Opinion: Columnists

Sunday Reflection: Op-Ed: Legal abortion is killing mothers, too

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Opinion,Columnists,Op-Eds,Abortion

In recent weeks, the abortion rights movement has been arguing that Kermit Gosnell is an example of what America would look like without Roe and that his very existence is actually the fault of pro-lifers who strive to pass waiting periods and informed consent legislation.

The truth is that Gosnell is only the tip of the iceberg. For decades, hospitals, health agencies and law enforcement authorities have been enablers of legal practitioners of abortion who injure or kill women.

The crimes sometimes get reported in local or city papers. In rare moments, a metro reporter for a major paper gets a piece in print.

Regardless, pro-choice politicians on both sides of the aisle do nothing to inspect or enforce standards, choosing instead to placate donors and their base.

Americans are learning of Kamamaya Mongar, the African refugee whose death in Gosnell's clinic Pennsylvania's health authorities ignored.

But you probably never heard of Sharon Hampton. She walked into A Lady's Choice Women's Medical Center in Moreno Valley, Calif. on December 13, 1996, and bled to death in her mother's car on the way home after her abortion.

The abortionist in her case, Dr. Bruce Steir, had already had complaints filed against him for puncturing a woman's uterus and causing three other women to have hysterectomies.

Prominent California abortion rights activists adamantly defended him at the time against criminal charges. Even after he went to prison for second-degree murder, the San Francisco Chronicle offered a glowing review of his self-pitying 2009 memoir.

California has a particularly egregious history of abortionists killing or injuring poor Latina women. In one case, a "forgotten file" by state licensing officials somehow missed the fact that a woman was so severely injured by an abortionist that her anatomy was "difficult to identify."

Perhaps if licensing officials had remembered the file, the same abortionist would not have killed another woman four years later.

None of California's pro-choice Democrat or Republican governors have ever done anything since these cases or others to increase basic health and safety checks or enforcement of the state's abortion facilities.

But let's not pick on California or Pennsylvania alone. The abortion industry in plenty of states knows that it does not face the basic health and safety inspections required of other medical professionals.

The problem of healthy pregnant woman walking in alive to a clinic and leaving dead can be found in many parts of the county.

Just ask the family of Tamika Dowdy, a 22-year-old woman who died in 1998 after an abortion performed at the Brooklyn Women's Medical Pavilion in New York.

The clinic waited hours after her abortion before finally calling paramedics and transporting her to Long Island College Hospital.

As the New York Post reported at the time (The New York Times did not touch the story), police officers involved tried to cover up the incident by omitting from their report that Dowdy had died following an abortion.

Have New York's pro-choice Republican and Democratic governors and mayors ever done anything to address the problem since? You can guess the answer.

The problem continues unabated. Maryland abortionist Dr. Leroy Carhart -- winner of NARAL's Hero award -- recently killed a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher during an abortion at Germantown Reproductive Health Services clinic in Germantown, Md.

Just north, a Delaware Planned Parenthood is facing allegations of dangerous and unsanitary conditions. As a former clinic employee told a local ABC affiliate in nearby Philadelphia, "It was just unsafe. I couldn't tell you how ridiculously unsafe it was."

Prior to Gosnell, the Delaware clinic would probably have faced no scrutiny at all. It would have been business as usual.

These incidents only scratch the surface of the number of women whose deaths or injuries politicians and national media have ignored through the years.

The national indifference to the killings of pregnant women by abortionists validates a common saying in the pro-life community -- "Roe v. Wade gave the back alley a front-door sign."

Elise Ehrhard is a former editor of the American Feminist, the quarterly publication of Feminists for Life of America.

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