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April 12, 2013 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Haven't heard about these sickening accusations? It's not your fault. "Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell's former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart." Slate's David Weigel elucidates:

"Let's just state the obvious: National political reporters are, by and large, socially liberal. We are more likely to know a gay couple than to know someone who owns an "assault weapon." We are, generally, pro-choice. Twice, in D.C., I've caused a friend to literally leave a conversation and freeze me out for a day or so because I suggested that the Stupak Amendment and the Hyde Amendment made sense. There is a bubble. Horror stories of abortionists are less likely to permeate that bubble than, say, a story about a right-wing pundit attacking an abortionist who then claims to have gotten death threats."

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf weighs in. Grand jury's January 2011 report is here. (warning: the preceding two links are graphic)
posted by Tanizaki (7 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This appears to be a thoroughly-debunked angle on a super inflammatory topic, and as such isn't really an awesome post. -- restless_nomad

I think Slate is way off attacking liberals here. Gosnell is not an abortion doctor, he's a murderer. There are some crimes that are so horrific that they are not covered with widespread media because people will not read them.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:40 PM on April 12, 2013

Katha Pollit on February 14:

Blood-spattered floors. Cat feces. Broken equipment. A 15-year-old giving anesthesia. Two women dead, countless more maimed and injured. Third-trimester fetuses delivered alive whose spines were then severed by the doctor. This was the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia. This is what illegal abortion looks like.

If this story isn't being covered enough, it's not that feminist writers don't care. It's that we know that, having created the conditions that led to this brutality, pro-lifers have every intention of blaming anyone fighting for the right to safe abortion for the existence of unsafe abortion.

This is what it looked like pre-Roe. This is what it looks like now for the poorest women, caught in the intersection of TRAP laws, bans on funding, corrupt and indifferent safety regulators, and violent terrorist attacks on clinics. This is what it will look like for everyone but the rich if Roe is struck down.
posted by emjaybee at 12:44 PM on April 12, 2013 [14 favorites]

I like PZ Myer's perspective on the story:
I suspect that part of the abortion football game was the fact that women who were desperate, who knew they were stretching the boundaries of legality and convention, were unlikely to complain to the authorities about a clinic that was delivering services (incompetently and often fatally) that they needed. Gosnell was living high on the absence of clean, licensed, professional women’s medical services in many parts of the region — he could get by with criminally substandard treatment because our government has been actively destroying the ethical and competent competition.
posted by TedW at 12:44 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

I am, admittedly, in the Philadelphia area, but the idea that this was covered up is laughable. Salon has a good piece with an excellent round up of reporting that covered this story before right started tuning in for the trial portion.
I can’t speak for big news organizations like CNN and the networks, but let’s think about this question another way: How often do such places devote their energies to covering the massive health disparities and poor outcomes that are wrought by our current system? How often are the travails of the women whose vulnerabilities Gosnell exploited — the poor, immigrants and otherwise marginalized people — given wall-to-wall, trial-level coverage? If you’re surprised that in the face of politicized stigma, lack of public funding or good information, and a morass of restrictive laws allegedly meant to protect women, the vacuum was filled by a monster — well, the most generous thing I can say is that you haven’t been paying attention.
posted by gladly at 12:45 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

killing the infants one second after they left the womb instead of partially inside or completely inside the womb — as in a routine late-term abortion — is merely a matter of geography.

No loaded language there at all. No siree. Overton window much?
posted by lalochezia at 12:45 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Worth noting:
If you've never heard of the Gosnell story, it's not because of a coverup by the liberal mainstream media. It's probably because you failed to pay attention to the copious coverage among pro-choice and feminist journalists, as well as the big news organizations, when the news first broke in 2011. There would be something rich, if it weren't so infuriating, about these (almost uniformly male, as it happens) reporters and commentators scrambling to break open this shocking untold story. You know, the one that was written about here, here and here, to name some disparate sources.
From Salon.
posted by rewil at 12:45 PM on April 12, 2013 [9 favorites]

Irin Carmen debunks this:


Something tells me there's a high overlap between the male columnists expressing surprised and the ones who periodically wonder why there aren't more female writers.
posted by adamsc at 12:45 PM on April 12, 2013 [5 favorites]

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