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Oversight and Abortion: The skeleton in Feminism's closet

Pro abortion activists repeatedly claim that their advocacy is about keeping the procedure safe. However, as a group, particularly among those identifying as feminists, they respond to efforts at applying standard medical and legal oversight measures to the clinical practice of abortion as if proponents are suggesting an atrocity. For example, Rhode Island's chapter of the National Organization of Women protested proposed 2011 legislation (H5505) requiring that abortion clinics provide patients with information on the procedure's risks, on the risks of continuing the pregnancy, the probable gestational age (information relevant to the risk level,) and access to the name of the doctor performing the procedure. During a discussion on feminists and abortion, upon bringing this protest up, I was asked why the patient needed to be informed of risks, and why the patient should need to know the physician's name.

The answers to both are related. Abortion is a surgical procedure performed on a human body by an individual ruled by a human brain. It is as risky as any other surgical procedure of the same complication or simplicity. No matter which side of the fence you fall on, failing to acknowledge that fact is dishonest and unproductive. Opposing the requirement that the patient be given the chance to determine the level of risk she's willing to take completely undermines the argument that one supports legalized abortion "for the benefit of women." If you don't want women to know they're taking medical risks, so that they can be ready to seek treatment for any complication which might occur, or decide another option is a better choice for them, you're not really supporting the legal status of abortion because you're pro-woman. You're supporting it because you're pro-your-pet-political-party, which happens to have pro-abortion in its platform. If it upsets you to think that learning the risks of the procedure might cause women to choose not to avail themselves of it, then you are not just overly loyal to party politics, you're an ideologue.     
The second part requires a bit more attention in order to be understood. First, remember what I pointed out about the surgery - it is performed by an individual ruled by a human brain. The significance is that at the very least, this will sometimes lead to errors in performance. Because it's being performed on a human body, errors can be damaging, and egregious errors can be permanently damaging. It is possible for an injury to occur which would lead to temporary disability, or the need for surgical repair. While this is not an expected result of the surgery, if it occurs, the patient has the right to the same recourse as any other patient having any other procedure done. She has the right to sue for malpractice.

Again, if it upsets you to read that an abortion patient might sue her doctor for malpractice, should the doctor mistakenly injure her, your advocacy is not for women. It's for politics. If you're advocating for the rights of women, then you understand why these patients deserve as much right as any other patient to protection from unscrupulous or careless physicians.
Political proponents of abortion, from those simply defending its legality to those advocating government funding, have fought tooth and nail to prevent oversight of any kind from being legally mandated for providers. These groups argue as if everyone involved in the industry is there out of magnanimity, these angels of mercy whose only desire is to help poor, desperate women escape the burden of unwanted pregnancy, and therefore oversight is simply unneeded.

Occasionally, personal stories emerge which paint another picture. Abortion advocates are quick to claim that those are "pro-life" influenced, or to call them outright fabrications.

I wonder how they're going to rationalize this:

The Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Trial Will Sicken You  

Worse were the alleged practices of Gosnell and his staff: late-term abortions conducted with minimal anesthesia, high-school students working in the operating room. After his arrest, one former patient described her horrifying experience at the clinic:
Reid said she planned to tell Gosnell that she didn't want the abortion and was going to sneak out of the clinic.
"When I said no, the doctor got upset and he ended up taking my clothes off, hitting me, my legs were tied to the stirrups," Reid said.
Clicking on the link in the quote will take you to an ABC news page, where the story is paired with video from a broadcast report on the shooting of Dr. George Tiller, followed by a report on Roe vs Wade, despite the lack of relevance of either story to the events in the one being reported. The story on that page goes on to describe the assault in more detail, including the fact that Gosnell drugged Reid, and performed the abortion against her will.

Also From the abc link:

Alleged Victim Calls Philadelphia Abortion Doc Kermit Gosnell a 'Monster'
Nicole Gaither, 38, was five months pregnant when she said she visited Gosnell in 2001 . Her cousin and others that she knew had used the clinic.
Since it was Gaither's first and only abortion, she didn't know what to expect.
Following the abortion, Gaither said that she was in excruciating pain.

"When I finally went back to work I could barely sit down at the stool," Gaither said. "The pain started to get worse."

Gaither returned to Gosnell. He did an ultrasound and told her that he had left fetal remains in her, Gaither said.


"There were scores more. At least one other mother died following an abortion in which Gosnell punctured her uterus and then sent her home. He left an arm and a leg of a partially aborted fetus in the womb of another woman, and then told her he did not need to see her when she became sick days later, having developed a temperature of 106 degrees. He perforated bowels, cervixes, and uteruses. He left women sterile," Williams said in the grand jury report. 

Where is the magnanimity in this story? Where is the benevolent doctor, working tirelessly to provide a safe, clean environment for a procedure that has been touted as safe because it is legal? What really is the procedural difference between Dr. Gosnell's clinic and a back alley abortionist?

According to the stories of his patients victims, nothing of great significance.

Gosnell's defense against the murder charges he faces has been the claim that with the exception of the woman he drugged to death, the murder victims were "not viable," and that the prosecution is racist for pursuing the case.

His stated reasoning for the claim of racism is the location of his practice in a poor neighborhood, and its clientele, who were mostly minorities. According to prosecutors, Gosnell wasn't generously helping these women, but capitalizing on their desperation.

Gosnell catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women, and made millions of dollars over 30 years performing illegal and late-term abortions in squalid and barbaric conditions, prosecutors said.
It was reported in the Atlantic Wire story in the first link that $240,000 in cash was found in his home at the time of his arrest. 

More on Gosnell's clinic:

Worker Describes Gruesome Practices Inside West Phila. Abortion Clinic

Worker admits cutting 10 babies at abortion clinic

Grand Jury Faults State Agencies in Abortion Case

Grand Jury recommendations from the Investigation of Women's Medical Society

Probably the creepiest aspect of the story, even though it is by far not the worst accusation, is a bit of information mentioned in passing in several reports.

Gosnell kept severed little baby feet in jars of fluid in his office.

This is the hidden side of the abortion industry. This is what you're talking about when you protest the promotion of oversight in the name of "safe, legal abortion;" the ability of practitioners to spend years secretly using and abusing the desperate and the afraid, capitalizing on the culture of combined loyalty and shame which keeps women from coming forward to complain following the commission of such an atrocity.

And that is the nature of feminist advocacy; claiming human rights as a motive while concealing and fostering the perpetration of atrocious human rights violations. Feminist groups are much more concerned about furthering their political agenda than they are about advancing the protection of human rights.

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