The Corner

Government as Accomplice to Murder

The Gosnell trial is winding down, and the pro-abortion crowd’s line seems to be that yes, this guy was an unfortunate outlier but he’s of no broader significance. This conveniently overlooks the fact that he couldn’t have done what he did without the assistance of government. Gosnell’s “clinic” went uninspected for 17 years — that’s to say, before many of its “women” patients were born. I think of all the stupid, pointless, time-consuming regulation my own little business is subject to, and how easy it would be to avoid it all if I’d just opened a “women’s health clinic” in Pennsylvania. The Pundette quotes from the grand jury report and wonders whether all these named individuals are still employed as “public servants”:

Worth special mention is Janice Staloski of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, who personally participated in the 1992 site visit, but decided to let Gosnell slide on the violations that were already evident then. She eventually rose to become director of the division that was supposed to regulate abortion providers, but never looked at Gosnell despite specific complaints from lawyers, a doctor, and a medical examiner. After she was nonetheless promoted, her successor as division director, Cynthia Boyne, failed to order an investigation of the clinic even when Karnamaya Mongar died there. Senior legal counsel Kenneth Brody insisted that the department had no legal obligation to monitor abortion clinics, even though it exercised such a duty until the Ridge administration, and exercised it again as soon as Gosnell became big news. The agency’s head lawyer, chief counsel Christine Dutton, defended the department’s indifference: “People die,” she said.

But they shouldn’t have to die the way Mrs. Mongar, a woman from Nepal, did:

After several hours, Mrs. Mongar simply stopped breathing. When employees finally noticed, Gosnell was called in and briefly attempted to give CPR. He couldn’t use the defibrillator (it was broken); nor did he administer emergency medications that might have restarted her heart. After further crucial delay, paramedics finally arrived, but Mrs. Mongar was probably brain dead before they were even called. In the meantime, the clinic staff hooked up machinery and rearranged her body to make it look like they had been in the midst of a routine, safe abortion procedure.

Did the death of Mrs. Mongar merit an on-site inspection? Perish the thought:

Staloski, according to Boyne, was only interested in making sure that Gosnell filed an on-line report in accordance with a 2002 law, the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act. That law requires health care facilities to report serious events, including deaths to DOH. 40 P.S. §313.

Staloski’s plan, Boyne said, was to then charge Gosnell with failing to file the report in a timely and proper manner. This is absurd, and Boyne should not have accepted

such a ridiculous idea.

Ah, but everyone did. In her entire career as Pennsylvania’s head honcho on abortion, Jan Staloski never ordered a single inspection of a clinic. She lays the blame on a “pro-choice” Republican governor:

Staloski said that DOH’s policy during Governor Ridge’s administration was motivated by a desire not to be “putting a barrier up  to women” seeking abortions.

So Tom Ridge got a better press than Rick Santorum, and in return there were no barriers between Kermit Gosnell and the women he butchered. Funniest line in the grand-jury report:

Pennsylvania is not a Third World country.

You could ask the Nepalese lady about that. But she’s dead.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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