As disgraced abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder on Monday afternoon, pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike could agree on one thing: justice was served to this cold-blooded baby-killer.
"But, Christine," you might ask, "doesn't this undermine what pro-choicers like yourself stand for? Are you saying you're pro-life now that this court proved that abortion was murder in this case?"
Inquiring citizen, the answer is no. In the wake of this horrifying case, the pro-choicer, the "leftist," the outspoken advocate for reproductive rights in me, interprets Gosnell's "house of horrors" a little differently than pro-life activists. I do not see this as absolute reason for abortion to be made illegal. I do not believe in the slightest that one's access to the procedure should be limited now that this awful doctor has been found guilty of murdering infants.
Here's the hard truth: Restricted access to abortion, especially among the lower-class individuals upon which he preyed, is exactly why Gosnell was able to do what he did. You know those unsafe, "back-alley abortions" that pro-choicers warn will occur in staggering numbers if abortion is made illegal? Kermit Gosnell is that back-alley abortion provider, in a state where abortion is legal, but where one's ability to receive one is stymied — especially if one is poor.
While safe and legal abortion procedures in the United States result in only 0.6 deaths per 100,000 procedures — which is almost 22 times safer than childbirth — unsafe procedures plague nearly half the world (98% of which occur in developing countries) in places where where abortion is vastly illegal. In countries without legal access to abortion, the rate of people seeking the procedure is also higher than countries where it is legal.
After all this, here's the big question: What is the ultimate goal for those who want abortion to be totally illegal? Because if it's the absolute eradication of all abortions, then these people really need to re-think their stance. Maybe they just think that if it's illegal, then they don't have to worry about scumbag Planned Parenthood murdering babies anymore. Perhaps phasing out one of the top providers of contraception — which decreases unintended pregnancies, which, surprise, lowers the need for abortions — is enough for them to be able to sleep at night.
Pro-choicers aren't here to rip your gestating fetus from your womb and call it okay because we believe in the right to safe abortion access. We're not even here to persuade every pregnant person to get an abortion just because they can. No, the pro-choice movement exists to ensure that the Kermit Gosnells of the world cannot practice evil because those seeking the procedure have nowhere else to go. But when between 10 and 50% of unsafe abortions require immediate medical assistance, and those in peril again have nowhere to go in fear that they will be prosecuted for receiving an abortion at all, that is our rallying cry.
The pro-choice movement wouldn't mind if the need for abortions decreased to zero. That's not where we get our momentum. Our driving force is that there is, right now, a demand for a necessary medical procedure — and unfortunately, politicians are trying to restrict access to this procedure because they believe a fetus' right to life is greater than the person's who is right in front of them pleading for medical attention.
I hope Kermit Gosnell rots in prison. I hope the rest of his life is even more miserable than the women whose lives he ruined. But, most of all, I hope that the world can learn from this harrowing state of affairs and finally realize that there are people just like this deplorable doctor around the world who do what he did everyday. And, given the chance, they will come out in force if access to safe abortions continues to decline.