We need to have a conversation about abortion.
Something big happened last Friday. In response to the anemic media coverage on the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, and at the prompting of Kirsten Powers’ powerful USAToday editorial, hundreds of thousands of individuals took the conversation in their own hands.
In a 12-hour tweet-fest, pressure mounted for the media to cover what is arguably the most historic abortion story since Roe v. Wade.
The trial of Gosnell began on March 18. He is charged with 8 counts of murder—one for a 41 year old woman patient and the other seven for babies whose spinal cords were snipped after they survived the abortion.
The details of Gosnell’s “practice” are horrific. Infants were beheaded. Dead baby feet were kept in jars. One staff member reported a child screaming after birth before being killed. Another said a worker played with a baby before killing it.
Gosnell’s clinic hadn’t been inspected for 17 years. Gosnell violated State laws. He disregarded basic standards of safe medical practice. All while Gosnell made a reported $1.8 million a year from his “practice.”
If there was ever a story that called for conversation on abortion, regulations, and the safety of pregnant women, this is it.
And yet there was “precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page.” Until citizen outrage brought results, and media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and FOX began covering the Gosnell story.
But the pressure is still on for the media to get the story right, with details and facts that expose Gosnell’s horrific “practice,” along with what policy and regulation could protect women and children from such atrocities.
This is the conversation we need to be having.
In New York, Governor Cuomo is seeking to expand the abortion. Under the guise of “women’s equality,” he claims to be “codifying federal law.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Governor Cuomo’s plans for abortion expansion would establish abortion as a fundamental right. As my friend Helen Alvaré explains, this goes far beyond federal jurisprudence, which treats abortion as only a liberty interest. This would make the passage of any common sense restrictions—restrictions supported by vast majorities of New Yorkers and Americans, like informed consent, 24-hour waiting periods, and basic regulation of abortion clinics—impossible. Even more disturbing is Governor Cuomo’s push to allow non-physicians to perform abortions, a notion which is in no way indicated by federal law. That idea that this unnecessary expansion could possibly make women safer is, prima facie, absurd.
Bill Hammond of the New York Daily News noted that while “[Governor Cuomo’s] plan would not legalize anything Gosnell is accused of doing,.. neither does it take any positive steps to prevent future Gosnells — by, for instance, setting standards under which professionals can perform abortions and under what conditions.”
Abortion seems like a polarizing issue in America. That’s the way it plays out in the press and in politics: America is a 50/50 pro-life to pro-choice country, with the advantage trending in the pro-life direction as millenials of the “sonogram generation” poll more pro-life than their parents. But this 50/50 narrative on abortion doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of opinion about abortion in the real world in America. Many Americans, and probably a growing number, find themselves in what columnist James Taranto calls the “mushy middle.” These people can see that the difference between “snipping” the spine of a just born child and crushing the skull of the same child inside the birth canal is the difference between illegal and legal, and nothing more. In fact, it is the difference between Kermit Gosnell and Leroy Carhart. But only one of them is on trial for murder.
Even in New York, where a majority identify themselves as pro-choice, there is a strong consensus in favor of more restricted abortion. According to a poll we commissioned, conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, more than three-quarters of New Yorkers support restrictions on abortion, such as informed consent and parental consent. And only 17 percent think women should have access to abortion through all nine-months of pregnancy.
Maybe the Governor just hasn’t heard these details yet. So, let’s make sure he does.
Today is round-two of the #Gosnell tweet fest. Details can be found at this Facebook event page. https://www.facebook.com/events/465262610208738/
Here are some tweets to add to the conversation:
- Prevent more #Gosnell http://bit.ly/gosnell-numbers oppose Cuomo’s abortion expansion @TimesUnion @AlbanyLG #prolife #prochoice #Cuomo
- More abortion is not women’s equality/oppose Cuomo’s abortion expansion #Gosnell #prolife #prochoice #Cuomo
- NY wants more restrictions, not more abortion. http://tinyurl.com/c2usal8 #Gosnell oppose #Cuomo abortion expansion @NYDailyNews @AlbanyLG
Let’s continue this conversation. Expose the Gosnell trial. Oppose Cuomo’s abortion expansion.