Kirsten Powers talks to 20-year-old Desiree Hawkins, who went to Kermit Gosnell and got a visit from a DEA agent after to inform her that one of the severed feet found in a jar in Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic belonged to her baby.
When she was 16, Hawkins sought an abortion at a National Abortion Federation-certified abortion clinic, Hagerstown (Md.) Reproductive Health Services. The clinic told her she was 19 weeks pregnant and referred her to Gosnell. When she recently retrieved her file in anticipation of testifying, she was shocked that her sonogram showed she had in fact been at 21 weeks, which meant she would have been 23 weeks pregnant by the time Gosnell performed the abortion. “I was so overwhelmed and hurt,” said Hawkins. “If I had known I was 23 weeks, I would have (chosen) adoption.”
She also would have avoided the trauma visited upon her by Gosnell. Hawkins described the licensed medical professional as laughing at her during the procedure as she cried and begged him to stop because of the pain. “Stop being a baby,” he said.
Hawkins experienced betrayal anew when she read the grand jury report replete with testimony of government officials admitting they ignored repeated complaintsabout Gosnell because they didn’t want to limit access to abortion.
After running through a list of clinics recently shut down or reported to have unsafe conditions and criminal activity on site, Powers writes:
Such problems wouldn’t be a shock to Pennsylvania state Rep. Margo Davidson, the only member of the Democratic black caucus to vote for the abortion-regulation bill passed there. She told me, “We don’t know how many (Gosnells) there are. I’m not trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, but if a woman makes this difficult choice, she should at least be afforded the highest level of care.” She said the choice community knew what was going on and did nothing.
Indeed, the grand jury found that the National Abortion Federation inspected Gosnell’s clinic, refused to certify him, but didn’t tell anyone. Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood representative Dayle Steinberg has admitted that its officials knew the clinic was unsafe after women complained. What did they do? “We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health.”
Davidson concluded that for the choice community, “the institution was more important than the individual lives.” Davidson knows firsthand what can happen when people choose to look the other way: Her 22-year-old cousin died after an abortion at Gosnell’s clinic.
This is inhumane. But is it surprising that violence — and violence against children – would reap more violence? Can we at least begin by saying Desiree Hawkins shouldn’t have wound up at Gosnell’s clinic? Her child could be alive today instead of aborted and dismembered, left as evidence in a court case. She would have opted for adoption! How about agreeing on some informed-consent legislation? Something like the Signs of Hope Act in Louisiana.
We must do better than this.