“Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty and will get what he deserves. Now, let's make sure these women are vindicated by delivering what all women deserve: access to the full range of health services including safe, high-quality and legal abortion care.” -Ilyse G. Hogue, president, NARAL Pro-Choice AmericaKermit Gosnell has been found guilty in 237 of the charges brought against him, including 3 counts of first degree murder in the deaths of three newborns and involuntary manslaughter in the case of a woman killed by an overdose of anesthesia. Worse case scenario, he's facing the death penalty. Best case scenario, three life-time sentences. He is in his seventies so, either way, he will not be seeing the light of day ever again.
Full statement from Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, on the conviction of Kermit Gosnell:
“Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell today and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed. We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict. Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell.
“From the lack of funding available for low-income women to access abortion services, to the sharp decline of reputable providers in Pennsylvania, to the gross negligence of authorities to enforce the law after complaints were filed against Gosnell, each aspect of this case must be a teachable moment for lawmakers: until we reject the politicization of women's medical care and leave these decisions where they belong — between a woman and her family and her doctor — women will never be safe. The horrifying story of Kermit Gosnell is a peek into the world before Roe v. Wade made legal a woman's right to make her own choices.
“NARAL Pro-Choice America's annual Who Decides? publication has given Pennsylvania an ‘F’ grade precisely because it has passed medically unnecessary laws that restrict access to safe and legal abortion care. It is my sincere hope that the women in Gosnell's clinic did not suffer in vain and that Pennsylvania, and every state, will step up and join us in making the protection of women’s ability to get, safe, high quality, and legal abortion care a top priority.” - Taken from NARAL website
NARAL is taking the opportunity to decry the fact that these impoverished women could not have access to safe, legal abortion. Pro-lifers are hoping that this ruling marks a change in prevailing attitudes about abortion. I would like to take the opportunity to decry another set of circumstances.
The poverty rate in Philadelphia is 25.1. It has the highest rate of deep poverty of all of the top 10 most populous cities in the US. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men. The poverty rate for families with children is over 30 percent. That means one in three families with children in Philadelphia are impoverished. Half of all families led by women are in poverty. Very many women in Philadelphia live at, or below, or profoundly below the poverty line.
Abortion isn't going to help these women out of poverty. More educational opportunities, more jobs, more financial help will get these women out of poverty. Abortion is just fixing the immediate "problem" without really ending the cycle of poverty. These women don't need to end their pregnancies, they need a roof over their head and food to eat.
I hope that the Gosnell case can teach us that. Forget better access to abortion. That's just a Band-Aid on the gaping wound of deep poverty. These women should never have to chose between a job and a child, between an education and a child, between feeding herself and keeping a roof over her own head and a child.