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Violation of Abortion Laws: Cries from Pennsylvania’s Back-Alleys

Submitted by on November 22, 2013 – 7:28 PM

picgiantI recently read an article in the Student BMJ about the horrific crimes that an American doctor named Kermit Gosnell committed. The author described how Gosnell performed abortions after the 24 week limit and made millions of dollars by hiring underage, untrained staff. He is described in the article as ‘America’s abortion monster’ –  a man who performed close to 16,000 abortions, decapitated fetuses while they were still inside their mother’s wombs (a process Gosnell referred to as ‘snipping’), and exploited the rights of both the women who sought his help and their unborn children.

In 2010, the FBI investigated Kermit Gosnell’s practice over concerns that he was issuing illegal drug prescriptions. The evidence for Gosnell’s crimes that the government authorities found was shocking. Fetuses in freezers, the floor and stretchers covered in blood and fetal remains carelessly stored in various places, even in cat food containers. Gosnell was convicted 3 years later of murder, infanticide, conspiracy, etc. The list goes on.


But what drove the 72 year old doctor to do this?


Kermit Gosnell himself believes that he was a “soldier in the war on poverty”. He put it all down to the laws and regulations around abortion and drugs. Some people would say that it is Pennsylvania’s own restrictive climate that forced women from less wealthy backgrounds to seek ‘back-alley’ abortions, such as the ones offered in Gosnell’s filthy clinic. Twelve states in the US have already banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, arguing that fetuses will be able to feel pain from there onward.


That opens a door to another dilemma – the whole “who decides when life begins?” argument. During the raid, the authorities found 2 to 3 foetuses out of about 45 that could be classed as viable in Gosnell’s clinic. Ohio is one of many states that is clamping down on its abortion regulations, it is considering a ban on abortion as early as once the heartbeat has been detected.


Could these strict laws lead women to take desperate measures in desperate times? An abortion provider in the US said that the state enforced laws only “make it harder and more expensive for women to have an abortion”.  It is important to consider the mother’s life as well as that of the unborn child at such a sensitive time in her life. Try to imagine yourself in that difficult position, just think of the sorts of things that would be running through your mind.


A baby, a life growing inside you. You weren’t ready for this. You weren’t ready for a crying, ever-dependent bundle. You’re not ready to parent.


You’re confused, you’re scared, you’re anxious. And you need a quick fix before time runs out.


On the other hand you may be thinking it’s a responsibility they should have been prepared for. It is  human life. Value it’s sanctity. I suppose we just don’t know which side of the argument we belong to until we are faced with the situation ourselves.


As the abortion regulations become increasingly tight in the USA, the risk of unsafe abortions also increases. America needs to find a middle ground for this issue before, like Gosnell, more and more medical professionals begin to exploit the restrictive culture that is growing around abortion.



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