October 1, 2014

Time for more government oversight of abortion practices

Because I believe that the scope of government should be limited, I believe that less governmental regulation is, generally better. It raises the cost of doing business and–when it isn’t saving lives–it just sucks money out of the economy.

Congress–and the Utah Legislature–should have a very good reason before creating a new regulations that will require government employees to regulate and inspect some private sector activity.  Sufficient numbers of, and adequately trained, police, educators, and food quality inspectors are one thing; the proliferation of the nanny state is quite another.

But what is one  government regulation I would quite gladly support? The regulation of abortion, especially those such as the abortions allegedly carried out by Kermit Gosnell over his thirty year practice as a “doctor.”

As was described in an op-ed for the Washington Post:

In what can only be described as a “house of horrors,” abortion provider Kermit Gosnell stands trial in Philadelphia, charged with the grotesque murder of at least seven infants, allegedly born alive after botched abortions only to be brutally killed moments later.

ap_abortion_clinic_investigation_39870873-4_3_r536_c534That’s right. I’m not just railing against abortion–which I wholeheartedly oppose on the grounds that a woman’s right to choose begins and ends with the choice to engage in consensual sexual relations (which does not include rape and incest)–but against the murder of babies born alive and killed just moments later, often in the most calloused of ways.

It’s not like Gosnell is recent news, either. Gosnell has been hurting women, and killing babies, since the early 1970s when he was involved in the “Mother’s Day Massacre.”

It was called the Mother’s Day Massacre—the brainchild of Harvey Karman, an eccentric California man without medical training who had served 2½ years in prison for performing illegal abortions in the 1950s. Karman teamed with a young Philadelphia doctor who offered to perform abortions on 15 impoverished women, each between four and six months pregnant, who were bused to the Philadelphia clinic from Chicago on Mother’s Day 1972.

What the women didn’t know was that they were guinea pigs for a device Karman had invented, which he called the “super coil.” He had tested it only on wartime rape victims in Bangladesh, where he had traveled under the sponsorship of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Complication rates were high, and little wonder. A colleague of Karman’s Philadelphia collaborator described the contraption as “basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. . . . They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman’s uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, . . . the gel would melt and these . . . things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus.”

As in Bangladesh, the Philadelphia experiment was a failure. Nine of the 15 women suffered serious complications. One needed a hysterectomy.

It was this kind of back-alley danger that was supposed to be ended by Roe v. Wade, handed down by the Supreme Court in 1973.  And yet, here we are, thirty years later, and Gosnell is still killing babies and their mothers with his barbaric methods.

Which is why I support more regulation of abortions, including Senator Mike Lee‘s efforts today to move the Senate into action against the kind of horrific clinics Gosnell has run for almost three decades.

Official portrait of United States Senator Mik...

Official portrait of United States Senator Mike Lee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a resolution supported by Senators. Toomey (PA), Rubio (FL), Cruz (TX), Inhofe (OK), Scott (SC), Blunt (MO), Burr (NC), Vitter (LA), Johanns (NE), and Boozman (AR) Senator Mike Lee is calling for the Senate to take the moral high ground. Said Senator Lee:

The Senate should formally recognize that this is a problem in our country and we have a responsibility to investigate the causes, review the effects of certain public policies, and determine what we can do to prevent any woman from being subjected to these reprehensible practices again.

Further, Lee’s press release says that

[t]he resolution also recognizes that “there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at 20 weeks after fertilization, or earlier,” and resolves that “there is a compelling governmental interest in protecting the lives of unborn children beginning at least from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”

Occasionally, or maybe more than occasionally, I see politicians that take on causes that are either pandering to their political base or that have no more chance of success than Don Quixote tilting at windmills.  I know that there are those who will see Lee’s actions as just that.

In Gosnell, though, we face a very real monster, not a mere facade for fodder to the base. We see horrors that should disturb all Americans, whether they oppose or support abortion. Killing babies, not to mention hurting women and girls in clinics that are unsanitary and staffed by untrained employees, is both disgusting and disturbing. It should give all Americans pause, to say the least. More, though, it should make them angry: angry that a calloused and unfeeling creature like Gosnell has been hurting women for nearly thirty years, angry that our government has done so little to prevent it.

It’s taken too long, and too many have been hurt. It’s time for the United States Senate to take up the issue. One of the major justifications for Roe v. Wade was that it would bring abortions out of the back-alleys and make it safe. In Kermit Gosnell, though, we see that a generation has passed and, though sanctioned by the law, the practice is no more safe, moral, or justified.

It’s time for greater government oversight of abortion. It’s time for the US Senate to look into how abortion is conducted in this country.

 

About Daniel Burton

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. You can follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas. He is active on social media, Republican politics, and has been named to PoliticIt’s list of the “Top-50 Utah Political Opinion Leaders” on Twitter. You can reach him directly at dan.burton@gmail.com

  • JR.

    The supporters of abortion will use words like “fetus” and “undifferentiated cell cluster” to hide the true intent of their position. If they never call it a baby or a child, they don’t have to admit that they simply want to take a human life in order to avoid some type of inconvenience.

    There is a developmental continuum starting with fertilization and ending with decline and degradation and eventually death. There is nothing less human about the beginning of the continuum at fertilization than there is about childhood, adolescence, or old age. Humans have a God given right to life, and to artificially end that life is the same morally at the beginning, at the end, or anywhere in between.

    That isn’t to say that there are no circumstances under which taking a life is justified. I can think of three:

    1) Engaging a uniformed enemy in time of war.

    2) Punishment for a capital offense after due process and a trial.

    3) Self defense or defense of another from lethal threat or serious harm.

    Under which of the above circumstances does the abortion debate fall?

    Certainly, the unborn are incapable of engaging in armed conflict. They are not qualified to be called combatants, so option one would not fit.

    The unborn are incapable of committing a crime, much less a capital one. If you want to execute someone for rape, execute the rapist, not the innocent child. Option two is out.

    That leaves us with self defense. Is the abortion debate about saving the life of the mother? Is that the position of abortion advocates? I might be persuaded that there are rare circumstances that are 100% guaranteed to be fatal to the mother if her pregnancy were carried to term. I propose then, that if pregnancy itself is a danger to the life of the mothers in question, then they should have hysterectomies so as not to put themselves at risk again.

    As for the federal government’s involvement in the issue, I say they have no business saying yea or nay to any part of it. Where do they get the authority to legislate on abortion? Is it part of the power to coin money? Does it have something to do with establishing a post office? Is it part of the power to grant letters of marque? Unless one can point out in the Constitution the enumerated power to regulate the killing of the unborn, I remain convinced that the federal government should remain silent on the issue.

    The states, however, should act to ban abortion for what it is: murder. That’s the English word for the unjustified taking of a life. We should call abortion what it is and put an end to it.

    • http://publiusonline.com Daniel B.

      It’s true, JR, and I appreciate your comment. Murder should be under the purview of the states. However, given that federal law has required the states to allow abortion in certain circumstances, however immoral that law may be, I think it totally appropriate for federal power–and Senate oversight–to be levied to assure that what abortions occur do not violate the law. Further, the more that oversight shines a light on the practice, the more that Americans–as a nation–will see the very real monstrosity that abortion is and states, nationwide, will shift their laws as public opinion also shifts.

      SO–yes: criminal law is the purview of the states, but that does not obviate the possibility or opportunity to push back against this heinous act on a federal stage.

  • http://www.justiceforraymond.wordpress.com Ray’s Mom

    Oversight of abortion is important. Under the coroner rules, fetus autopsy in some cases is one of the duties of coroner or medical examiners. Coroners certainly should have been involved in these cases of a sudden death of a live birth.

    However, coroners and medical examiners are another selective prosecution department of justice where only the cases they care to prosecute or refer to a DA must interest them personally. Otherwise they can refuse information of their findings, alter autopsy reports to suit their own agenda. A recent report unveiled a law that was defeated by Governor Rendell’s veto that would have made autopsy reports PRIVATE. Even families could not access details as to how their loved one died.

    the web site, http://www.denied-justic.com lists many cases of coroner misconduct, unqualified coroner/medical examiners.

    Please help us in our effort to form an oversight committee of coroner’s and medical examiners.

    As a note: The National Association of Coroners regulate themselves, they create their own rules and have no public oversight. No local government, state or federal can regulate their activities that include stolen body parts that are sold on the black market.

    For more information please contact:
    Ray’s Mom: gmom2010@verizon.net

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