Pull the curtains back a little more from this carefully orchestrated bit of political theater and it’s easy to see that Baker isn’t working for women; he’s working for the Christian right. He just thinks we’re too dumb to realize it.
Baker didn’t respond to PW’s request for comment except to write, “I believe we are close to having an agreement by the Chambers and the Governor soon.”
Expanded hallways and new elevators at abortion clinics will not improve the health of women in Pennsylvania. Nor will legislators conjuring images of murdered babies and women distract from the fact that the Gosnell tragedy happened because of a failure of government, not a failure of law.
Abortion clinics in Pennsylvania are already heavily regulated. Those with labs on site—most do—must be inspected under the federal Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments. Abortion providers performing 100 or more procedures a year must be registered with Patient Safety Authority and comply with MCARE Act, which requires inspections. Abortions in Pennsylvania can only be performed by licensed physicians, regulated by the state’s Board of Medicine.
On top of that, there are the additional regulations Corbett implemented right after the grand jury report on Gosnell was released.
Yet, if SB 732 passes both chambers, Corbett is expected to sign the bill into law. Then, the relatively few clinics left in Pennsylvania (only 10 of our 67 counties currently have an abortion provider, according to the DoH) will likely close.
Experts are estimating if that happens, the cost of an early stage abortion will jump from approximately $350 to more than $1,000.
Calling SB 732 a “back-door ban” on abortion is no exaggeration. While middle-class women will be able to travel as far and pay as much as necessary to obtain an abortion, as usual, poor women will be disproportionately affected by the lopsided health care.
According to the grand jury report, Gosnell saw mostly poor patients from his neighborhood. Given the dire conditions of the clinic, presumably, these women didn’t know where else to go.
Baker and proponents of SB 732 are exploiting murder and the physical suffering of poor women in order to float a law that will make it harder for them to find access to safe abortion and health-care services.
While not everyone may agree on the morality of abortion—a legal, regulated medical procedure—we can all agree that the disingenuousness of this rhetoric is low and that targeting poor women is even lower. With a hat tip to Steve Lopez, it’s frightening to think about just how shameless this state can get.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia physician charged with murdering babies for decades, worked uninterrupted in a wide-open darkness of institutional failure. And a year-long investigation reveals how he got away with it for so long.
A timeline of events in the case against Dr. Kermit Gosnell.