Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PA Reproductive Health Care Providers React to Gosnell Indictment

Pennsylvanians for Choice/Raising Women's Voices
Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Today, a group of local providers and advocates of reproductive health care applauded the work of a grand jury convened by District Attorney R. Seth Williams and his staff in investigating and exposing the allegedly brutal, unsafe and illegal abortion practice in West Philadelphia.

“If the allegations in the report prove to be true,” said Jen Boulanger, Executive Director of the Allentown Women’s Center. “The women and girls who put their trust and their lives in the hands of Kermit Gosnell and his staff are victims of terrible crimes.”

The grand jury report confirmed that for two decades, reputable providers of abortion care, as well as patients, complained to the state Department of Health about Gosnell’s practices, but these complaints did not correct the unsafe and illegal practices at the West Philadelphia clinic.

“Abortion providers throughout Pennsylvania regularly undergo several different types of inspections from state agencies and national professional organizations,” said Curtiss Hannum, MSN, CRNP, Director of Center Affairs and Development at the Philadelphia Women’s Center. “The grand jury report refers to the excellent medical care and safety protocols of several providers that ‘are, in many ways, more stringent and more protective of women’s safety than’
the abortion regulations in Pennsylvania.”

The women allegedly harmed by Gosnell and his staff were predominantly low-income women of color.

“Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income Americans, will not pay for abortion care in Pennsylvania except in very limited circumstances,” said Dayle Steinberg, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania. “It’s a heartbreaking reality that without insurance coverage, women who need to end their pregnancies consider cost as the determining factor.”

“Public policy about abortion has been driven by people who simply want to shut it down,” added Carol Tracy, Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project. “Instead, our laws should support the provision of safe abortion care, not stigmatize the procedure and the women who seek it and push it into the hands of marginal practitioners who threaten and endanger women’s lives and health.”

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