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Kermit Gosnell, Philadelphia abortion doctor, facing eight counts of murder

The details are very gruesome. This man sounds like he's another Dr. Tiller the Baby Killer. And he's not the only person facing charges. So are is wife and eight other people:
Eyewitness News has learned that a West Philadelphia doctor, his wife and eight other suspects are now under arrest following a grand jury Investigation. 

Sources say Dr. Kermit Gosnell faces eight counts of murder in the death of a woman following a botched abortion at his office at 38th and Lancaster Avenues, along with the deaths of seven other babies who, prosecutors allege, were born alive following illegal late-term abortions and then were killed with scissors. 

Four of the suspects, some improperly licensed, also face multiple counts of murder for allegedly killing the newborns. 

All of the suspects are now behind bars after warrants were served overnight.  

Dr. Gosnell, who has practiced in the West Philadelphia neighborhood for decades, is also the target of a federal grand jury investigation into illegally prescribing prescription drugs.

Investigators say during a search of his home, they found $240,000 in cash.

The doctor, in past interviews with CBS 3, has proclaimed his innocence, predicting if charged, he will be acquitted.

It probably won't surprise any of you that that is not the first time Gosnell has been investigated. In February of last year his license was suspended after a federal raid, in which his office was found to be in "deplorable and unsanitary conditions":

Federal agents have twice raided an abortion clinic in Philadelphia, prompting state authorities to close the facility and suspend the license of the doctor in charge over health and safety risks.

The Pennsylvania Department of State's Board of Medicine said Tuesday that a search of Dr. Kermit Gosnell's abortion and pain management clinic found "deplorable and unsanitary" conditions, blood on the floor, and parts of aborted fetuses in jars.

The temporary suspension of Gosnell's license follows at least two raids at his Family Medical Society by agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI.

If these people are found guilty, I hope they are put behind bars for a very long time. It will have been a long time in coming, too. 

However, I suspect abortion rights activists will come to Gosnell's defense for fear that prosecutions of any abortion doctors, even those who viciously murder babies who are born alive after late term abortions, will lead to additional limitations on abortions. 

Update: Ace links to a report that said state regulators ignored complaints lodged against Gosnell since 1993. The state of Pennsylvania allowed this man to maim and kill women and babies freely for almost 20 years even though they received complaints about him and his office? The folks who allowed that to happen should be facing charges, too. I'd say that according to the Pennsylvania criminal code involuntary manslaughter sounds about right. 

Update II: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air read some of the Grand Jury report and tells us that it provides the specific and gruesome details of Gosnell's killing of babies and butchering of women during these so called abortions. Of course, after the good doctor injured women so badly that some were unconscious and on the verge of dying, he denied them the medical care they needed so as to prevent his illegal activities from being discovered. Then again, they would have been discovered and he would have been shut down a long time ago if the people at the state regulatory agency charged with keeping an eye on him actually did their jobs. 

Which brings me back to the question of why the state regulators allowed Gosnell to get away with, literally, murder. The Grand Jury report provides the answer (emphasis original): 

We discovered that Pennsylvania's Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.

The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.

Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health's neglect of abortion patients' safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design. ...

State health officials knew that Gosnell and his clinic were offering unacceptable medical care to women and girls, yet DOH failed to take any action to stop the atrocities documented by this Grand Jury. These officials were far more protective of themselves when they testified before the Grand Jury. Even DOH lawyers, including the chief counsel, brought private attorneys with them - presumably at government expense.

Update III: Ace quoted a portion of the Grand Jury report that revealed Gosnell's abortion mill allowed to run free from any and all state regulatory oversight beginning in 1993, under Governors Bob Casey, Sr. and Tom  Ridge (if he has entertained any thoughts of running for president recently, he can drop them right now), for fear that any regulatory oversight would create a barrier to women's access to abortion. Seriously. 

Even worse, the Grand Jury notes that time and time again when medical officials and personnel from neighboring hospitals and clinics came into contact with or treated Gosnell's injured patients they did not follow through on their legal obligations to report those women's abortion-related injuries to the state. Why? You can read the quoted text below the jump.

Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did, not even after Karnamaya Mongar's death. In the end, Gosnell was only caught by accident, when police raided his offices to seize evidence of his illegal prescription selling. Once law enforcement agents went in, they couldn't help noticing the disgusting conditions, the dazed patients, the discarded fetuses. That is why the complete regulatory collapse that occurred here is so inexcusable. It should have taken only one look.

The first line of defense was the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The department's job is to audit hospitals and outpatient medical facilities, like Gosnell's, to make sure that they follow the rules and provide safe care. The department had contact with the Women's Medical Society dating back to 1979, when it first issued approval to open an abortion clinic. It did not conduct another site review until 1989, ten years later.

Numerous violations were already apparent, but Gosnell got a pass when he promised to fix them. Site reviews in 1992 and 1993 also noted various violations, but again failed to ensure they were corrected.

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. Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.

The only exception to this live-and-let-die policy was supposed to be for complaints dumped directly on the department's doorstep. Those, at least, could be investigated. Except that there were complaints about Gosnell, repeatedly. Several different attorneys, representing women injured by Gosnell, contacted the department. A doctor from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia hand-delivered a complaint, advising the department that numerous patients he had referred for abortions came back from Gosnell with the same venereal disease. The medical examiner of Delaware County informed the department that Gosnell had performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year-old girl carrying a 30-week-old baby. And the department received official notice that a woman named Karnamaya Mongar had died at Gosnell's hands.

Yet not one of these alarm bells - not even Mrs. Mongar's death - prompted the department to look at Gosnell or the Women's Medical Society. Only after the raid occurred, and the story hit the press, did the department choose to act. Suddenly there were no administrative, legal, or policy barriers; within weeks an order was issued to close the clinic. And as this grand jury investigation widened, department officials "lawyered up," hiring a high-priced law firm to represent them at taxpayer expense. Had they spent as much effort on inspection as they did on attorneys, none of this would have happened to begin with.

But even this total abdication by the Department of Health might not have been
fatal. Another agency with authority in the health field, the Pennsylvania Department of State, could have stopped Gosnell single-handedly. While the Department of Health regulates facilities, the Department of State, through its Board of Medicine, licenses and oversees individual physicians. Like their colleagues at Health, however, Department of State officials were repeatedly confronted with evidence about Gosnell, and repeatedly chose to do nothing.

Indeed, in many ways State had more damning information than anyone else.
Almost a decade ago, a former employee of Gosnell presented the Board of Medicine with a complaint that laid out the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedation; the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street. The department assigned an investigator, whose investigation consisted primarily of an offsite interview with Gosnell. The investigator never inspected the facility, questioned other employees, or reviewed any records. Department attorneys chose to accept this incomplete investigation, and dismissed the complaint as unconfirmed.

Shortly thereafter the department received an even more disturbing report - about a woman, years before Karnamaya Mongar, who died of sepsis after Gosnell perforated her uterus. The woman was 22 years old. A civil suit against Gosnell was settled for almost a million dollars, and the insurance company forwarded the information to the department. That report should have been all the confirmation needed for the complaint from the former employee that was already in the department's possession. Instead, the department attorneys dismissed this complaint too. They concluded that death was just an "inherent" risk, not something that should jeopardize a doctor's medical license.

The same thing happened at least twice more: the department received complaints about lawsuits against Gosnell, but dismissed them as meaningless. A department attorney said there was no "pattern of conduct." He never bothered to check a national litigation database, which would have shown that Gosnell had paid out damages to at least five different women whose internal organs he had punctured during abortions.

Apparently, the missing piece in the "pattern" was press coverage. Once that began, after the raid, the department attorney quickly managed to secure a license suspension against Gosnell. Similar inaction occurred at the municipal level. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health does not regulate doctors or medical facilities; but it is supposed to protect the public's health. Philadelphia health department employees regularly visited the Women's Medical Society to retrieve blood samples for testing purposes, but never noticed, or more likely never bothered to report, that anything was amiss. Another employee inspected the clinic in response to a complaint that dead fetuses were being stored in paper bags in the employees' lunch refrigerator. The inspection confirmed numerous violations of protocols for storage and disposal of infectious waste. But no follow-up was ever done, and the violations continued to the end.

A health department representative also came to the clinic as part of a citywide
vaccination program. She promptly discovered that Gosnell was scamming the program; more importantly, she was the only employee, city or state, who actually tried to do something about the appalling things she saw there. By asking questions and poking around, she was able to file detailed reports identifying many of the most egregious elements of Gosnell's practice. It should have been enough to stop him.But instead her reports went into a black hole, weeks before Karnamaya Mongar walked into the Woman's Medical Society.

Ironically, the doctor at CHOP who personally complained to the Pennsylvania Department of Health about the spread of venereal disease from Gosnell's clinic, the doctor who used to refer teenage girls to Gosnell for abortions, became the head of the city's health department two years ago. But nothing changed in the time leading up to Mrs. Mongar's death. And it wasn't just government agencies that did nothing. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and its subsidiary, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, are in the same neighborhood as Gosnell's office. State law requires hospitals to report complications from abortions. A decade ago, a Gosnell patient died at HUP after a botched abortion, and the hospital apparently filed the necessary report. But the victims kept coming in. At least three other Gosnell patients were brought to Penn facilities for emergency surgery; emergency room personnel said they have treated many others as well. And at least one additional woman was hospitalized there after Gosnell had begun a flagrantly illegal abortion of a 29-week-old fetus. Yet, other than the one initial report, Penn could find not a single case in which it complied with its legal duty to alert authorities to the danger. Not even when a second woman turned up virtually dead.

So too with the National Abortion Federation. NAF is an association of abortion providers that upholds the strictest health and legal standards for its members. Gosnell, bizarrely, applied for admission shortly after Karnamaya Mongar's death. Despite his various efforts to fool her, the evaluator from NAF readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused. It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected. Of course, she rejected Gosnell's application. She just never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.

Bureaucratic inertia is not exactly news. We understand that. But we think this was something more. We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.


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Comments (73)

These murdering Nazi swine ... (Below threshold)

These murdering Nazi swine will rot in Hell for their pathetic deeds.

I thought abortion was verb... (Below threshold)

I thought abortion was verboten in the 3rd trimester? Why aren't the mothers also being tried for murder?

Why isn't this all over the... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

Why isn't this all over the media? Oh, yeah. Never mind.

At least Barry showed some ... (Below threshold)

At least Barry showed some compassion. If the child was born alive - just put them in a broom closet for a couple of days. Problem solved.

Re: Regulators being charge... (Below threshold)

Re: Regulators being charged. In your dreams.

"...his office was found to... (Below threshold)

"...his office was found to be in "deplorable and unsanitary conditions":"

Shocking news about a man who kills unborn humans in the womb.

I predict he wont spend a d... (Below threshold)
retired military:

I predict he wont spend a day in jail.

I'm surprised the Justice B... (Below threshold)

I'm surprised the Justice Bruthas, Sharpton & Jackson are not involved in this.

What are the chances some of those murdered babies were black?

Where's Sheila Jackson Lee? Maxine Waters?

/sound of crickets

Abortion is such a horrible... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Abortion is such a horrible way to make a living.

I spent my lunch hour looki... (Below threshold)

I spent my lunch hour looking around the other side of the blogosphere for people defending this person and found no such examples.

To paraphrase Hillary Clinton, abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. This “doctor” seems to be of a different opinion. His clinic was littered with pickled baby parts, kept for no discernible medical reason. Sounds like the set of a Rob Zombie film.

He has about as much in common with the reproductive rights movement as the Westboro Baptist Church does with mainstream Christianity. He'll die in prison.

HyperNot complaini... (Below threshold)
retired military:


Not complaining but what happened to you. If I recall correctly you used to be a staunch abortion supporter no matter what.

If abortion is 'safe' and '... (Below threshold)

If abortion is 'safe' and 'legal', then why would it be 'rare'? Seems to me the existence of the first two conditions has eliminated the third.

No doubt the NOW will make ... (Below threshold)

No doubt the NOW will make a STRONG statement decrying this guys practice. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Because it’s often/usually ... (Below threshold)

Because it’s often/usually traumatic for the person who gets the procedure. It ought to be a decision not taken lightly. It’s not like treating an ear infection with antibiotics.

RM, I don’t think people should be able to tell others what to do with their bodies, including using them as life support systems for other humans. This “doctor”, though, did not perform abortions: he murdered babies, rather than terminating pregnancies. And, judging by the condition of his clinic, he did not give a whit for the women who came to him for help. His grisly collection of cadavers would suggest that he was less interested in helping people, than he was in sating some perverse desire to inflict harm on viable children. You won’t find a single pro-choice activist defending this “person”.

I find it very strange that he and his wife were able to recruit so many staff who were all willing to work in those conditions. A clinic decorated with pickled baby parts? Who takes a job there?

So if you kill the baby bef... (Below threshold)

So if you kill the baby before "extracting" it its not murder, but if you do the same thing once its out, it is. Thanks for the clarification, hyper.

You’re awfully obtuse for a... (Below threshold)

You’re awfully obtuse for a doctor.

There is a difference between 1) something existing by virtue of being physiologically dependent on another person—which is an infringement on the autonomy of that other person if the person does not wish to (or cannot) keep that dependent person alive—and 2) something being viable in its own right, without overriding the autonomy of a rational agent.

This fellow's office is jus... (Below threshold)

This fellow's office is just about next to Presby (Presbytarian Medical Center) and just North of the U of P. Yes, its in West Philly, but not in deepest, darkest West Philly. I suspect his clientele came in all shapes and colors.

Hyper, preterm infants can ... (Below threshold)

Hyper, preterm infants can survive outside their Mom with a little medical support, and you are saying killing them in utero is OK and extra-utero is not. I am not obtuse, and you are not cute.

Aw, there go my Valentine’s... (Below threshold)

Aw, there go my Valentine’s Day hopes and dreams…

It’s not a physiological distinction. It’s a philosophical and legal one. The notion of viability doesn’t apply if something is only viable by virtue of the fact that another person’s body is keeping it alive. You can’t force me to give you a kidney; you can’t force anyone to donate bone marrow; you can’t (up until the latest stage of the pregnancy) tell someone what they must and must not do with their umbilical cord.

If it bothers you so much you could move to Ireland. Houses are pretty cheap there these days and nobody is having (legal) abortions.

Ah HA! But you CAN force t... (Below threshold)

Ah HA! But you CAN force the unborn to give up their life sustaining connection WITHOUT a replacement and without their consent! You can use philosophy and laws to legitimize mass murder - many a fanatic has done this in the history of mankind, and many continue to do so.

They aren’t rational agents... (Below threshold)

They aren’t rational agents. You don't need a mosquito's consent to kill it. It's much fuzzier when it comes to dolphins and monkeys. (I oppose testing on monkeys and killing dolphins for the sake of harvesting tuna.)

Fetuses probably will develop into rational agents, but they aren't autonomous so long as they are connected to someone who owns their own umbilical cord. Are you prepared to argue that umbilical cords are state property? Or that individuals without the capacity for language are somehow capable of consenting/not consenting?

#21Quite obvuiousl... (Below threshold)
Ellie Light:


Quite obvuiously you are still connected to your mommy's womb. It must really be a bother tio chew through your restraints in the morning. Its educational to see how low some people can sink.

"you can’t (up until the l... (Below threshold)

"you can’t (up until the latest stage of the pregnancy) tell someone what they must and must not do with their umbilical cord."

Yet, it can be "legislated" that You must wear a seatbelt in a car/truck or pay a fine? It's Your body. Right? We are somewhat more willing of free choice then a lifeline to our Mother's is.

914, not wearing a seatbelt... (Below threshold)

914, not wearing a seatbelt makes you more dangerous to OTHER people. If someone insists on not wearing their seatbelt, they are infinitely more likely to launch themselves through their windshield. And don't forget how much influence insurance companies have over the legal system.

Ellie, can you conjugate verbs into the past tense? Try to remember to do that whenever appropriate, it would add a helpful degree of coherence to your comments.

..."which is an infringemen... (Below threshold)

..."which is an infringement on the autonomy of that other person..."

What a bunch of nonsense. Pregnancy is the direct and natural result of sexual intercourse. Pregnancy cannot be "an infringement on the autonomy of that other person" when "that other person" engaged in said sexual intercourse willingly and with the advance knowledge that said sexual intercourse could lead to pregnancy even when "that other person" employed the most effective form of pre-pregnancy contraception that currently exists on the market.

Haha--"Nonsense". Nice choi... (Below threshold)

Haha--"Nonsense". Nice choice of words, Ashley Todd.

People can change their minds. Me saying that I will do X tomorrow, does not bind me to do X tomorrow--a pregnancy is not a legal contract. Similarly, there are certain things that people cannot bind themselves to do: we cannot sell ourselves into slavery, for instance, or consent to be murdered. On the same note, one cannot give up the right to inviolability of their own personhood, and thus one cannot give up one's own right to choose to have a legal abortion if one decides that that is what is best for them.

This one fucked-up abattoir of a clinic is as much an indictment of the pro-choice position, as the Westboro Baptist Church protesting soldiers' funerals is an indictment of Christianity. Trying to smear honest medical practitioners who perform legal abortions in sanitary conditions with what this person has done is slimy, intellectually lazy, and generally a shitty thing to do.

"They aren’t rational agent... (Below threshold)

"They aren’t rational agents. You don't need a mosquito's consent to kill it."

So unborn babies have as many rights as mosquitoes, which is none. Yet, you allow for a little wiggle room with dolphins, primates, etc.

If rationality - the ability to reason or understand - is your litmus test for whether something or someone can be killed without its consent, that gives abortion doctors lots and lots of wiggle room. Based upon your standards, the baby could be well over one year old and still be aborted without a problem.

"Fetuses probably will develop into rational agents..."

Probably? What else could they to develop into?

"...but they aren't autonomous so long as they are connected to someone who owns their own umbilical cord."

See my previous comment.

Your argument has so many fatal flaws that even some adults with serious mental and neurological disabilities wouldn't survive your litmus test.

"Nice choice of words, Ashl... (Below threshold)

"Nice choice of words, Ashley Todd."

You lose.

"...but they aren't autonom... (Below threshold)

"...but they aren't autonomous so long as they are connected to someone who owns their own umbilical cord."

Are they autonomous being's if they are still attached by purse strings? How about DNA string's? Or do You draw an imaginary line at bodily tissue? But only if this tissue is separated and lose's any chance at life at precisely the right moment? When You decide? Are You then....God?

Maybe hyper is more comfort... (Below threshold)

Maybe hyper is more comfortable with Sweeney Todd?

By probably, I meant... (Below threshold)

By probably, I meant they might die, or be born with severe cognitive deficiencies.

I'm fine with saying that dolphins and monkeys have more rights than the unborn. Do you know why? Because they have more legal rights than the unborn. You can't kill monkeys in the United States, can you? The reason why people are charged with two counts of murder for killing a pregnant woman is because the woman was presumably carrying the child to term; however, it's her call--not a wanton gunman's, nor a social conservative's perched atop his or her moral high-horse.

As for whether or not disabled adults have the same rights, well, those with no capacity for thought have none (but their families have lots); and those who are severely impaired--handicapped--have lots. An adult with trisomy-21 is not the same as a vegetative adult.

And no, the Ashley Todd comment was fair. For as long as you blog under this name, and as long as anyone remembers, you will have to be very careful using words like "Nonsense".

914, purse strings aren't part of a woman's body. You would have a problem with government regulating hairstyles, right? Well, women are free to do with their umbilical cords as they wish. They're theirs. It doesn't make them *God*--it makes them a *woman* in a civilized society.

Kim is right. If the notio... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Kim is right. If the notion of being a rational agent is what gives someone rights as a human being then we are quite justified in infanticide as well as the murder of the severely retarded, the mentally ill and the elderly.

My guess is that hyperbolist hasn't taken the time to consider the logical extension of his arguement.

As for this individual being outside the norm of the reproductive rights movement I am not so sure. Would you consider obama to be outside that norm? He vigorously opposed laws in Illinois making what this doctor did illegal. Only after his departure for the US Senate did a dem dominated legislature and a dem governor sign the bill preventing these kinds of atrocities.

This doctor is not outside the norm, he is merely the logical conclusion of their philosophy.

We do kill the sever... (Below threshold)

We do kill the severely mentally deficient if their families are fine with it. As for the elderly, some countries allow them the dignified exit of euthanasia rather than watching them slip into severe dementia. That's another can of worms but it's not like the notion of ending people's lives for reasons having nothing to do with malice or retribution has never entered the public consciousness.

jim m, please find for me a citation that even suggests Obama is or ever has been fine with doctors running unsanitary clinics filled with jars of pickled baby parts.

Respecting the reproductive choices of women--or parents of severely cognitively deficient children--is not a slippery slope to defending physicians like this.

Hyperbolist-The um... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate:


The umbilical cord and the placenta belong to the baby not the mother as both develop from the fertilized egg and are genetically identical only to the baby.

Pedantic point aside from where comes your assurance that the unborn baby is not a rational being while a primate or a dolphin may be? My oldest daughter was born premature on the edge of viability. She is most certainly a rational being currently in high school. How are you so certain that a scant two weeks earlier, she should not have been considered rational when at the time of her birth she certainly was?

If there is a chance that the object in question is not an object but a person, is it not our duty to ere on the side of caution?

Hyper, when one is reduced ... (Below threshold)

Hyper, when one is reduced to ad hominem attacks in an effort to discredit a person's credibility instead of addressing the argument at hand, one loses the debate. You lost the debate.

"Trying to smear honest med... (Below threshold)
Bill Johnson:

"Trying to smear honest medical practitioners who perform legal abortions in sanitary conditions with what this person has done is slimy, intellectually lazy, and generally a shitty thing to do."

Would it be OK to smear the regulators who actively ignored this charnel house for 20 years?

Or shall we all just avert our eyes, so as to not offend YOU?

Fine. The *uterus*, then. I... (Below threshold)

Fine. The *uterus*, then. It's not the baby's property, it's inside the woman, and we can do whatever we want with the insides of our bodies. Fat people can buy Cheetos, lung cancer victims can buy cigarettes, and women--whether careful and monogamous or recklessly promiscuous--get to do as they see fit with their uteruses.

If you really don't like it then there are countries with laws that better reflect your views.

Brian, glad you decided to keep your daughter. That worked out very well for you, and in hindsight, you certainly made the right choice for you, your daughter, and the rest of your family. However, sometimes it works out poorly, and so parents are able to decide for themselves whether or not to keep a child. My friend is a genetic counselor and 90% of his clients are Orthodox Jews. Because of the small genetic pool in that community, they practice selective birth control, or "eugenics" as we might otherwise refer to it. They would rather not have children with trisomy-21 and so they choose not to. My friend can tell very early in the pregnancy if there will be defects and so it's not a third-term decision. Many people happily raise children with disabilities, and good for them! But some people aren't cut out for it.

Kim, actually, if one predicates their entire argument on ad hominem attacks, then yes, they would have lost the debate; but if ad hominem attacks are sprinkled in with other valid points, then the argument is not thereby weakened. Often arguments are made a lot funnier that way, and I think it's really funny to remind everyone that you believed a pair of burly black guys carved Obama's initials into a stupid person's face for basically no reason. So no, I didn't lose the debate, but you did just fail a first year critical thinking quiz that I might have administered as a 23 year old graduate student to a room full of 18 year olds.

And by the way, it's not an 'ad hominem' to remind people what sort of bullshit you have peddled in the past.

Bill Johnson: anyone who gave them a free pass should be tried for whatever crimes they have committed. Anyone and everyone who is in the least bit complicit for this staying open as long as it did belongs in jail for a long time, and nothing I have said in this thread, nor anywhere else, would suggest anything to the contrary.

Here's where this story starts and ends: a bunch of fucked-up people ran a fucked-up abortion clinic on the basis of practicing legitimate--and perfectly legal--medical procedures, but turns out that was not the case. Trying to extrapolate any broader point about the practice of abortion in your country is like some 17-year-old who just read "God Is Not Great" tarring and feathering you for the sins of the Westboro Baptist Church--in other words, it's lazy and stupid.

Because it’s often... (Below threshold)
Because it’s often/usually traumatic for the person who gets the procedure. It ought to be a decision not taken lightly. It’s not like treating an ear infection with antibiotics.

This is all very neat and straightforward in theory. In practice, though, it's been pretty much the opposite, with hundreds of thousands of abortions performed each year, year after year. This is not exactly what any reasonable person would call 'rare'.

The phrase "safe, legal, and rare" was just Bill Clinton talking out both sides of his mouth, as he was prone to do when he was president. It's true that he was sincere about the 'safe' and 'legal' part, since feminists were and are an influential Democratic constituency. But not so much the 'rare' clause. I doubt he gave a damn. And Hillary is really no different.

hyper,Using the ab... (Below threshold)
jim m:


Using the ability to be a rational actor is not a way to determine whether or not a life is valuable. You end up in a situation where some people believe it is and others disagree. In the case of a child who would become one if not murdered beforehand it is obscene to say that any one individual should have the right to declare that the child does not deserve that chance.

I was saying that obama has stood firmly on the side of the argument that says it is OK to murder the child. It does not matter if the clinic is clean or not. would you be arguing that murder is OK if the clinic is spic and span? I'm sure that Barry would say that the cleanliness was a separate issue but that the issue of abortion should not be tied to the state of the clinic.

The issue is not how clean this guy's floors were or how he chose to decorate his walls. The issue is that he murdered babies that were born alive. I pointed out that obama has historically fought to preserve the ability to get away with murders like this doctor has committed.

No amount of spin will allow you to claim that this man was outside the mainstream while maintaining that the president is in the mainstream.

There must have been thousa... (Below threshold)
morris wise:

There must have been thousands of over thirty week abortions that Gosnell performed that went undetected. His price of 3,000 dollars were for involuntary patients, many who were day`s away from giving birth. They were abducted and dragged in by boyfriends who wanted the pregnancy terminated.

Nice that you are able to d... (Below threshold)

Nice that you are able to discern with your telepathic abilities what the Clintons' "real" attitudes towards abortion are, OM.

Poverty leads to unwanted pregnancies leads to abortions. Don't like abortions? Fight poverty. But the fact is, abortions happen everywhere, even places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, and if you care about making them safe, they have to be legal; and if you care about making them rare, you should worry instead about mitigating the circumstances that lead to unwanted pregnancies. And yeah, lots of people will casually use abortion as a means of birth control and not feel bad about it, but they're shitty people and that's not a punishable crime in and of itself.

jim, actually, a life has no value for the person who is living it if they are devoid of the capacity for rational action. See: Rationality and Freedom, by Joseph Raz. Or, if you prefer, you could read Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, but it's a bit of a slog.

While *you* might think that a life that a potential mother wishes to terminate is valuable, that's not for *you* to decide. What *your* values allow *you* to do is elect politicians who share *your* views, and choose not to abort any babies that may be attached to *your* body. But that is where *your* rights on the matter end. Fetuses do not have rights in the United States. They do in Ireland. Hell, they have more rights than women in certain Muslim countries. But you don't want to live in those countries, do you.

What is President Obama's position on abortion? That it should remain legal. What is his position on murdering children? I've never heard him come out and say it, but one would assume that he is against it--unless one is the sort of person who thinks that your corporatist, Wall-Street-loving, Afghanistan-war-escalating douche-bag of a Commander-in-Chief is going to give Manhattan back to Native Americans.

"...involuntary patients ..... (Below threshold)

"...involuntary patients ... abducted and dragged in by boyfriends who wanted the pregnancy terminated."

Is that true? If so, everyone who did that will probably be charged with murder and false imprisonment (or whatever you call kidnapping in the U.S.)

Time for a drink...

Re: #10 Hyperbolist,<... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Re: #10 Hyperbolist,

I am surprised that you found no leftists leaping to the Dr.'s defense. I will make a prediction though: Give it time.

Hyper,I am not pre... (Below threshold)
jim m:


I am not presuming to argue about abortion. Look back at all my posts and you will see that I am arguing about children who have been born already. This doctor is going to be tried for murder of children who were born.

If you are wanting to argue that " a life has no value for the person who is living it if they are devoid of the capacity for rational action" then you are denying that there is any value in a person in and of themselves. You are saying that a person has value only through their experiences and by that reasoning we can say that a person whose life has more experiences (or better ones) has more value. Your position denies the posibility that a person's life could in fact be valuable to others. Your position also denies that a future value has a value today. Any accountant can tell yuo that a future stream of values has a calculatable value today.

The fact that you cannot remember the experiences of your childhood does not mean that a child does not gain enjoyment or satisfaction from those experiences. The fact that the brain developes based on those experiences and those experiences form the basis for experiencing pleasure or pain, joy or fear, later in life suggests that the child does indeed experience those things even if they are not remembered.

Your argument is a terribly feable one. It is based on the presumption that you have perfect knowledge and you do not. The fact that a child cannot communicate does not mean that they cannot make decisions. In fact we se that infants do make decisions. Their knowledge base is small and their decisions are small ones, but they do make them.

And yes, I have read Aristotle's ethics, but that was 25 years ago.

#41"While *you* mi... (Below threshold)


"While *you* might think that a life that a potential mother wishes to terminate is valuable, that's not for *you* to decide."

It is if I AM EXPECTED TO FOOT THE BILL for the event.

"Jim, actually, a life has no value for the person who is living it if they are devoid of the capacity for rational action."

How would you know? Unlees you are that individual and no what they value? What's rational to you may be irrational to me or to them.

Have another drink O'pompous one.

Thats 'unless' & 'know' for... (Below threshold)

Thats 'unless' & 'know' for those who pay attention to spell check.

The feigned horror from the... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

The feigned horror from the left at killing newborn babies with scissors is unconvincing. This is the exact procedure of so-called partial birth abortion the left so eagerly clamors for. The baby is born, except for the head so as to technically avoid the charge of murder. Then the baby is killed in the exact manner described. Where and how do you think the "Dr." learned how to do it? This callousness towards life is precisely what the right has predicted would happen all along.

Nice that you are ... (Below threshold)
Nice that you are able to discern with your telepathic abilities what the Clintons' "real" attitudes towards abortion are, OM.

Any politician who says they want abortion to be "safe, legal, and rare" as a matter of public policy is either stupid beyond belief or is trying to cynically manipulate disparate voting blocs. Now, there are all kinds of adjectives I can use to describe what I think of the Clintons, but "stupid" isn't one of them.

Poverty leads to unwanted pregnancies...

It does? Really? You know this... how?

Don't like abortions? Fight poverty

Abortion is no more caused by poverty than crime is. I know that goes against a fondly-held liberal belief, but the fact is, all kinds of middle-class and upper-class women get abortions.

We're not going to cure this problem by throwing money at it, which we've been (indirectly) doing for over 40 years, to the tune of trillions of dollars. How's that working out for us?

HyperI guess you d... (Below threshold)
retired military:


I guess you didnt change that much after all.

The last time we had this discussion about abortion you stated that you felt

a. If females decided to cut off their limbs for no reason other than they wanted to that you had no objections and felt it should be legal. After all it is their body and they should be able to do it if they want to.


b. That under certain circumstances doctors could kill newborns (which is apparantly contrary to your position now).

Why not just give it up.

...your corporatis... (Below threshold)
...your corporatist, Wall-Street-loving, Afghanistan-war-escalating douche-bag of a Commander-in-Chief

Ha! I knew there must be a reason you've been so cranky lately, and so here it is. You sound like a teen-aged girl whose dreamy boyfriend has just jilted her.

Jeff, thousands of wingnut ... (Below threshold)

Jeff, thousands of wingnut bloggers were probably desperately trolling the 'moonbatosphere' or however they refer to left-blogistan for such examples today, and rest assured, if any existed, you would have heard about them by now. Nobody is defending this "doctor" nor his practices.

jim, my point is that the word person does not apply to someone devoid of the capacity for rational action. No moral or legal philosopher, regardless of how liberal or conservative, would dispute that. You don't get to be a person by virtue of the fact that you're a member of the species homo sapiens. It's a harder club to get into than that. Any organism that lacks the capacity for appreciating value--in the loosest sense of the term--is not an organism to which we owe any moral obligations. Children are to a certain extent autonomous and will develop the capacity for engaging with value, through the lens of language. Fetuses are not autonomous and will only reach that stage if the person whose uterus they are dependent on decides to let them come to term. And it's not for anyone--especially not the state--to tell anyone what to do with their uterus.

914, sorry, but a meta-ethical discussion on what it means to be a creature with the capacity for valuation and rationality is a few steps beyond the "HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?" response that you gave. It's a lot more complicated than this, but suffice to say that a person is only rational insofar as their actions, words, and deeds make sense (all things being equal), and so anything that lacks a capacity for language and the ability to sensibly engage with their environment is not something to which we owe any moral consideration. That doesn't mean we should just destroy everything that doesn't fit these criteria: for instance, I would have a problem with someone destroying the Mona Lisa because it is not a rational person. It's complicated, y'know?

OM, you really want a sociological run-down on the demographic distribution of abortions? Okay: young, single mothers are more likely to have abortions; and young, single mothers are more likely to grow up in poverty. Yes, rich women get abortions--so? Rich kids die in gang-related violence but does that mean that gang membership has no socioeconomic underpinnings? Don't be thick. If you really do care about preventing abortions, what is your solution? Criminalizing it? That would be a good idea. Remember when everybody did drugs, and then they made drugs illegal, and then everybody stopped doing drugs?

I was never under any illusions as to the sort of person Obama is--he's an American politician, for fuck's sake, and you don't get to be a successful American politician if you have principles. (I guess Ron Paul, Paul Wellstone and Dennis Kucinich would be exceptions--and everybody here just loves those guys.) I knew he was a technocratic populist who would not end the war in Iraq any sooner than, say, Clinton; but I didn't think he would continue to let Goldman Sachs et al dictate the economic policy of your country. And the healthcare bill was so watered down that insurance companies openly declared victory upon its passage. So yeah, I'm a bit disappointed. Any thinking person who supported him should be.

retired_m, I don't think my moral positions have changed. In fact, this reinforces them: abortion should be carefully regulated by people who take their jobs very seriously. That didn't happen, and people died as a result. I continue to have no real problem with self-mutilation, apart from an aesthetic one, so long as the person is of sound mind. Why would you care? It's not your problem.

Hyper, so let me get this s... (Below threshold)

Hyper, so let me get this straight, your main argument lies in what is legal or not. From your many comments that seems to be how you decide what is permitted.
So if a Government passed a law to allow for the extermination of a certain segment of a population, you would support that law?

I would offer that just because something is "legal" does not make it moral or correct. History is full of examples of things that were considered legal but morally corrupt and wrong.

Just a few examples: Dred Scot, Separate but equal, Slavery, the extermination of anyone of Jewish blood, or anyone who had higher education as was practiced in Cambodia under Pol Pot.

No, that's not my main argu... (Below threshold)

No, that's not my main argument. That's a corollary of it.

My argument is that the law seems to do a good job of recognizing what it means to be a person and what it means to be something else. All of your examples are not defensible under what it means to be a rational person, with all the duties/obligations, rights and freedoms that that concept entails.

Hyper,You are stil... (Below threshold)
jim m:


You are still denying that children are persons. You will find precious few philosophers of any worth that would declare unequivocally that children are not persons. The few that you can find are not worth discussing because their theories are on the far fringe.

You are trying to adhere to an artificial and artificially narrow definition of personhood. Rational action is by no means the sole criterion and you are foolish to cleave to it so.

It's like the people who decided that the use of tools was the minimal identifying aspect of civilization, until it was shown that apes and birds and other animals use tools. Or those who declared that the ability to construct an arch until they realized that every ant can construct one.

As I have stated repeatedly and you have steadfastly avoided acknowledging, is that if you hold that rational action is the defining point of personhood and that non-persons do not have any claim to individual rights then it is possible to claim that small children have no rights and can be indiscriminately slaughtered as they are not persons. The same for the elderly or the insane. Even though the insane may be medicated so they can make rational decisions.

You go down a path that allows mass murder once you decide that mental incapacity removes personhood. That is most definitely the path of unspeakable evil.

Children are persons. They ... (Below threshold)

Children are persons. They have a rudimentary capacity for language and can make rational decisions (though not predictably). Don't put words in my mouth.

Fetuses aren't people. They are only going to develop language and the capacity for rational thought if a person chooses to let them--and they are well within their right to choose not to let them develop to that stage.

At what point do you decide... (Below threshold)
jim m:

At what point do you decide that a child is indeed a child? At birth? Some have placed it at several months or even years.

I would also say that the only reason we currently say that a fetus cannot do these things is that we lack any ability to test that verifiably. If it could be shown that a full term baby has that capacity then what?

If it is possible that a fetus has the capacity but you cannot be certain then what is your decision?

hyper, on what scientific b... (Below threshold)

hyper, on what scientific basis can you say a fetus isn't a people? Ask any parent how they related to their unborn child, and you will discover a relationship, a human relationship, develops with both the mother and the father, if they are sensitive enough and not blinded by spurious screeds. A fetus is not subhuman. Unless, of course, it is an inconvenient parasite, as defined by you and your ilk. Lord, infants don't have language and rational thought, but once they are breathing air, you magically make them humans, and if they are still attached to an umbilical cord they're not? Your level of intellectualization of denial is indeed amazing.

Your level of intellectu... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Your level of intellectualization of denial is indeed amazing.

The only way the left can believe the way they do is to make moral issues into abstractions that lack any connection to reality.

This is why he fixates on capacity for rational action as the sole definition of personhood knowing (or at least he should know) that it is impossible to determine that capacity empirically in a fetus. He is left with a definition that cannot be tested in the critical circumstance and he is erring on the side of murder out of convenience for the sake of his ideological views.

I suppose one could ask if that capacity is present in a premature infant. He has already given that it exists in children but has not defined when a baby becomes a child. If it is at birth then why does a premature infant have that capacity and not a fetus of the same gestational age?

Like most libs I doubt he has ever bothered to consider the logical extensions of his beliefs. When I did, I ceased being a lib.

OM, you really wan... (Below threshold)
OM, you really want a sociological run-down on the demographic distribution of abortions? Okay: young, single mothers are more likely to have abortions; and young, single mothers are more likely to grow up in poverty

Yes, I know this is what liberals believe, according to their worldview. But I don't think the statistics support the idea that abortion is primarily a lower-income phenomenon.

Rich kids die in gang-related violence but does that mean that gang membership has no socioeconomic underpinnings?

That (a) poverty and (b) gang violence occur together is without doubt. But to conclude that then (a) causes (b) is something that liberals have never justified. I could just as easily assert that (b) causes (a), and in fact I would say that that inference makes a lot more sense.

If you really do care about preventing abortions, what is your solution? Criminalizing it?

Actually, I'm not terribly interested in passing any new abortion laws at this point. I think what's going to kill the abortion industry is the dissemination of better and more advanced 3-D ultrasound technology. I think the better and more true-to-life the pictures are, the less likely a woman will choose to terminate her pregnancy. Not always, of course, but I think over time, we're going to see a slow, steady decrease.

Also, demographics. Those who think abortion is OK will tend to act on their beliefs and make use of it. Those who don't think abortion is OK will tend not to. Right now, my country is pretty much divided evenly on this issue. But let's have this conversation a century from now and see where things stand.

That (a) poverty and (b)... (Below threshold)
jim m:

That (a) poverty and (b) gang violence occur together is without doubt. But to conclude that then (a) causes (b) is something that liberals have never justified.

Not only have they never justified it, but they can't. Gangs occur in the middle class suburbs as well. It has little to do with poverty but the left uses it to drive their bogus agenda. Just another example of deciding how things must be without really examining the assumptions or the ramifications of those beliefs.

We can't let a little thing... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

We can't let a little thing like a live birth interfere with a woman's right to a dead baby.

So the existence of suburba... (Below threshold)

So the existence of suburban gangs is sufficient grounds for denying a statistical correlation between income and crime? Come on. That's like saying that once you saw an albino groundhog, and so groundhogs are not typically light brown in colour.

A lack of socioeconomic opportunity is cause for a self-perpetuating cycle of crime and poverty. I think even Ronald Reagan would accept that. Opinions diverge as to how to address the problem (social assistance or economic freedom, to oversimplify it). But I've never (before now) heard anyone deny a link between violent/narcotic/gang crime and poverty.

Hyper, Like you argued that... (Below threshold)

Hyper, Like you argued that Smith was for govt controlled redistributive welfare because he wrote about the English poor buying leather shoes instead of necessities?

No, I quoted Smith saying t... (Below threshold)

No, I quoted Smith saying that all persons have a right to appear in public in a dignified manner; and, where there is a right, there is an implied obligation for society to furnish the material means by which that right might be upheld.

In simpler terms, the great father of free-market capitalism believed that some wealth ought to be redistributed from the rich to the poor. Smith believed that, because Smith understood that the gears of industry turn more effectively when the working poor aren't thinking about overthrowing the captains of industry.

Don't pay any mind to the l... (Below threshold)
Ashley Todd:

Don't pay any mind to the lefty libtards, Kim. We all know that they love killing babies.

You believed in me and I believe in you.

Yours in truthiness,
Ashley Todd

We hold these trut... (Below threshold)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

Upto the 1870 the Hippocratic oath prohibited abortion.

We know that an unborn child is alive. When an abortion is performed, it is the termination of life.

The DEATH cult that supports abortion is so total in the state of PA that they allowed this doctor to operate as he murdered children and endanger the life of his patients.

But I've never (be... (Below threshold)
But I've never (before now) heard anyone deny a link between violent/narcotic/gang crime and poverty.

We're not denying the two are unrelated, we just question the direction of the causal relationship the liberal worldview insists upon as an article of its faith.

So you think crime causes p... (Below threshold)

So you think crime causes poverty, rather than poverty causing crime?

Are you suggesting that, say, Harlem was a nice place to live, but then (for no reason) people started selling heroin and killing each other, and then it became a shitty ghetto?

I'm pretty sure one of us has the causal relationship backwards, and I'm pretty sure it isn't me.

Are you suggesting... (Below threshold)
Are you suggesting that, say, Harlem was a nice place to live, but then (for no reason) people started selling heroin and killing each other, and then it became a shitty ghetto?

Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying (other than the "no reason" part, which I will get to). Harlem in the 20s and 30s and before that was actually a not-too-bad to live.

But it went downhill for a reason, and that reason is the same reason why many of our cities have turned into corrupt, crime-infested shitholes, and that is, the election of more and more progressive-left politicians and the implementation of progressive-left social policies.

If history teaches us anything, it is that the quickest way to destroy a city is to let liberals run it for a generation or two. In this fashion, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Baltimore, all except New York City have become hellholes of crime. Why not NYC? Because NYC had the good fortune of being governed for a few years by Rudy Guiliani, who ran it a conservative and brought it back from the brink. Even though now the idiot Bloomberg seems intent on pissing it all away, it's a fact that when Guiliani was running the show, NYC actually became liveable again.

Abortions sends babies to h... (Below threshold)

Abortions sends babies to heaven before they can turn gay. That doctor was only doing God's work with the pregnant women's permission. The aborted fetuses get to be with God sooner before they can sin, and become homosexuals. What do you people want.

Giuliani is a conservative,... (Below threshold)

Giuliani is a conservative, like Ben Nelson is a liberal. He's a law-and-order liberal. At least, he used to be, when he had a future as a politician.

Ronald Reagan gutted social programs for the poor, and while you can argue that in the long-term that was the right thing to do for the economy, it did increase poverty rates.

Countries with more generous safety nets than the U.S., such as Canada and Sweden, have never experienced the levels of violent crimes in their urban centres that have defined a number of American cities.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, though. Sorry for sounding off on you a few times in a totally undignified and disrespectful manner. I go back and read some of the shit I post on the internet, and have to wonder, what is it about this mode of communication that makes me such a dick sometimes?

Countries with mor... (Below threshold)
Countries with more generous safety nets than the U.S., such as Canada and Sweden, have never experienced the levels of violent crimes in their urban centres that have defined a number of American cities.

And I would argue that this is a matter of ethnic demographics. Someone once pointed out to Milton Friedman the low crime rate of Sweden and he replied, "How about that! The Swedish population in the United States has a low crime rate, too!"

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, though. Sorry for sounding off on you a few times in a totally undignified and disrespectful manner.

Part of this is my fault. I have gone off on you, too, a bunch of times and for that I sincerely apologize.

I go back and read some of the shit I post on the internet, and have to wonder, what is it about this mode of communication that makes me such a dick sometimes?

You're not the only dick in this conversation. I think the reason is because this mode of communication is pretty much consequence-free. We're far enough away from each other that we will never cross paths, we don't work together on a daily basis, and to each other we're just text on a screen. So the temptation to vent, when we know the likelihood of blowback will be minimal, sometimes overcomes common sense and ordinary rules of behavior.

Toronto is the most multicu... (Below threshold)

Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. Half of the people who live here were born in other countries, and a lot of them come from hell-holes defined by ethnic violence (Eastern Europe and Africa), and some of that does get carried into our city, but even still the murder rate is much lower than in most (all?) American cities with 1 million plus people living in them. I live in a North African neighbourhood full of Ethiopian and Eritrean people who all left that part of the world for obvious reasons, and now coexist among one another. Serbs and Albanians here still hate each other but that usually plays out on a soccer field and never ends in mass graves.

I guess trying to figure out the cause of crime in urban centres in a particular part of the world in a blog comment thread will inevitably result in oversimplification, but I do see where you are coming from and don't think you're flat-out wrong, but I don't think I'm wrong either.

I fully agree with your last paragraph. In real life, if we worked together or our lives otherwise overlapped, we'd probably have no problem avoiding talking about politics and--as you're from Oregon--we'd probably have a good time talking about anything else (Brandon Roy--the saddest story in sports?) while enjoying the superb beers that are crafted in your part of the world. Have a good weekend!






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