In the Gosnell media kerfuffle, the question is now "What did the media—including the allegedly conservative media—know, and when did they know it?" I'd like add "What don't they know even yet?"
I'm both late and early to this kerfuffle. Late because the media/Twitter fight has been going on for a couple of days, early because I did a comprehensive column on the subject in 2011, shortly after Michelle Malkin did hers.
Michelle's was called The Philadelphia Abortion Horror: How Mass Murder Gets a Pass. As usual we added links to any stories she quoted, and a link to the Grand Jury report(PDF)
Mine was called Black Alley Abortions: The Philadelphia Abortion Horror In Racial Context, and inluded a picture of Dr. Gosnell, who is black
A lot of the coverage of the media's lack of coverage has focused on the race of the victims, both the babies and the women—what Gosnell was running was a ghetto abortion mill, quite legal, and not inspected much by the medical authorities.
But what Gosnell did was not actually abortion, but murder, as Law Professor Ann Althouse points out:
By the way, why are we calling what he did "abortion"? Just as a matter of clarity in the language. The grand jury report says that his method of ridding women of their unwanted late-term pregnancies was to induce labor and deliver the child. That's not abortion. That's childbirth. We're not even in the gray area where a strange term like "partial-birth abortion" could be used. It was complete birth, followed by murder. Why don't abortion rights proponents come down hard on that distinction? He wasn't an abortionist (in most of these instances), but an obstetrician-murderer. If abortion rights proponents don't want to talk about that, I'd like to hear exactly why they have a problem.The answer is that Gosnell was not a good enough doctor to do proper late-term abortions—and the reasons for that have to do with affirmative action as it's applied to medical school. Here is the relevant section of my 2011 column:
It's also Gosnell's personal incompetence. You see, the problem seems to be that Dr. Gosnell, although in possession of an actual medical degree, from an actual medical school, couldn't perform a partial-birth abortion.So maybe it isn't about abortion, it's about affirmative action, as in the case of Dr. Patrick Chavis, the man who took Alan Bakke's place, also a really bad abortionist and worse liposuctionist. His license was revoked after he killed a liposuction patient.
The idea of a late-term abortion is to kill the baby (or fetus if you prefer) inside the mother's womb, and extract the remains—in pieces, if necessary.
It's done that way for legal reasons. If a fetus actually leaves the womb alive, it's not a fetus, it's a baby, under the protection of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. And what woman who actually wants an abortion wants is for that baby to be dead.
She also wants to avoid labor, which can easily take 24 hours. I presume many of the women who went to the clinic voluntarily assumed that abortion would be safer and less painful than delivering the baby.
They were wrong.
That late-term surgical procedure is something that requires a good surgeon, sterile instruments, careful anesthesia, and, in case something goes wrong, more surgeons and life-support down the hall.
All of that is what Gosnell didn't have—his clinic sounds like something you'd find in Haiti or Africa. And remember, the main thing he didn't have was the surgical skill—he couldn't do the procedure.
What he could do, however, was induce labor and deliver babies. Anyone can do that. I could do it myself. It's easy. (Yes, I know that women have always had to do the hard part.) Big cities teach taxi drivers the basics of delivering babies, and it's part of the education of Special Forces medics, who helped deliver babies in Vietnam under field conditions.
Dr. Gosnell would deliver these babies alive, and then kill them—with scissors—because that's all he knew how to do.
So congratulations to conservatives who've said that partial-birth abortion is evil, and murdering babies is eviller.
Now find me a conservative who's willing to say that black doctors are likely to be dangerous to your health, and i'll say he's brave.