultures got what they'd been waiting for: a dead woman they could use as leverage in the fight to once again force taxpayers to fund elective abortions.

On September 26, 1977, 27-year-old Rosie Jimenez had shown up at the emergency room of McAllen General Hospital in the Texas border town of McAllen, suffering from septic shock caused by an infection from an illegal abortion. She was put in intensive care, but died on October 3.

The initial response of the abortion lobby to news of Rosie's death was little short of euphoric. They had their trophy, their dead woman whose face they could hide behind in order to push for the restoration of tax money flowing into abortion clinics.

An Unexpected Investigation

One voice stood out from the crowd: Ellen Frankfort, author of Rosie: the investigation of a wrongful death. Ms. Frankfort was disgusted with the bulk of the prochoice movement, who seemed content to pounce on Rosie's death and then milk it for political gain. She began an investigation into what had led Rosie to her death, and she found a lot that neither the Centers for Disease Control nor abortion advocacy organizations had been willing to look for, since all they'd wanted was political leverage. Unlike Ellen Frankfort, they weren't looking for the real culprit behind Rosie's death: they'd had a bogeyman in mind even before she'd died, in the form of Henry Hyde.

Off to McAllen Ms. Frankfort went, to learn all she could. She learned:
  1. Rosie had already undergone two abortions at taxpayer expense. (Hence, she had no idea what an abortion would actually cost, and had been taught that it was the government's job, not hers or her lover's, to keep her uterus empty.)
  2. (Thanks to the efforts of the abortion lobby) Rosie's friends and relatives knew that there were no more free abortions, and told her so.
  3. Her regular doctor abandoned her; he simply told her there were no more free abortions, without referring her for any help (either for a sliding-scale abortion or help with addressing her life issues that made her feel like abortion was her only choice).
  4. Rosie's cousin brought her to a lay midwife in McAllen who charged $120 to perform an abortion using a catheter, a procedure once used by doctors but since abandoned because of infection risk. 
  5. The sliding-scale abortions (that Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates pointedly failed to raise awareness about) cost $130 -- only $10 more than the illegal abortion. (This is something Rosie probably would have known if not for the fact that the government, not Rosie herself, paid for the previous two abortions.) 
  6. The day before her abortion, Rosie had spent $8 on a cake for a friend's baby shower. She had a scholarship check for $800 in her purse. (Rosie could have afforded a legal abortion; she just evidently was never told that such an option was available.)
  7. Rosie, predictably, took ill, waited to go to the hospital until she was moribund, and in spite of heroic efforts by the doctors there she died.
There is no evidence that, at any point, anybody informed Rosie of resources such as Birthright that could have helped her to address her problems without resorting to abortion in the first place.

The Reaction

The doctors reported the death to the CDC. The CDC notified their allies in the abortion lobby. Rosie's death was quickly trumpeted nationwide as proof that Henry Hyde was a murderer and that taxpayers should immediately resume funding elective abortions to prevent another such death.

It is worth reiterating, when we look at Rosie's death, that prochoice groups had been very successful in spreading the word that public funding for abortion had been cut -- Rosie's friend and cousin, as well as her physician, were well aware of this fact -- but they had pointedly failed to also pass out the word that Planned Parenthood still referred for abortions on a sliding scale, and that private funds were available. It's almost as if the public-relations departments of Planned Parenthood and other abortion-advocacy groups had deliberately increased the odds of a tragedy like Rosie's death in order to provide the corpses needed in order to prop up a drive to restore tax monies to abortion facilities.

Lessons for Today

Let's start with what we know:
  1. As long as people perpetrate abortions, there will be a certain number of women who die as a result of those abortions.
  2. If the woman dies from a "safe" legal abortion (Jennifer McKenna-Morbelli, Christin Gilbert), the abortion rights machine will minimize the death and wait for any bad press to blow over.
  3. If the woman dies from a quacktastic legal abortion (Karnamaya Mongar, Carolina Gutierrez), the abortion rights machine will do the convoluted routine of "It's all the antichoicers' fault because they regulate and inspect abortion clinics and won't give them money."
  4. If the woman dies from a politically useless illegal abortion (Daisy Roe, Kris Humphrey), the abortion machine will ignore it.
  5. If the woman dies from a nice gory "back alley" style illegal abortion, the full-blown, aggressive Blame Game will begin in earnest. It will be Rosie Jimenez all over again but with the aid of social media.
It all boils down to this: Abortionists will continue to kill women once abortion becomes illegal. It's an inevitable side effect of their trade.

We are close to achieving the first state with no dedicated abortion facility. The first woman that an abortionist kills in that state will become a martyr to the abortion cause in a way we haven't seen since Ms. published the crime scene photo of Geri Santoro in 1973. But it's not 1973 any more.

In 1973, it was hard to muster a groundswell of fear and outrage because after all Geri had been dead for nearly a decade and Roe vs. Wade had just supposedly put an end forever to women's gruesome abortion deaths. (Except, of course, that it didn't, but it did put an end to prochoice outrage over women's gruesome abortion deaths.)

Abortion rights groups, from the local NOW chapter to the International Planned Parenthood Federation already have established relationships with the mainstream news organizations. The new martyr that the abortion machine creates will become the focus of a campaign that will have all the fury and media hype that Big Abortion can muster. The result will be a well-coordinated assault that will make D-Day look like it was thrown together haphazardly and indifferently.

We also need to remember that Big Abortion will find out about the dead woman long before we will. They have connections in public health agencies that we simply don't, because they began planting them there back when Planned Parenthood was still calling itself the Birth Control League. Those connections will give them adequate lead time before allowing the story to break. Public health officials will not be neutral sources of information -- though of course they will pretend to be. They will be a key part of the orchestrated media blitz, just as the Centers for Disease Control was a key player in the media campaign when Rosie Jimenez died. The specifics of which woman they manage to get killed, and under what specific circumstances, will be well known to them but will blindside us and leave us playing catch-up to find out what really happened.

Look at the traction they're gaining in Ireland from the death of a woman who was not promptly given antibiotics during a miscarriage. It took a wild stretch of the imagination to blame that woman's death on lack of "safe and legal abortion," but that hasn't stopped the abortion machine and its media lackeys. Ireland is poised to come under the control of Big Abortion. Can you imagine what they'll accomplish with a death they have actually engineered and prepared for?

I don't have all the answers, but I have a good starting point: The prolife movement already has everything in place necessary to prevent there from ever being another abortion death. We have pregnancy help centers. No woman needs to be without friends, help, and hope. The abortion machine has recently launched another assault on those who dare to stand in their way. Exposing this effort for what it is -- a way to fatten abortionists' purses and give more power to the abortion lobby -- needs to be a key part of our strategy to prevent Big Abortion from creating and exploiting another Rosie Jimenez.

"Failing" Maryland Abortion Clinics: The Real Answer

"Abortion clinics lose licenses again," The Baltimore Sun, May 24, 2013
State health regulators suspended the licenses of several abortion clinics owned by Associates in OB/GYN Care for the second time after an employee with no health care license or certification gave a patient a drug to induce an abortion at the Baltimore facility.
The firm's clinics in Baltimore, Cheverly and Silver Spring had their licenses suspended in March after a woman suffered complications after an abortion at the Baltimore facility and died at a local hospital. The woman had trouble breathing after the procedure, and the state said she suffered cardiac arrest at the clinic. OB/GYN Care disputes that account.
Let's not just focus on how bad abortion clinics are. OptionLine lists five resource centers near Baltimore, and four near Silver Spring. No doubt there are far  more. Our response to this story needs to be consistently two-fold:

1. You never know what sort of quackery you're setting yourself up for when you trust an abortion facility.

2. There are people who will help.

Write letters to the editor and comments on web sites that stress these points, especially if they list local resources pregnant women can turn to rather than submitting to despair.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Never-Ending Missed Opportunity

I see it nearly every time some abortion atrocity is in the news. We focus on the atrocity and others like it but don't point out that we've already made an alternative available.

Much of the news coverage of the Gosnell case, for example, reiterated the fallacy that "desperate women had no where else to go." But that's demonstrably false. They had an abundance of prolife centers.

Every single story about Kermit Gosnell needed to be accompanied by a mention that women had an alternative that would have addressed their underlying problems. "Women facing problems late in pregnancy are not stuck with a choice between Kermit Gosnell and LeRoy Carhart. There are X pregnancy centers in Philadelphia proper, and Y in the surrounding communities. Real help is available to address the reasons she sees abortion as her only choice. Prolifers have not abandoned women. We invite prochoice citizens as well to offer help that doesn't involve climbing on the abortion table."

When Jennifer McKenna-Morbelli died, I saw no mention in any of the prolife press about perinatal hospice. "It's tragic that, faced with a prenatal diagnosis, Ms. McKenna-Morbelli ended up in the hands of a man who stood to get thousands of dollars richer from her loss. There are resources that allow families to provide their ailing children with whatever care they need, even if it is only palliative care to keep them comfortable while they are enjoying whatever time they can have being held and loved."

I've been guilty of this as well. We all need to be ready in the wake of any horrific abortion story to point out not just that the abortion alternative is bad, but that there are good resources available.

Make no mistake about it -- the abortion establishment is geared up to feed women into abortion mills. They did it when abortion was illegal, they do it now, and they'll do it again when Roe falls.They must maintain the illusion that abortion is the only alternative in order to stay in power. Once people wake up to the reality that there are better ways, the foundations will begin to crumble and the abortion edifice can be taken down.

Let's all get in the habit of plugging life-affirming alternatives at every possible opportunity.

One Million Views and a Change in Focus

Yesterday RealChoice hit a milestone: one million page views. And with that milestone comes a new focus.

My research on abortion deaths of all kinds -- especially those of the pre-Roe era -- has taught me four things:

1. Life advocates are very naive if they think criminalizing abortion will be enough.

2. The greatest danger to vulnerable women and their unborn children is not so much abortion's legal status as how much power and influence abortion-rights advocates have.

3. Abortion-rights advocates are smart, organized, well-connected, determined, and unrelenting.

4. Life advocates need to become as smart, organized, well-connected, determined, and unrelenting as the abortion establishment if we are to have any hope of achieving our goal of making abortion not just illegal but unthinkable.

Frankly, this is bad news. It means that all of our efforts to restore legal protection to the unborn and their vulnerable mothers can well end up being for naught. What have we gained if we re-criminalize abortion and end up not with an abortion-free America, but an America in which abortion-rights advocates still have the organization, connections, and power? What have we gained to replace the Kermit Gosnells with Lucy Hagenows?

And that's another piece of bad news. There will never be an end to this. Restoring abortion's legal status to recognize it for the crime it is won't be the end. We won't be able to pack up and move on. Why not? Because the abortion establishment will never pack up and move on. Criminalizing abortion will light a fire under them the way Roe lit a fire under us. They will never quit. Whether they see abortion as a women's rights matter or as a way to keep their sex lives merrily chugging along or as money in the bank or merely as a tool to achieve their social engineering goals, they will stay at it until Jesus returns and delivers all of us a smackdown. We need to come to grips with that.

Slavery didn't end when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation or when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. It changed, mutated, and found a new form in the human trafficking that we see around the world and even in America. The battle to ensure that each and every human being owns the fruits of his or her own labor is ongoing. And the battle to ensure that each and every human being is protected not only by law but by society will be ongoing.

The good news is this: We are far better prepared than we realize.

The structure for a post-Roe America is already in place in the prolfe pregnancy help centers that already by far outnumber dedicated abortion facilities. We have smart people -- best of all, smart young people -- who will take this battle to the next phase.

What is the next phase?

The next phase is developing a plan to make sure that the abortion establishment loses its power and never regains it.

I don't have the answers. But I have the questions. Over the next phase of this blog's life I'll be developing tools for you, the concerned citizen, to find your place in a post-Roe America. Your role may be small or large. It might be a matter of tiny things you say and do as you go about your life. It might be a matter of creating a new life for yourself as a full-time laborer in the ongoing battle to make abortion unthinkable.

What if you're prochoice? You need to prepare for a post-Roe America as well. You need to ask yourself if abortion is an end in itself or if it's a tool used for achieving something worthwhile.

If it's the latter, start by asking yourself if it's the right tool. Is the world you want to build for your children and grandchildren one built on children's blood and mothers' tears? Or can you envision better, a world in which nobody thinks that destruction of unborn human beings is the best or only way to improve the lives of individuals and society?

So. Let's get started.

Preparing for Post Roe America #1: Population Alarmism

With the continued closure of dedicated abortion facilities, there is a lot of talk in the prolife community about "the first abortion free state."
Getting the facilities closed is certainly an excellent step. It's been well documented for over half a century that time itself is a great healer of the early pregnancy panic that sends many women scrambling to the abortion mill. The time it takes to make travel arrangements can be the time it takes to allow the woman to bond with her baby and abandon an abortion plan.

The excellent work people have done setting up prolife resource centers for abortion-vulnerable women has been a triump as well.

There is even hope on the horizon for overturning Roe vs. Wade, in least in part, so that states can begin to restore protection to unborn children.

There's only one fly in the ointment: The abortion machine.

Long before the prolife movement really started coalescing in the 1970s, the abortion machine was well in place and firmly entrenched. The abortion machine consists of people, and through those people organizations, that put massive effort into ensuring that abortion continues to be practiced.

The problem is that we're not dealing with a homogenous group. People have a variety of motives for embracing abortion:

Let's start with the big money.

Population control fantatics want to drive the birth rate down, and abortion is one tool they'll never give up. They know that no matter how much contraception they push for, the human drive for reproduction is powerful and through human error and technological glitches the contraception will frequently fail. These pregnancies are, to the population zealots, excessive mouths to feed and they must be gotten rid of. 

There is also an element of racism to population alarmism. As P.J. O'Rourke put it, population control is a mindset of "Just enough of me, way too much of you."

Population control zealots are never deterred by such pesky little details as being consistently and spectaculary wrong.

Thomas Malthus was spectacularly wrong in his predictions of gloom and doom, but that did not shake population alarmists' faith. Paul "The Population Bomb" Ehrlich's predictions of a rapidly falling sky were likewise shown to be laughably wrong.

In short, population control fanatics are a doomsday cult. No matter how often, nor how thorougly, their catastropic predictions fail to come true, they will rationalize, adjust their predictions, and soldier on.

Unfortunately, they have massive power and clout. The United Nations even has established the well-entrenched United Nations Population Fund that -- interestingly enough -- is far more interested in keeping black and brown and yellow people from reproducing than it is in, say, reducing the population of predomentanty white and far more densely populated countries.

Part of dismanting the abortion juggernaut involves exposing population alarmism for the cult that it is and affirming every culture's right to move themselves out of poverty by achieving the population-density critical mass that allows people to thrive rather than merely survive.

Begin by educating yourself and by stamping out ignorance wherever you find it. Here is an great resource to get your started: has excellent educational resources, including well-produced, clear and succinct videos. Familiarize yourself with this information and slowly we can get people to grasp that reduction of poverty brings reduction in child mortality which brings reduction in family size as people no longer need to have so many children to make sure that at least some survive into adulthood. Population will level off on its own simply by helping the poorest to thrive, not by spraying Ortho-Novum from airplanes (to steal an image).

P.J. O'Rourke also covered population alarmism thorougly and amusingly in the Overpopulation chapter in All the Trouble in the World.

So be ready. When Roe falls, we need to have the population doomsday cult exposed for what it is, so that it will have no more political clout than Heaven's Gate.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Mystery Perp and a Spectacular Murder Case

On May 26, 1950, Annis Whitlow Brown performed an abortion on Joy Joy, the unmarried mother of a six-year-old daughter. Brown botched the job, causing hemorrhage and failing to properly treat the patient. Joy died quickly from blood loss. I have not determined what Brown's profession was. Though the vast majority of pre-Roe abortions were perpetrated by doctors, Brown probably would have been identified as a physician in documents as Dr. Brown were that the case. However, not being a physician didn't necessarily mean not being trained. About half of the perhaps 10% of abortions being committed by non-physicians were done by people who did have medical training, such as nurses, midwives, and dentists. Of those abortionists with no formal medical training, most did have a physician who taught them abortion techniques, made instruments and medications available, and provided emergency care if the patient suffered complications. Very few abortionists had no training or access to medications and medical equipment.

Dr. Eva Shaver
One of the most spectacular and bizarre abortion cases of the 20th century involved a physician abortionist, Dr. Eva Shaver. A 25-year-old hairdresser from Ludington, Michigan, Anna Johnson, was found dead with a bullet wound in her head on May 26, 1915, in Shaver's in Chicago. Two bullet holes marred the walls of Dr. Shaver's son Clarence's room, where Anna's body lay. Strangely, though the revolver, belonging to Clarence, was found resting in Anna's left hand, the bullet had entered on the right. Shaver told police that she had hired Johnson as a maid, and that the girl had committed suicide. But investigators concluded that Anna had died after Shaver had botched an abortion on her. They tore up the floorboards in the house, searching for the remains of aborted babies.

Anna and Marshall
Anna's "sweetheart," Marshall Hostetler, told the coroner's jury that they had been engaged to marry for eight months. When Anna discovered that she was pregnant, Hostetler had offered to marry her promptly, but Anna didn't want anybody to think they had only married because of the pregnancy. A few days later, Hostetler bought some abortifacient pills from. Anna took the pills according to instructions for nearly two weeks, with no effect.
Hostetler reported this failure to Clarence, who showed him letters purportedly from satisfied customers. He told Hostetler that the pills could take a long time to work, as long as 14 weeks -- a claim that leads me to believe that the pills were a placebo and that the Shavers hoped that any miscarriage that occurred when the woman was taking the pills would be attributed to their product. Whatever the case, Clarence provided Hostleter with two more boxes of the pills.

Clarence Shaver
When this new round of pills likewise failed to dislodge the fetus, Hostleter went back to Clarence, who told Hostleter to bring Anna to see his mother, Dr. Shaver, who employed a midwife and a nurse in her home. It was there, of course, that the fatal abortion was perpetrated.

Shaver was tried for Johnson's death and the abortion death of another patient, Lillie Giovenco, in 1914. As the date for the Johnson trial approached, witnesses reported death threats. Hostetler found the threats so frightening that he refused to leave police custody, even though re was free to do so,

Interestingly enough, Anna Johnson's death sparked a crackdown on midwife-abortionists rather than physician-abortionists, even though the corner's records showed both professions to be responsible for a roughly equal number of deaths in Chicago during that era. Part of this, Leslie Reagan believed, was due to the public perception that female practitioners were all midwives, and part was due to the political clout that physicians had but midwives lacked.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"How Could You Defend Him?" Megyn Kelly & Gosnell's Lawyer

Ms. Kelly says to Kermit Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, "We don't tar the attorney with the sins of the client," but she does go after him for defending him not as a client but as a human being.

McMahon did honestly point out that his client was "upset" and "disappointed," and I don't think Ms. Kelly should have laid into him for answering the question honestly. She also, I think, unjustly laid into him for pointing out Gosnell's courteous demeanor toward his attorney. In fact, those statements might be the only reality-based things McMahon utters during the entire interview. A more appropriate response on her part might have been to ask whether or not you are gentlemanly with your lawyer really means that you're a sweet guy. After all, total psychopaths are charming and even courtly when it behooves them to be so. Take Ted Bundy as case in point. Virtually nobody who knew him could believe he was a serial murderer because he was, to them, just such a pleasant, friendly guy. That's not indicative of what was going on inside.

And from there on we get to where McMahon and reality part ways. He says he won't claim that "things did not get out of hand" at Gosnell's clinic. He concedes that "things went a bit awry." Describing what was going on at Gosnell's clinic as "a bit awry" is akin to saying that the Titanic "did sustain a bit of damage" when it hit the iceberg.

McMahon then says that Gosnell is not "defined by the events of 2008" but rather than "he's defined by 72 years of life. 

To some extent, that's true. But we're not talking about something Gosnell did when he was young, that he came to repent of and make amends for. We're talking about the culmination of those 72 years of life. He spent his life moving toward that point.

Now, Ms. Kelly laid into McMahon about the babies wriggling and crying on the operating table, and McMahon takes exception to that, saying that this isn't what the testimony said. And he squeaks around with a half truth. No, the babies weren't wriggling and crying, because their mothers were massively doped up and a lot of those drugs passed the placenta and made the babies too woozy to be as active as a newborn would usually be. But they were moving and making sounds. To have been able to do that when they were as doped up as they were is in fact even more evidence of how vibrantly alive they were -- that they had so much life in them that even with the drugs in their systems they were capable of movement and sound. 

For McMahon to try to pretend those babies were coming out dead is to deny all other evidence and to rely solely on Gosnell's self-serving statements to his lawyer. Either that, or Gosnell told McMahon the truth and McMahon is keeping that as attorney/client privilege -- in which case he should tell the truth and say, "What actually went on, as Dr. Gosnell told me, is a matter of attorney-client privilege, since he denied to take the stand and share his experiences on his own behalf."

One thing that gets me is that McMahon keeps saying that they respect the verdict, then argues that it's not true. You can't respect a verdict if you're saying it's utterly wrong. McMahon repeatedly dismissed the verdict as simply a "belief" that the jury had rather than as a finding of fact.

When Ms. Kelly gets on McMahon for explaining away Gosnell's clinic as "things went awry," he diverted blame to those who failed to inspect the place. He's tacitly admitting that Gosnell would not hold himself to any standards that he wasn't being forced to follow by an outside power. That makes the horrors that went on inside that building even a stronger defining factor of who Kermit Gosnell really is. He's the kind of man who, instead of striving to do better because he cares, slid into utter sloth and savagery once there was nobody holding a threatening stick over him.

Then when Ms. Kelly started laying into McMahon over the filthy conditions -- the fleas, the cat feces, the blood, the dirty instruments -- McMahon started insisting, "Not true. Not true." As Seth Williams famously (and incredulously) commented, "Was he even there at the trial?" The bloody equipment and furniture were right in the courtroom in front of him for weeks on end. 

Then McMahon talked about how many patients had, "and almost all of them were referrals or repeat business."

I can take the "repeat business" as perhaps evidence that the conditions were not as appalling as they were made out to be. Though I have read prochoice writings indicating that women tend to expect a bit of squalor at an abortion clinic. "He's not Marcus Welby, but at least he's a doctor." Women have also said that they feel so bad about themselves going in for an abortion in the first place that they don't think they deserve better.

The referrals? That's a reflection on the people and organizations that made the referrals, and not on Gosnell. 

Ms. Kelly then characterized Gosnell as running "a late term abortion clinic," which McMahon took umbrage at, insisting that "over 95% of them were first term abortions."

 According to the Grand Jury Report, "When Latosha Lewis began work at the clinic in 2000, the practice would perform approximately 20 first-trimester and 5 or 6 second-trimester abortions every procedure night. By 2009, however, the practice’s first-trimester abortions had dropped off significantly."

Let's say that it was five second trimester abortions to ever 20 first trimester abortions. That's still 20%, back in 2000 before the place started getting a bad reputation and referrals started falling off. Again, from the Grand Jury report:
Gosnell began to rely much more on referrals from other areas where abortions as late as 24 weeks are unavailable. More and more of his patients came from out of state and were late second-trimester patients. Many of them were well beyond 24 weeks. Gosnell was known as a doctor who would perform abortions at any stage, without regard for legal limits. His patients came from several states, including Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as from Pennsylvania cities outside the Philadelphia area, such as Allentown. He also had many late-term Philadelphia patients because most other local clinics would not perform procedures past 20 weeks.
Furthermore, during the raid:
The search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic – in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers. Some fetal remains were in a refrigerator, others were frozen. Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent of the fetuses were probably older than 24 weeks in gestation – even though Pennsylvania law prohibits abortions after 24 weeks.

It's hard to argue that 95% of the abortions were first trimester when at least 10%, possibly even 20%, were third trimester.

McMahon himself said that of the 47 fetuses sent to the Medical Examiner, all but two "were within the limit of 24 weeks." He did not say that 46 of them were in the first trimester, which would have to have been the case if those were a representative sample of aborted babies and only 5% of Gosnell's abortions were done past the first trimester.

McMahon then said that all the state's witnesses testified that the feet were kept for DNA analysis. No, they said that Gosnell told them that he was keeping the feet for DNA analysis. And the claim is nonsensical anyway, because a blood sample would be sufficient for DNA analysis; all the experts consulted said that there was no legitimate reason to keep severed feet. And as for his claim that the patients' families requested that he keep the babies' feet in jars, that reaches the point of absolute absurdity.  

McMahon also said that Gosnell did 16,000 abortions "and they only found two or three feet." How ghoulish is it that they found any feet? We've all seen the pictures of the jars with at least three feet. Ashley Baldwin testified to having seen 30 jars with severed feet. Kareema Cross showed investigators a photo of a cabinet full of jars of feet. 

It is nice to note in closing that as a result of dealing with the Gosnell case, McMahon decided that the legal cutoff for abortion needs to be more like 16 or 17 weeks so that there's no possibility at all of a live birth. It's also nice to note that Ms. Kelly stressed that high profile, respected prochoice groups oppose some of the commonsense things that McMahon came out in favor of after the trial.

McMahon should stick to defending his client as somebody with certain legal rights such as a jury trial. Where he makes his mistake, as I said before and as Megyn Kelly seemed to find so revolting, was in defending Gosnell as a human being.