Monday, May 13, 2013

Blumenthal’s Blind Spot

Partial birth abortion, a medical procedure in which a doctor partially withdraws a late term fetus from a woman and kills it, is the left’s AK15, a semi-automatic rifle banned in Connecticut following a murderous assault on a school in Sandy Hook Connecticut . U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have taken a leading role in an attempt to push through a reluctant Senate a bill that would require background checks for weapons purchases.

A Grand Jury that returned an indictment against late term abortion provider Kermit Gosnell also issued in January 2011 a report on Mr. Gosnell’s abortion clinic that begins, “the medical practice by which [Kermit Gosnell] carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels and, on at least two occasions, caused their death.”

Other news reports indicate that Mr. Gosnell was not a lone wolf. No fewer than 15 states have moved against clinics and providers for having offered substandard care to women seeking abortion. In the past three years alone, eight states have enacted new comprehensive regulations for abortion clinics, adjusting and improving existing regulations.

In the post Roe v. Wade era, long after abortion rights have been secured, there is no reason why abortion clinics should not meet the same safety and health standards as other facilities that perform outpatient surgeries.

Mr. Gosnell’s clinic may justly be described as a back-alley, late term abortion racket brought indoors. He was not subject to background checks – or indeed any checks – by Pennsylvania Department of Health authorities for 10 years after it had first issued its approval to Mr. Gosnell to open his late term abortion clinic. The Grand Jury reported that the “…real business of the ‘Women’s Medical Society’ was not health; it was profit. There were two primary parts to the operation. By day it was a prescription mill; by night an abortion mill.”

Inspections of Mr. Gosnell’s abortion mill were cursory and citations were never followed up, the Grand Jury reported: “But at least the department had been doing something up to that point, however ineffectual. After 1993, even that pro forma effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions.”

The Grand Jury noted in vivid detail the failings of both the Health Department and the Department of State to monitor through its Board of Medicine such health clinics and recommended “that the Pennsylvania Department of Health plug the hole it has created for abortion clinics. They should be explicitly regulated as ambulatory surgical facilities, so that they are inspected annually and held to the same standards as all other outpatient procedure centers. Inspectors should review patient files, including ultrasound images, on site. Equipment, and employees’ licenses, should be scrutinized. Second trimester abortions should be performed or supervised by physicians board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology.” 

Only a congressman or congresswoman without ears to hear and eyes to see would ignore the dangers presented to women by facilities of this kind. At the very least, abortion facilities should be licensed by state health departments, have on the premises operable emergency equipment, maintain safe and sanitary facilities and be regularly inspected. Mr. Gosnell’s inside back alley abortion snip-shop had escaped regular inspection until inspectors were alerted to his drug operations.

Given the circumstances, U.S. Senator Mike Lee thought it might be advisable to give his fellow senators the opportunity to vote on a non-binding resolution calling for a review of abortion policies to prevent future Gosnells from slaughtering born infants and killing some women in the process.

Enter the Senator from Planned Parenthood, Dick Blumenthal, who deep sixed the measure. Now then, it is very important for non-legislators to understand that a “non-binding resolution” is not a bill; it is not even a BINDING resolution. It is measure intended to express the sense of the Senate on a matter of public import. But Blumenthal, the senator from Planned Parenthood whose chief of staff Laurie Rubiner was once the organization’s vice president for public policy, quashed the non-binding resolution by introducing an alternative measure that made Mr. Gosnell and his house of horrors disappear in a puff of sulphurous smoke.

The Lee resolution, Mr. Blumenthal said, was too narrowly focused on illegal abortion facilities; his own amorphous resolution condemned in general terms all instances in which a patient’s safety may be compromised and did not mention abortion facilities -- this from a former Attorney General of Connecticut whose prosecutions of tea vendors, and hundreds of other narrowly focused targets caused innumerable people to suffer under his lash for more than 20 years.

Mr. Lee’s non-binding resolution might have allowed courageous senators to condemn practices winked at in many more states than Pennsylvania. But why focus on criminal acts involving abortion when it is more politically expedient to purr under the strokes of Planned Parenthood, an organization that should join other men and women of conscience in declaring with a voice of thunder – NO MORE GOSNELLS.
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