Nightmare on 3801 Lancaster

It shouldn’t take the Gosnell abortion clinic catastrophe to open our eyes

Jars of baby feet and fetal remains.

Bloodstained walls, sheets and women lying half lifeless in chairs.

Babies born, crying with life, then scissors to their necks, severing their spinal cords. Some die immediately. For others it is slower, and they twitch about. A woman, strapped to a bed, cries out that she wants to keep her baby. But a monster calls her the baby, and she is outnumbered by staff who proceed.

She wakes up groggy but knows her baby is no longer with her. She weeps and asks to hold her child. But no one answers. They all ignore her.

Does this sound like something out of a horror movie?

It’s not. It’s real. It is the story of Kermit Gosnell and his abortion clinic in Philadelphia, Pa. on 3801 Lancaster Avenue. The documentary “3801 Lancaster” reveals the truth behind this nightmare.

For those of you not familiar with this story, Gosnell’s clinic was up and running for many years. In fact, the last time a representative from the state department of health had inspected the clinic was 1993.

Gosnell primarily performed late term abortions, in which the fetus is often viable. Various atrocities took place at Gosnell’s far below par facility, including one woman suffering a perforated uterus in 1996, another dying after an abortion in 2002, and another dead in 2009. One died because a general office worker started her anesthesia, and she suffered a lethal overdose. The health department was notified of all these incidents,

Not once did they investigate.

In addition to these heinous crimes, seven infants experienced Gosnell’s horrific snipping procedure, live babies murdered.

As I type I feel my stomach churn, but I try to keep my words lucid and composed. I don’t know what infuriates me the most: The obscenities that occurred at this terrible excuse for a medical facility by this man and the irresponsible workers below him, the utter negligence of those who are supposed to protect our health and communities from these kinds of atrocities, or the fact that it takes an event like this for people to realize the horror of abortion, for mothers and babies. There are those who will call this case murderous, but still justify the killing of a human baby as long as it’s not viable. We demand rights for diverse sexualities and genders and ethnicities and races and classes. Yet we fail to give the most basic right of life to the innocent who cannot speak up for themselves.

One woman had eight abortions by Gosnell in 14 years, and when she returned after her first, one of the workers explained how perfectly normal abortion is. For every abortion after, she viewed it as a form of birth control. Reflecting in the documentary, she says she doesn’t know what she was thinking, as she weeps bitterly.

Ferris women, this is you. You are those at risk. If this heartbreaking story doesn’t change your views of abortion for the horrendous act that it is (and as polar as the issue of abortion is, I doubt it will), at least become an advocate for your health and the health of others by speaking up in the face of medical atrocities and become a proponent for quality care. Those that are pro-choice argue the importance of this platform on giving women control. Control of their lives and their bodies. But women, when you let your body into the hands of a monster like Gosnell, or anyone who will take that life from you or put your life at risk, you relinquish control.

My colleagues, my fellow students who have undergone abortions—I don’t condemn you. I can’t imagine the emotional toil, the pain and the pressure of knowing the responsibility of a child—it’s impact on your hopes and dreams or the pain of carrying the child of rape. I can’t think of anyone who likes abortion. But don’t let people desensitize you to it. Using protection if sex is your choice or making the choice with your body to sustain a life if you do become pregnant is giving you more power and control than you could ever have in the hands of someone who will take that new life away.

One point made in the documentary addressed the prevalence of abortion clinics in inner-cities, African American communities, and minority communities, targeting those already oppressed. They offer their services as if they are the only choice. They aren’t. You have options. The road won’t be easy choosing life, but neither will choosing abortion. Make the choice that saves lives and promotes health for all.

  • Guelettis

    As an individual that believes in pro-choice rights, let me state the following:
    “We hate him just as much as you do.”

  • liberalbabe

    I’m pro-choice, as well. For a long time, I’ve been privy to the fact that what we need for ALL women is universal access to birth control. Sex is unavoidable (and/or desirable) for most, so until the pro-life campaign can fully convince the general public that they should abstain from their natural urges thoroughly enough to prevent all pregnancies, bc needs to be readily available to all women (for little to no cost) through health clinics everywhere.
    And yes, it’s true, “We hate him just as much as you do.”

    • Rachel

      Your comment is true about birth control. I am pro-life but have absolutely no problem with birth control and oral contraceptives and think responsible sex needs to be happening. I don’t know if you imply that those who are pro-life are against birth control and all hold abstinence only platforms, but this is not the case. It’s been proven that abstinence only education is ineffective, but I digress, as that could be another opinion in it’s entirety. Birth control does need to be available for women, so that “birth control” via abortion is not the choice, or the way I view it, murder.

      I recognize that there is no one (expect perhaps sickos such as Gosnell himself) who likes abortion. It’s simply a matter of where you stand and whose/which rights you support more–the right to life of an infant who cannot speak for him/herself, or the right for a mother to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or end it.

      Truly, the lesson from this horror story is that we need to be advocates for better health all around and not turn a blind eye to medical atrocities such as this. But, as a pro-life advocate, I cannot ignore my outrage at the fact that it takes late term killing of babies to make people infuriated, as if somehow before 24 weeks these infants are not human, not worthy of life or defending.

      Regardless of stance, pro-life or pro-choice, we do need to work together to provide education and contraceptives to women, and look past our differences to be proponents of health for all and save lives, as my colleague Jax wrote about. Maybe then abortion will not even be an question (in a perfect world of course), though I wish it wasn’t now.

      Thank you both for you comments; you make good points in reminding both sides of the issue that abortion is not preferable (though from my view point, is not even acceptable) and that there are clearly failures in the system that need to be addressed.