Monday State Senator Wendy Davis made an appearance at the National Press Club. After the official Q&A was over, reporter John McCormack at the Weekly Standard asked Davis to explain the difference between the late term abortions she supports and the ones for which Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder in Pennsylvania. Davis’ responded “I don’t know what happened in the Gosnell case. But I do know that it
happened in an ambulatory surgical center.”
Davis’ claim that she is unfamiliar with the Gosnell case is stunning in itself given that it was the inspiration for changes in the law in several states, including the one Davis filibustered in Texas (it has since become law). But putting that aside, the one fact Davis does claim to know about the case is not true. Gosnell’s clinic was a de facto ambulatory surgical center under the definition set out in Pennsylvania law but it was not regulated as one. In fact, Gosnell’s clinic, like every other abortion clinic in Pennsylvania, was barely regulated at all.
The Gosnell grand jury report makes clear that the state Department of Health is responsible for the regulation of ambulatory surgical centers and that the state’s abortion clinics clearly fall under those regulations. However, the state abandoned its duty to regulate abortion clinics because, just like Wendy Davis, pro-choice Gov. Tom Ridge was concerned about creating barriers to abortion access.
As a result of the influence of pro-choice politics, DOH lawyers came up with a novel interpretation of the regulations which ignored abortion clinics, only requiring they submit a single sheet of paper with their name and address and a few other details to remain in the state’s good favor.
The Gosnell grand jury was so curious about how this happened that it called several DOH attorneys to testify about how it happened. What they concluded is stated plainly in the grand jury report:
It was clear to us after hearing these witnesses testify that the
decisions not to inspect abortion clinics or to license them as ASFs
were not based on any serious interpretation of statutes or legal
research. These lawyers were simply twisting and reinterpreting the law
to explain policy decisions that changed with administrations, even
though the laws did not.
The grand jury report also makes clear that failure to regulate (and thus to inspect) these clinics contributed directly and indirectly to the deaths of women and infants in Gosnell’s clinic. Indirectly because, had they been inspected annually as required by law, Gosnell’s clinic would have been shut down or cleaned up much sooner.
But the failure to regulate clinics as ASFs also contributed directly to the death of Karnamaya Mongar. This fact was not tucked away in a footnote. The following appears on page 8 of the report:
There might have been some slim hope of reviving Mrs. Mongar. The
paramedics were able to generate a weak pulse. But, because of the
cluttered hallways and the padlocked emergency door, it took them over
twenty minutes just to find a way to get her out of the building.
That’s after the misuse of sedation drugs which led to Mongar’s death. The grand jury report notes that the DOH has three pages of regulations dealing with the use of sedation alone, but those regulations were not enforced at Gosnell’s clinic because of concerns about “access” to abortion.
Once again, Wendy Davis pink shoes came up Monday. It is probably only a matter of time before the Smithsonian asks for them. But while the media continues it’s softball hagiography of Davis, it only took one tough question from one reporter not under he spell to demonstrate that she either does not know what she is talking about or does know and chose to lie about it.