Two weeks ago, I sat less than 10 feet away from Kermit Gosnell in the Philadelphia courtroom where his fate was ultimately decided. Now he sits in a jail cell, awaiting his final sentence for murdering newly born children in his abortion clinic. The prosecutor gave an impassioned closing argument detailing gruesome evidence of suffering and death, while Gosnell at times smiled, even laughed. The Gosnell jury did their job, though. Now we, the American public, must do ours.
Much like the Gosnell jury, the American people have had the chance to see the natural consequence of an unregulated profit-driven abortion clinic industry, including the reality of infanticide, which is the logical conclusion of the abortion worldview. Gosnell's clinic is not the only "house of horrors" in our nation. In recent years, 15 states have investigated substandard conditions and providers.
It is clear the time is now to protect women and children victimized by Big Abortion by enacting common-sense clinic regulations, informed consent requirements, mandated reporting of sexual abuse, parental involvement in young girl's abortion decisions and legal protections for born-alive infants. Americans United for Life has been championing these laws for decades, providing model legislation and protecting women from unregulated Big Abortion.
Far from being a restrictive abortion environment, the United States stands with North Korea, China and Canada in having the most radical abortion policies in the world. In this country, abortion clinics are not regulated like the legitimate medical facilities they claim to be. Only four states regulate abortion in the same manner as other outpatient surgical centers. This means that in our supposedly progressive society, patients receiving virtually any outpatient surgery are worthy of basic health protections, yet women who receive abortions somehow are not.
The consequences are dire. Women die under horrendous circumstances from botched abortions every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Gosnell's case, the victim was Karnamaya Mongar, the mother of four who had survived 20 years in a refugee camp, only to die from an abortion she received at a house of horrors clinic. It took emergency personnel 20 critical minutes to simply remove her from the clinic because the hallways were too narrow to navigate a stretcher.
In 2012, 24-year-old Tonya Reaves died following a botched abortion in Planned Parenthood's flagship clinic in Chicago across the street from the art museum. She bled inside the clinic for more than five hours before Planned Parenthood bothered to call emergency personnel. In 2013, Jennifer Morbelli, a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher, died after an abortion by infamous abortionist LeRoy Carhart. As she started to develop complications, her family attempted to reach out to him, but he was unavailable.
In response to Monday's verdict, Planned Parenthood called Gosnell's crimes "appalling." What of Planned Parenthood's own actions? The local Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation knew of the conditions inside Gosnell's house of horrors; they did not report them. Two former nurses of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Delaware are now reporting similarly appalling acts in the Delaware clinic, including use of unsterilized instruments and failure to wash down operating tables. What of Planned Parenthood's own victims, like Tonya Reaves? Much like Gosnell, who decided to take the stand and testify in his defense, Planned Parenthood has remained remarkably silent.
Meanwhile, the Big Abortion lobby is attempting to distract the American public, arguing that the solution to Gosnell's crimes is to give women more access to abortion, all while vehemently opposing the regulation of abortion clinics. How can the solution be more unregulated abortion? It's nonsensical.
With this tragedy, America can no longer ignore the impact of what occurs in abortion clinics. The facts and evidence are at hand, and we are now obliged to render our own verdict. Will we turn a blind eye to the horrors occurring every day across our country inside the houses of Big Abortion, or will we model the courageous example of the Gosnell jury and provide justice? It is time to weigh impartially the evidence of more than 40 years of abortion in unregulated, unrestricted, unrepentant clinics. Justice was served in the Gosnell verdict, but other women and children need our help.
Jeanneane Maxon is vice president of external affairs for Americans United for Life.