Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor, is on trial for performing gruesome, illegal late-term abortions that led to the death of a woman and seven infants.
In Pennsylvania, abortions after 24 weeks of gestation are against the law. Gosnell regularly performed the procedure at 30 weeks of gestation or later.
Gosnell’s clinic has been labeled a “house of horrors” and is beyond sickening, no matter where you stand on the issue of abortion rights’ legality.
The case has already had a profound effect politically.
Anti-abortion advocates are using the high-profile case, which first made headlines in 2010, to boost support for new restrictions nationwide.
One of those is TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws imposing strict architectural standards on clinics that perform only first-trimester abortions.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, implied on Friday that TRAP laws are all directly inspired by the Kermit Gosnell case.
Dannenfelser said in a statement about Virginia’s new regulations:
“Since Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors’ clinic was discovered in 2010, several states have enacted measures to ensure women going into abortion facilities are treated with basic dignity and respect.”
Not surprisingly, the doctor has galvanized the pro-life movement with his misdeeds. The images (not shown here) from his trial are graphic and horrific.
But others, like Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, argue that abortion rights opponents are drawing the wrong lesson from the case.
Hogue argued that the TRAP regulations could shut down many safe and legal abortion clinics by requiring them to undergo cost-prohibitive renovations.
That, she said, could increase the chances of another Gosnell.
“Kermit Gosnell’s so-called clinic is a peek into the world before Roe v. Wade,” she said, “and this is exactly what our opponents are driving us to.”
Instead of encouraging more restrictions on rights, Hogue said the Gosnell trial should remind people of the need for safe and affordable abortion care:
“This is exactly what happens when you place undue restrictions and you try to shame women to keep them from exercising their constitutional right to safe and legal abortions.”
“You make them victims to people like Gosnell, because in desperation they’ll turn anywhere.”
“You want to drive people like Gosnell out of business? Then you actually support medical facilities and the right of women to safe and legal abortion.”