Both sides in abortion debate highlight Gosnell verdict

Posted at 7:37 AM, May 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-14 07:37:37-04

Defendant Eileen O'Neil

By CNN Political Unit

(CNN) — Groups who support and oppose abortion rights highlighted Monday’s guilty verdicts in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder.

Gosnell, an abortion provider, was accused of killing babies by using scissors to cut their spinal cords. Authorities alleged that some of the infants were born alive and viable during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy.

Anti-abortion groups said the ruling underscored a blight of immoral procedures taking place at facilities providing abortions around the nation, but groups supporting abortion rights countered the details of the Gosnell case would become more widespread should abortion be prohibited.

“The Gosnell case serves to highlight two major problems with the abortion industry in this country – its callous disregard for the health and safety of women and the inhumanity of abortion, especially late-term abortion,” said Anna Higgins, the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the conservative Family Research Council.

“The lack of concern for both unborn babies and babies that survive an abortion is not an attitude isolated to Kermit Gosnell,” Higgins continued. “More recent reports show other abortionists have no respect for human life and are willing to kill babies very late-term or even let babies who are born alive die.”

The notion that Gosnell represents a broader force of unscrupulous abortion providers was echoed Monday by Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-abortion advocacy group.

“The greatest tragedy is that Kermit Gosnell is not alone,” Dannenfelser said. “Exploitation of women and complete disregard for their health and well-being are problems endemic to the entire abortion industry.”

A different take was offered by groups who support abortion rights.

“Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell today and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict. Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell.”

“Until we reject the politicization of women’s medical care and leave these decisions where they belong – between a woman and her family and her doctor – women will never be safe,” Hogue continued.

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