Friday, January 21, 2011

PZ Myers has it right about the Dr. Kermit Gosnell case

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Dr. Kermit Gosnell
Dr. Kermit Gosnell

When I first heard about the gruesome affair of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the abortion “doctor” who operated a horrific abortion mill in Philadelphia, PA, my first thought – after the natural revulsion and sadness at the harm he’s caused, of course – was about how long it would (or wouldn’t) take before the the fervently irrational anti-abortionist legion seized the story as another opportunity to claim that all “abortionists” are supporters of child-killing and so on and so forth, as such vultures are apt to do. Naturally, I wasn’t disappointed.

I also wasn’t disappointed in PZ Myers’ response, though. He’s got another dead-on post explaining just why the ghoulish Dr. Gosnell has nothing to do with the pro-choice movement and how his brand of hack-and-slash “medicine” is exactly what pro-choicers fight against:

Gosnell is precisely the kind of butcher the pro-choice movement opposes. No one endorses bad medicine and unrestricted, unregulated, cowboy surgery like Gosnell practiced — what he represents is the kind of back-alley deadly hackery that the anti-choice movement would have as the only possible recourse, if they had their way. If anything, the Gosnell case is an argument for legal abortion.

That last bit is particularly poignant. Anti-abortionists like to live in a fantasy world where criminalizing abortion would simply stop women from terminating their pregnancies, something that anyone with a shred of common sense will tell you is utterly delusional. If the anti-choice zealots had their way and trained and carefully regulated abortion providers were outlawed, all that would be left for women in dire need of terminating their pregnancy would be any random back-alley dweller with a hacksaw. The result would be safe abortions going down, but gruesome butchery and crippled, sterile or dead women skyrocketing by the thousands.

What pro-choicers want is safe abortions for needy women. We don’t encourage women to terminate pregnancies willy-nilly, contrary to what the obtuse anti-choicers love to believe. (That’s why the term “pro-abortion” is simply wrong.) Conversely, what the so-called “pro-lifers” want is to get rid of any safe recourse these women may have, forcing them to either seek out less-than-qualified pseudo-physicians in unsafe settings, or worse yet, leaving them no choice but to do it themselves.

What this story is is not an example of what’s wrong with abortion and those who support women’s reproductive rights; instead, it’s yet another case showing that pro-choice is, in fact, the real pro-life, and that anti-abortionists are anything but, caring far more about the lives and well-being of unfeeling and unthinking blobs of cells than the grown women who bear them and must, at times, get rid of them.