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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at soss.submissions@gmail.com. Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

Could Future Gosnells be on the Horizon?

Maria V. Gallagher

Executive Director

Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation   |  19 May 2024

 

I had a nurse with decades of experience in the medical field come to me recently with a simple question: How did Gosnell happen?

           

Kermit Gosnell was the notorious Pennsylvania abortionist who ultimately was convicted of murdering three newborn babies and causing the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar. He is now serving three consecutive life sentences in prison for his outrageous crimes.

           

Gosnell’s melee did not occur overnight. His crime spree spanned years—years when the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office dictated that no inspections were to occur at abortion facilities. The reason? The administration of pro-abortion Governor Tom Ridge, a Republican, believed that inspecting abortion centers could curb access to abortion. As the grand jury in the Gosnell case eloquently stated, pro-abortion politics had overruled patient care and safety.

           

The nurse who visited me in my office noted that no mainstream health care facility in Pennsylvania could have gotten away with the deplorable conditions present in Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” in West Philadelphia. She’s right. For far too long, beginning in the Ridge Administration and continuing into Democrat Ed Rendell’s Administration, abortion centers got a pass.

           

Gosnell’s blood-soaked center operated for 17 years without inspection. Imagine that—nearly two decades. No one would frequent a restaurant that had not been inspected in 17 years. Moreover, as prosecutors noted, hair and nail salons received greater scrutiny in Pennsylvania than abortion facilities.

           

In the wake of the massive Gosnell tragedy, the state legislature was compelled to act. The PA General Assembly passed a common sense abortion facility regulation bill requiring abortion centers to meet basic health and safety standards. The measure also guaranteed regular inspections of these centers. A number of facilities closed their doors because they could not or would not meet these long-overdue standards.

           

But now, the threat of future Gosnells looms large in Pennsylvania. The current Governor, Josh Shapiro, is a defender of Big Abortion, posting on X regularly his allegiance to the pro-abortion cause. Pro-abortion lawmakers in the state legislature are pushing to rescind the abortion center regulation law, which would leave women vulnerable to further exploitation and abuse.

           

We cannot depend on abortion facilities to police themselves. That is apparent in the number of violations uncovered during the current inspection program. At one point, an abortion facility in Harrisburg known as Hillcrest had amassed 44 pages worth of health and safety violations. The facility ultimately gave up its license to practice abortion and has since shut down.

           

Recently, a Planned Parenthood in Warminster, PA announced it would be closing by the end of June. It, too, had committed its share of infractions under Pennsylvania law. Published reports indicate the facility performed more than 800 abortions a year.

           

Statewide in 2022, the latest year for which statistics are available, more than 34,000 abortions occurred in Pennsylvania—the equivalent of an entire town’s population. Long gone is the “pro-choice” mantra of “safe, legal, and rare.” Planned Parenthood has made no secret of its intention to expand abortion and to keep the abortion toll climbing.

           

What is the response of the pro-life movement in Pennsylvania to this state of affairs? We continue to work to hold the abortion industry accountable, especially in cases where there are demonstrated risks to women’s health and safety.

           

The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Keystone State affiliate of National Right to Life, has also launched a radio and digital ad campaign in connection with the Pro-Life Partners Foundation. The campaign consists of poignant videos and audio clips pointing out the underreported dangers of abortion. The effort is designed to change the conversation about abortion in Pennsylvania.

           

The first ad, called “Abortion Hurts,” can be found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/3LEAQwicw8I .

              

In addition, working with Marian Press, I published a book called Mercy’s Power: Inspiration to Serve the Gospel of Life. The book is a rich resource, both for veteran pro-life activists and those who are new to the pro-life cause. It includes an action plan for achieving lasting life-affirming results in your local community. Mercy’s Power can be found at the Shop Mercy website at https://shopmercy.org/mercy-39-s-power-inspiration-to-serve-the-gospel-of-life.html . It is also available on Amazon and from the EWTN Religious Catalogue.

           

The overturn of Roe v. Wade through the Dobbs decision has heralded a new era in pro-life advocacy. While we face a number of challenges in Pennsylvania, we realize we are in this campaign for the long haul. Grassroots activists are excited and motivated to utilize media and technology to renew a culture of life, which will save babies and spare mothers and fathers from the heartache of abortion.

           

If you’d like to learn more about the fantastic work of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, please visit our newly-designed website at www.paprolife.org . We look forward to partnering with you to achieve pro-life victories in the months and years ahead!   

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