Politics

04.18.13

More on Dr. Gosnell

In my inbox not long ago from a friend landed a good example of the evil liberal media ignoring the Dr. Gosnell case. This is by reproductive health doctor name Lynette Leighton from the web site RH Reality Check, and it is reprinted from back in 2011, back when the liberal media was, you know, ignoring the Gosnell charges the first time they were made public:

I now belong to a wonderful community of primary care doctors who are dedicated to improving women’s health and the treatment they receive, including abortion. We see abortion as inextricable from the full spectrum of medical care a woman might need in her lifetime. We continue to research and refine abortion care while helping to break down barriers separating women from high-quality services.

What a contrast to the Dr. Gosnell case—I was absolutely shocked by the news of an abortion provider who, if the charges prove true, has strayed so far from the principles of our field and the ethics of medicine in general. The news of his clinic’s practices horrifies me. I am sad and angry that Dr. Gosnell’s patients did not benefit from the expertise and empathy I know in the reproductive health world.

When a woman comes to me with an unintended pregnancy, I counsel her thoroughly. If she decides to continue her pregnancy, I talk about vitamins, scheduling prenatal ultrasounds and preparing her older children for the newcomer. When a woman chooses to end her pregnancy, we talk extensively about what to expect, whether she chooses to take medication in the privacy of her home, or have a procedure performed in my office. There are sometimes long discussions about her unique situation, often handholding, and always personal, safe care.

Three months ago, a patient came to my clinic in tears. She was 45-year-old single mother of three teens. She had recently fallen in love and thought she was too old to get pregnant. She got pregnant. The idea of adding another life to her struggling family was too much for her to bear. She, like me, had grown up Catholic. She was disturbed about wanting an abortion. She said she was on her way to work when she thought seriously about throwing herself under the train as it arrived.

She came to my office instead, crying, and asked me to help her end her pregnancy. “I would have killed myself if you were not here!” As I listened, she talked through the conflict between what she was raised to believe and what she believed now was the right thing to do for herself and her family.

When her pregnancy was over, she cried again, this time in relief. Then she hugged me as she left to return to her children at home. I was thankful that I had been there to provide safe care for my patient in crisis.

I can respect people who think abortion is morally wrong. But they should respect situations like the one this woman found herself in, too. And this should help put to lie those lies about it not getting coverage. RH Reality Check may not be The New York Times, but as a web site devoted to reproductive health issues from a progressive point of view, I'd say that if indeed there had been some conspiracy to cover up the Gosnell story, RHRC would surely have been in the thick of it.