Gosnell is a teachable moment about access

The verdict is in on Kermit Gosnell, the back-alley butcher who preyed on poor women’s lack of access to affordable, safe abortions. Gosnell was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after giving a woman a fatal overdose of sedatives and pain killers as well as found guilty of first degree murder for three of four infant deaths.

While the anti-choice crowd has been quick to seize an opportunity to portray all clinics that provide abortions as similar to the “house of horrors” — blood and urine soaked floors, fetal remains stacked in freezers — found at Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic, we must remind them and the public how far that is from the truth. The truth is that Gosnell was a monster. He was the black market alternative to safe, legal health care — the very same that is getting farther and farther out of reach to women all across America thanks to hundreds of new laws, regulations, and bans that place an undue burden not only on the women who seek abortions but the doctors who provide them as well. NARAL lists 781 new laws designed to block access.

Courtesy of NARAL

If you are faced with the choice of taking time off work to do mandated but unnecessary ultrasounds, sit through waiting periods and mandated counseling lectures, after you’ve driven across state lines to the nearest provider … a ghoul like Gosnell starts to look like the only option. It seems like something out of a movie about terrible Third World conditions. But it’s happening right here in America, in the birthplace of America, no less.

We can do better. We must do better.

Let this be a teachable moment, America. Let this be the moment that you open your eyes and realize that shoving your so-called morality down people’s throats is hypocritical. You want to save people? Start by saving the women who you would rather force to have unwanted babies or, as we’ve seen in the Gosnell story, force them to make a deal with the devil.

This is the moment. Wake up.

And if you want to see less abortions, if you want them to become more rare — then start supporting comprehensive sex education. Anything less — you have blood on your hands.

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