Regulations for me but not for thee.

A large percentage of abortion clinics in the United States are located in minority neighborhoods. My diagnostic radiology practice is too. Most of our receptionists and technicians are bilingual, although we have some that only speak Spanish. Many of us speak basic Creole, enough not only to communicate instructions, but also to elicit a happy smile from our Haitian patients who are made to feel at home. 

Abortion is not only lucrative and a necessity to a culture dedicated to sexual liberation, but it is also used by racists to eliminate children of color.

- Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie

The government's eagle eye is trained on us with oppressive attention. We have regulations that determine the most minute details of our practice. From the signs in the corridors, to the special phone for the hearing impaired, to our countless written protocols for every possible adverse event, to our strict privacy and reporting rules, every little detail is determined by a host of regulations from on high. We have a full time employee just to make sure we are in compliance with state and federal guidelines. We tremble in fear when we get news of a visit from Medicare or from the state health care administration. One tiny infraction and we could be closed down.

So it is with special horror that I read about the trial of Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist in Pennsylvania who is accused of running a virtual torture chamber for years in Philadelphia. The grand jury reports years of the illegal delivery of live babies, subsequently murdered, and terrible injuries to countless women, at least two of whom died as a consequence. When the FBI finally raided the “Women’s Medical Society”, they found a filthy facility where “semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff.” At least 10 to 20 percent of the abortions he performed were entirely illegal, because Pennsylvania law prohibits aborting babies after 24 weeks of gestation. These babies were often born alive, and then killed by cutting the spinal cord with scissors.

This facility was technically under the same burden of regulations that burden mine. Both facilities are medical practices, where the very life and well-being of each patient is at some risk during each procedure. Both facilities cater or catered to a primarily minority population. But there the similarities end.

The many oversight agencies that would shut me down in an instant if our crash cart was missing even one life support medication gave this grisly clinic a pass for years. The grand jury report tells us that the Pennsylvania Department of Health gave approval to the clinic in 1979 and conducted its next site review ten years later. Several violations turned up, but Gosnell was allowed to stay open, as he promised to fix them. In 1993, “the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all.” Even the death of one of Gosnell's patients during a late term abortion did not prompt a review of the facility.

What was it that caused the Department of Health to give this clinic a pass? The grand jury report speculates: “We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.”  

Being a minority woman, I am afraid that there is something that ugly behind the years of silence and tacit permission. You see, I know from personal experience that the state has not only the ability but the resources to badger medical practices unceasingly, over minutiae. The reason they closed their eyes to Gosnell's horrors was the color of the babies he was murdering. Abortion is not only lucrative and a necessity to a culture dedicated to sexual liberation, but it is also used by racists to eliminate children of color. The holocaust of abortion disproportionately affects black and Hispanic women and children. A simple glance at New York City's abortion rates, for example, show that 60 percent of black babies do not make it past the womb, nearly 20 percent higher than the rate for white babies. That is systematic population reduction.

That Gosnell got away with his crimes for decades is not a coincidence. It is a crime.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association.

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