- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Pro-life lawmakers don’t wait for Gosnell verdict, question states on abortion
The jury remained out for an eighth consecutive day in the sensational murder trial of an inner-city Philadelphia abortionist, but the impact of the case already is being felt far beyond the courtroom.
As jurors weighed the fate of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a group of top lawmakers on Capitol Hill announced a drive to investigate the quality and oversight of clinics and facilities that provide abortion in every state in the union. A letter mailed Thursday to public health officials and states attorneys general is seeking information on the regulation and monitoring of abortion clinics.
Separately, black religious leaders have announced plans to come to Capitol Hill next week to demand congressional hearings on illegal, late-term abortions in poor and minority communities. The overwhelming number of patients at Dr. Gosnell’s Women's Medical Society were minorities.
Pro-choice advocates say the practices in Dr. Gosnell’s clinic were not representative of the industry as a whole, but abortion opponents clearly have been galvanized as revelations of the Philadelphia clinic — and the apparent lack of oversight by state health officials.
The Gosnell trial “raises troubling questions about the practices of abortion clinics, and whether state departments of health are aware, or even conducting appropriate monitoring of these facilities,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, wrote in a letter signed by five Republican colleagues.
Prosecutors charge that Dr. Gosnell, who is black, performed his late-term abortions in a filthy “house of horrors,” with most of his clients low-income minority women. He is charged with the first-degree murders of four newborns and third-degree murder of a female patient, as well as scores of other violations related to his clinic and abortion practices.
Dr. Gosnell’s defense has vigorously denied the charges, arguing that none of the babies was alive when he and others snipped their spinal cords. The defense attorneys did not call Dr. Gosnell, 72, to the stand or bring any witnesses during the trial.
The jury in the trial, which began deliberations more than a week ago, adjourned again Thursday without announcing a verdict.
Whatever the verdict, pro-choice groups warned, lawmakers should not make broad generalizations about the industry.
“All of us are appalled by the substandard, illegal practices,” said Vicki Saporta, chief executive of the National Abortion Federation, which represents hundreds of U.S. abortion clinics and refused to accept the Gosnell clinic as a member. “But to make the leap to say that’s indicative of the state of abortion care throughout the U.S. is absolutely false.”
But pro-life groups hailed the congressional move, saying lax oversight of abortion providers has long been a major problem.
“Kermit Gosnell is the tip of the iceberg,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. There has been “multi-state breakdown of oversight in the abortion industry, as well as the barbarism of abortions performed on children capable of feeling pain and surviving outside the womb.”
Lila Rose, whose Live Action organization has released four “undercover” videos of pregnant women talking candidly with abortion providers, also applauded the oversight letters. Live Action videos show that “gruesome” abortion practices, including leaving babies to die after failed abortions, “are just another day at the office for many abortion center doctors and employees,” Ms. Rose said.
The Guttmacher Institute estimated in 2008 that there were about 1,800 abortion providers in the United States.
In the letter from the Republican House members, public health officials in the states and the District are asked to detail by May 22 their licensing regulations; inspections; handling of complaints; license suspensions and revocations; disciplinary actions; and legal protections for infants, including born-alive infants. Documented data are requested from 2008 to 2013.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor. Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Panel seeks 'surveillance' system for gay blood donors
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Embryonic stem cell research falls out of favor as scientists go ethical
- With new HIV research, FDA may let gay men donate blood
Latest Blog Entries
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
- House votes to reject Obama welfare shift
- Report: Two out of three Democrats support gay marriage
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow