What about Illinois' abortion clinics? Are they safe?

The shocking "complete regulatory collapse" that allowed Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell to literally get away with murder raises a critical question: Are there any Dr. Gosnells in Illinois. 

According to a grand jury indictment as described by Medscape Today, Gosnell illegally aborted third-trimester fetuses, severed the spinal cords of babies aborted alive with scissors, and left a trail of injured and dead female patients in his wake over several decades. 


The Pennsylvania grand jury, which released its findings last week, said it was shocked not only by the medical "mayhem" of Dr. Gosnell but also by a pattern of "official neglect" that extended from the state medical board to physicians at Philadelphia hospitals who treated his patients for perforated bowels and uteruses. Plenty of agencies and individuals saw numerous signs of something gone terribly wrong but failed to intervene.

"Had state and local officials performed their duties properly, Dr. Gosnell's clinic would have been shut down decades ago," the report stated.

The extensive reporting by Medscape, the Associated Press and countless others reveals shoddy regulation for more than a decade. Pro-choice groups naturally blamed pro-lifers, arguing that the women had no choice but to go to such a clinic because government-funded "terminations" were not available at safe clinics.

Let this not go unchallenged. For years, the assumption in the abortion industry that it wanted the public to swallow was that licensed clinics were safe. Underlying such a claim was the belief that all doctors providing abortions were good guys, not in it for the money. Any suggestion that they might need policing was regarded as offensive, even evidence of misogyny. 

I am reminded, as I occasionally remind my readers, of the Chicago Sun-Times "Abortion Profiteers" series in 1978 that turned up horrid conditions at some Chicago abortion clinics. These weren't problems at some sleazy operation in the shadows, but at clinics that were operating in full daylight along Chicago's "Magnificent Mile," Michigan Ave. These "reputable" places were investigated by a reporting team headed by Pan Zekman, now with CBS2 News in Chicago, and the Better Government Association.

Abortions done on women who weren't pregnant, in unsterile conditions, by incompetent providers, dangerously shoddy record keeping, hurry-up procedures and absent follow-ups were among the problems discovered by the team.

One would have thought that such findings surely would have spurred the abortion industry to better self-regulation, at the least, or toughed state laws and inspections. The Legislature indeed passed some laws, but they were challenged in court by a Rockford abortionist. Abortion radicals argued that the state shouldn't even have the power to prescribe how wide doorways should be in abortion clinics so that gurneys could take women injured in the procedure to the ER. Finally, compromises were reached and clinics here are under regulation of the state Department of Health.

After three decades of regulation, is anyone checking to see how effective it is? As a former reporter I know that a case like that in Philadelphia would have set off alarms in the city's newsrooms. It would have moved city editors to order up an investigation. Maybe they have already, and it's just too soon to see the results. (Of course, complaints by pro-life groups of horrible conditions at some clinics have been ignored.)

Or, perhaps, today's media aren't what they used to be and just want to ignore the whole thing. 


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  • I don't want to get into the abortion stew, per se, but

    (1) In that there was a grand jury indictment, the law was doing something.

    (2) If there is any regulation of doctors at all, and especially for malpractice, it is hard to see. Take the Illinois "malpractice reform act" [sic] which was drafted to make sure that it would be ruled unconstitutional, and had a nonseverability clause. Six months later the Tribune discovers that that was so the doctor database required by that bill would be taken down.

    Which takes us to...

    (3) "Or, perhaps, today's media aren't what they used to be and just want to ignore the whole thing."

    As I frequently point out, yesterday with respect to coverage of the mayor's race, for instance, that goes without saying. Zeckman may drive some viewers to Channel 2.1, Chuck Gowdy to 7.1, etc., but none is going to drive it to newspapers, except maybe to the Sun-Times, which occasionally finds an example of apparent conflict of interest. That's why newspapers rely on wimpy problem solvers, the one at the Tribune being unable to resolve a complaint against the Tribune. It took Feder (now a blogger) to uncover the real mess at the Tribune under Zell ownership, as well as a bankruptcy examiner.

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