Kermit Gosnell Is No Excuse to Close Abortion Clinics

| Reproaction

By: Erin Matson

Below is testimony our co-director Erin Matson gave at the Virginia Board of Health meeting on September 15.

My name is Erin Matson and I live in Arlington. I am co-founder of Reproaction, and led a national, research-driven Who Is Closing Abortion Clinics? campaign exposing the lie that unconstitutional abortion clinic shutdown restrictions promote women’s health and safety. We showed they are designed to block access to abortion.

In our comprehensive analysis of the faulty and unfounded health and safety claims made for sham restrictions, the case of Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania emerges as one of the most frequent sources of distortion and deception. This is true in Virginia. On its website alone, The Family Foundation has 38 pages linking Gosnell to our unconstitutional abortion clinic closure restrictions, invoking his name a total of 102 times.

Let me be clear: Kermit Gosnell is a monster who preyed upon poor women with fewer options. What he did has no comparison to the practices of the abortion provider community. But let me also be clear: Forcing abortion clinics to close in Gosnell’s name cuts off access to compassionate, medically appropriate abortion care, which only empowers bad actors.

In a concurring opinion on Whole Woman’s Health, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, “Gosnell’s behavior was terribly wrong. But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing statutes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations.”

Abortion is overwhelmingly safe. According to the CDC, less than 0.3% of abortion patients in the U.S. experience a complication that requires hospitalization. There is no evidence that laws that unfairly single out abortion providers do anything but force abortion clinics to close.

Last week Reproaction attended a preview of a film about Gosnell that is designed to blur his crimes with compassionate, reputable abortion providers. At the Q&A after, the film’s producer explained her anti-abortion activism and bragged (quote), “I have no problem with Gosnell.”

Gosnell is being used to eliminate access to abortion – and those using him have no problem if women are harmed along the way. Facts matter. Act now to keep clinics open for true health and safety.

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