Friday, April 03, 2020

Gosnell: The Untold Story - Background

Stuck at home during the ChiCom Virus quarantine, I started listening to the audiobook of Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, by Ann McElhinney and Philem McAleer. I was surprised by how little I remembered from having read the hard copy version. As I listened, I found myself wanting to comment again and again to McElhinney and McAleer. I've realized that over 30 years of studying abortion malpractice and malfeasance gives me a unique perspective. I want to share that with my readers -- and with the authors of this groundbreaking, must-read book. I am not going to give a blow-by-blow account of what the authors cover. My commentary will be limited to what I can add from what I've observed.

I began research into abortion in the fall of 1983, after becoming pregnant with my son in very difficult circumstances. I had been taught in college that poor women who can't feed the children they already have need abortions. It's the only way they can fulfil their responsibilities to their born children. There I was in that situation. My husband and I had pawned our wedding rings to buy food for our daughter. I was skipping meals myself. At four months into the pregnancy I was still able to fit into clothing from the girls' department, a miniskirt and top for a job running a golf swing analyzer at a mall kiosk. I wasn't even beginning to show.

I knew that the entity growing inside my body was a baby, as precious as my daughter. But I had only just graduated from college in June. During those four years I'd absorbed a lot of the Leftist culture of the university setting. The only way I could afford to feed my daughter was to starve myself, which was starving my unborn baby. My primary responsibility was to feed Lisa. It was clear that I had to bite the bullet, to go against my conscience, to bear the moral and emotional burden of aborting the growing child within me.

There was a Planned Parenthood within walking distance. All I had to do was pick up the phone and make the appointment.

But I couldn't do it.

If I'd had prochoice friends, I'm sure that the phone call would have been made. My friends would have reassured me that I was making the right choice, however difficult it was. I had to think of Lisa. I had to think of the damage I'd inflicted on my unborn child already by starving myself to feed her. I had to do it.

Fortunately, there was somebody different in my life. My husband's best friend, Eddie. Eddie was the prochoice movement's worst nightmare: a prolife Catholic man. But Eddie was able to see what my husband and I couldn't see: that the problem was our living situation. My husband was in the Army, stationed at Fort Ord. We only had one month of temporary housing provided so we'd had to find a place quickly. The apartment we'd found was in Salinas, over a half-hour drive from the Presidio of Monterey where my husband commuted daily to the Defense Language School. We were far from the commissary or even an ordinary grocery store. And our apartment hadn't come with a refrigerator. We'd only been able to afford a bar fridge. We didn't have enough room to store enough food for a week. I made trips to a local mini mart where food was astronomically expensive. The cost of gas for my husband's commute was draining what little money we had. Clearly, Eddie insisted, we needed to find a cheaper place closer to the Presidio.

My husband and I balked. We'd searched. The area around Fort Ord was notorious for expensive housing and enlisted personnel who couldn't afford to feed their families. A 13-year-old boy, Danny Holly, had hanged himself in the hopes that having "one less mouth to feed" would ease his family's desperate financial situation. What hope was there that we could find a better place to live? We were convinced that it was hopeless. Eddie persevered. He pestered and finally one Saturday morning he physically pushed us towards the door and said, "You're looking for an apartment. Now."

We found one that day. It was much nicer, much cheaper, across the street from a grocery store, and in a spot where my husband could carpool to work. Within a few months we were caught up on our debts and not only feeding ourselves but able to invite guests to dinner.

The experience left me with a profound distaste for the prochoice movement, whose rhetoric had very nearly led to the needless death of my unborn son. I quickly volunteered at the local Birthright, where part of my training was to read Bernard Nathanson's Aborting America, a memoir of his role in launching NARAL -- then the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now NARAL Pro-Choice America. I learned that deceit had been part and parcel of the prochoice movement from its inception. I have a low betrayal tolerance. I became determined to dig deeper.

I started doing research at the library, looking at News Bank. There I discovered the first two of the hundreds of abortion deaths I've since documented: Gloria Aponte and Ellen Williams. Both had died due to appalling malpractice. Gloria's abortionist, Hanan Rotem, had allowed his receptionist to administer general anesthesia. The clinic where Ellen had her abortion, Dadeland Family Planning, was a hell hole. Both deaths bear witness to the type of systematic slovenliness that would reach its full flower in Kermit Gosnell decades later. The response to the revelations about Dadeland -- a closing of ranks by the self-appointed protectors of women's rights -- sowed the seeds for that deplorable blossom. I only came to see this myself gradually.

During the 1980s, Operation Rescue began a program of blockading abortion facilities. News coverage of one of those blockades include a photo of a group of prolifers holding signs shaped like tombstones, each commemorating a woman who had died from a "safe and legal" abortion. Clearly Ellen and Gloria had not been flukes. I attended a prolife rally in DC. Somebody had left behind an "Abortion Death Log" that fell into my hands. I tracked down its author, Kevin Sherock. Sherlock was a dogged abortion death researcher who documented his work well. He went on to publish Victims of Choice based on that research. Sherlock's research uncovered scores of deaths, some with very few details available, some with an abundance. I'd encounter Kevin Sherlock again.

I went to work at Life Dynamics, a renegade prolife organization headquartered in Denton, Texas. We provided litigation support to plaintiff malpractice attorneys representing abortion-injured women and the families of those who died. What started out as a report to summarize what we had in our files turned into Lime 5, an expose of the scope of the malpractice problem and the combination of cover-up and emabling by the abortion lobby -- especially the National Abortion Federation -- and bureaucrats at the Centers for Disease Control.

While at Life Dynamics I experienced another eye-opener. We had obtained tapes of years and years of meetings and seminars held by the National Abortion Federation. If I had my wish, every recorded minute of every word spoken at those seminars and meetings would be readily available to the public. They include some of the most damning words ever uttered about what goes on behind the scenes in America's abortion clinics. The things David Daleiden recorded came as no surprise to me. They were totally in keeping with what I'd heard on those tapes from the late 1980s through mid 1990s. Nothing has really changed beyond technology making even more ghoulish endeavors possible.

When I left Life Dynamics, I took my files on a CD-ROM and eventually started first a web site, then a blog, then a wiki devoted to abortion deaths. I branched out to include deaths from the pre-legalization era as well because I don't believe that only one type of abortion death is tragic and unnecessary. The site that hosted my wiki closed down, but I was able to salvage most of the content, now at the Cemetery of Choice.

I have kept up-to-date on abortion deaths and malpractice and owe a massive debt of gratitude to Operation Rescue for how meticulously they document every cause of malpractice and death they encounter. They have prevented cover-ups with their perseverance and determination to dig until they get to the truth.

When the Gosnell story broke, I got a copy of the Grand Jury Report as quickly as I could and spent nearly a week of sleepless nights converting it into a searchable wiki plus commentary -- alas since relegated to the Internet Archive after my wiki host shut down. In all honesty, the only thing that really shocked me about the Gosnell story is that he was vigorously and successfully prosecuted. Yes, he was the worst I'd ever seen, but it was a mere matter of degree. Animals in clinics, filth, untrained staff, stockpiled fetal remains, bureaucratic indifference, and the abortion lobby getting away with their lame excuses because a complicit media spreads them unquestioningly are all par for the course in abortion practice. The aftermath -- that nothing has changed -- is also no surprise. Filthy clinics are uncovered, stockpiled fetuses are stumbled across, bureaucrats and officials turn a blind eye, babies are born alive and killed, women's lives are cut short by malpractice, and the media continue to uncritically defend the indefensible by covering it up.

I had long hoped that if given enough information about how appalling abortion practice really is, prochoice citizens would rise up and demand that the "safe" part of "safe and legal" be taken seriously. After thirty years, I'm ready to abandon that dream. Once you start to really care about how the women are treated, becoming a prolifer is inevitable. Once you become a prolifer, you are dismissed out of hand. Of course you say bad things about abortion -- you're one of Them. The fact that we are Them because the bad things are true can't penetrate the wall of fog the abortion lobby and its media lapdogs create. Denial: It's Not Just a River in Egypt.

I have no idea how long it will take to reach the tipping point, where the entire house of lies collapses under its own weight. I have come to doubt that it will come in my lifetime. Still, if I can even poke at that foundation of lie, maybe I can do my part to undermine it. Maybe, for my granddaughters, the days of Safe and Legal Abortion will be universally seen as shameful as the days of The Peculiar Institution of slavery.

In the mean time, I will do everything I can to get the truth out. One piece of that will be sharing and adding to the work of McElhinney and McAleer. Hats off to you, Ann and Philem. Would that all journalists were as honest and courageous as you.

No comments: