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GOP, Dems on Same Page in Response to Abortion Clinic Scandal

By Whitney Roper, Contributing Writer

For the first time in history, Republicans and Democrats alike seem to agree on one of the most heated topics in American policy: abortion.

Pennsylvania Republicans and Democrats are both taking action to address the West Philadelphia abortion clinic scandal.

This January, the Philadelphia investigative grand jury released their report on the West Philadelphia abortion clinic, the Women’s Medical Society. Kermit B. Gosnell, the clinic’s operating physician was arrested and indicted for numerous crimes which include murder and violations of the Abortion Control Act.

The report cites numerous examples in which Gosnell conducted illegal practices including employing a staff of untrained, uncertified employees and “physicians,” conducting illegal and unsafe abortions, infanticide, and illegal distribution of prescription drugs as well as a slew of related medical injuries to the pregnant mothers, some which resulted in death.

Although the subject of abortion usually calls for a whirlwind of debate, pitting pro-lifers and pro-choice advocates on opposite sides of the ring, most say that’s not what this is about. The Grand Jury reports: “The case is not about the [abortion] controversy; it is about disregard of the law and disdain for the lives and health of mothers and infants.”

Republican Pennsylvania State Rep. Matthew Baker told reporters that the issue isn’t over the ‘traditional abortion debate’ but rather it is a matter of public health safety for anyone going to these kinds of clinics.

The Women’s Medical Society first received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to practice abortions in 1979 and since that time, only three inspections were conducted: one in 1989, 1992, and 1993. During each inspection, violations were noted but no action was ever taken by Gosnell to mend the problems nor did the Department of Health take any actions against the clinic.

Then after 1993, policy had changed and inspections of abortion clinics in Pennsylvania were stopped completely. Numerous complaints were taken to the department by attorneys that had represented women injured by Gosnell, a doctor, and the medical examiner in Delaware County; but it wasn’t until the clinic was raided for illegal distribution of prescription drugs that the press got wind of Gosnell’s operation and the department shut it down shortly after.

In response to the abortion clinic scandal, many government officials are calling for serious legislation to mend the gaps in current law that allowed the Women’s Medical Society to conduct its illegal practice for as long as it did.

State Senator Vincent J. Hughes, Democrat whose district is West Philadelphia, proposed a package of legislation that would increase the statute of limitations for infanticide and illegal abortions; require investigations and inspections of medical facilities in which abortions are performed annually as well as whenever there is a “serious event”; make it easier to file a complaint against such facilities; and increase penalties for malpractice.

Hughes said that he hopes to “strengthen the law… without restricting access to quality, reproductive health services for women.”

Government officials from both political parties are proposing similar legislature.

Republican Senator Jake Corman plans on introducing legislature that will require medical facilities that provide abortion services to be licensed and undergo annual inspections, two things current Pennsylvania law does not require.

Republican Senator Pat Vance, who chairs the Public Health and Welfare Committee responded by saying that she was equally appalled with the clinic as well as the complaints brought to the PA Health Department that went unanswered. Vance also has plans to draft a new bill that would call for immediate responses to complaints and ‘timely inspections’ of abortion clinics.

Baker supports Vance and also plans to draft separate bills of his own.

After reviewing the Grand Jury Report, Governor Tom Corbett ordered his State and Health secretaries, Eli Avila and Carol Aichele, to conduct an investigation of their departments after they neglected to act upon the numerous complaints brought against Gosnell. Corbett also asked Avila and Aichele to develop a plan to help prevent this from ever happening again. Corbett plans on waiting to hear back from his secretaries before he commits to any specific bills.

2 Responses

  1. How about Governor Corbett actually FIRING the state officials who failed to carry out timely inspections of this house of horrors and/or those who failed to follow through on complaints re this clinic and Kermit Gosnell?
    Also, maybe Senator Hughes should support restricting women’s access to ‘reproductive health services’ like the infanticides this clinic performed. It might just save some lives.

  2. Were you horrified by the testimony stating how the abortionists first played with these born-alive, well-developed babies and then murderously stuck sharp scissors into the back of their neck and snipped their vertebrae and spinal cord, causing their painful death?! That is the face of abortion.

    They do the same to these babies during abortion. The only difference is that the abortion occurs inside the womb. This is the reality of abortion.

    The embryo/fetus/baby is an individual life – separate from the mother’s life, just dependent on her for nourishment and protection. The baby cannot live without this nourishment and protection, whether it is inside the womb or just born, or 1 year old. What gives another person the right to take that new life away?! It is infanticide in both cases (inside & outside the womb) and all abortions are murder. The heart starts to beat 3 weeks after conception.

    Abortion is so wrong and something has to change. If a pregnancy is caused by rape, then we should be chasing and punishing the rapist, not the innocent baby. And, there is plenty of birth control, these days.

    The family and the fiber of our society is broken down. Men are no longer men and women are not ladies. People choose not to marry and stay together and the family (especially the children) suffers. The family is the cornerstone of a civilized society. Our society is no longer civilized. Our young people have no respect for themselves or each other. No one respects life anymore, whether it is babies, or the elderly or law enforcement. We are reduced to animal behavior and we are no longer human.

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