Statement on the Arrest of Dr. Gosnell
ACN Director Charlotte Taft comments on the Jan. 19th arrest of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, an abortion provider in Philadelphia PA.
The Abortion Care Network is a 501(c)(3) membership organization representing Independent Abortion Providers and Allies. For decades our members have sought to provide the best and safest abortion and reproductive health services to the women of our communities.
There is no justification for substandard medical care for the women of this nation. The allegations against Dr. Gosnell and his staff are truly heinous. We are deeply saddened that our society has created an environment where women must make decisions about their health care based on cost, not quality of care. Until all reproductive health care and abortion services are accessible to all who need them, women will continue to be vulnerable to exploitation and harm by those who offer substandard care. Every day our member clinics receive calls from thousands of women seeking financial help and referrals to safe, legal providers to obtain the abortion services they need.
We must acknowledge that current public policy has helped to create this environment— from the refusal to repeal the Hyde Amendment to the reproductive health care restrictions in the recent health care reform Act— our politicians are failing the most vulnerable women in our society. They have the power to transform the experience of millions of women by making birth control and abortion services more accessible through insurance coverage.
It is obvious that there were concerns regarding Dr. Gosnell’s medical practice over the course of two decades and officials never took action. Pennsylvania is infamous for having some of the very first, and strictest, laws controlling access to abortion in the United States. What this case shows us is that these very strict laws limiting women and girls' safe access to essential health care did nothing to ensure the safety and health of the most needy of our community.
In a nation where more than 1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in her life, the culture of silent shame that surrounds the decision to end a pregnancy allows those who would provide poor quality and sometimes dangerous care to thrive. As a nation, we must address the stigma that surrounds abortion and support women and families as they make these complex decisions for their lives, health and families.
Charlotte Taft, Director