Washington Post’s Kermit Gosnell Denialism Is Out Of Control

Washington Post’s Kermit Gosnell Denialism Is Out Of Control

Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling forbidding Texas from enacting health and safety regulations for facilities that end the lives of unborn children. That same court admits that the regulations were enacted by Texans in part in response to the horrific story of Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor out of Pennsylvania.

Gosnell is in prison for the murder of one woman and three children, the most recent of the untold number of victims he killed as part of his abortion practice. He worked for decades in filthy and unsafe conditions, keeping trophies of his victims’ feet and other body parts in formaldehyde around his cat-urine-soaked offices. The conditions of his abortion clinic and the illegal killings that took place there were only discovered when federal drug agents investigated him on tangential and unrelated drug trafficking claims.

One of the scandalous parts of the Gosnell situation and eventual trial was the near-blackout provided by the media in response to the story. The picture above is of the empty seats reserved for media at the trial. One of the few reporters who covered the trial said of it, “Sat through a full day of testimony at the Kermitt Gosnell trial today. It is beyond the most morbid Hollywood horror. It will change you.”

Usually the media are captivated by serial killers, much more those who face trial. The more lurid the details, the better. The more angles to cover, the better. But in this case, the media just couldn’t be bothered, for some reason. After years of shaming by pro-lifers led to public outrage in demand of news and information on Gosnell, the media briefly offered up a story or two before moving on.

Perhaps the best example of how this media game was played is given by Sarah Kliff, one former health policy reporter at the Washington Post. She wrote more than 80 stories about the Komen Foundation’s failed attempt to stop funding Planned Parenthood, Sandra Fluke’s campaign to force religious groups to pay for abortifacients and birth control, and Todd Akin’s comments about rape and pregnancy. But she hadn’t written a single one on Gosnell. I asked her about it at the time. Here was her response:

Of course, Gosnell’s horrific abortion clinic conditions and the legislation they spawned became the biggest abortion policy story of the next few years. But the one consistent thing about the media approach was the extreme downplaying of Gosnell and other abortion clinics with unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

Kliff has since moved on to Vox, where she’s now curious about how to extend this ruling to other states and is praising Ruth Bader Ginsburg for a “must-read quote” in her personal concurrence. Other abortion-supportive journalists are also praising the quote. Here’s the Washington Post‘s take on the most revered Ginsburg:

With tweets and headlines like this, isn’t it surprising that some find the media to be compromised on the abortion issue? Somehow it gets even worse. “The Notorious RBG” is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the strident advocate of abortion and its accompanying eugenicist philosophy. Her fans, which include the abortion-enraptured media, call her “The Notorious RBG.” Here’s the argument from the Washington Post‘s Danielle Paquette:

Texas attorneys had pointed to Gosnell in their oral arguments before the court. But in her concurring opinion, Ginsburg wrote that it’s when regulations reduce access to abortions that women are more likely to turn to underground clinics that might resemble Gosnell’s practice.

“When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures,” she wrote in a concurring opinion, “women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety.”

So the “major myth” that the “Notorious RBG smacks down” is, apparently, that Kermit Gosnell existed and was a serial murderer who operated under an abortion regime so permissive that he hadn’t been inspected in 17 years and was only found out thanks to unrelated regulatory oversight of the drug trade.

Except that she didn’t smack that “myth” down at all, partly because it’s anything but a myth, partly because she didn’t address how clinics like his are allowed to flourish without any oversight, and partly because she didn’t substantiate her own mythical claims. Gosnell existed under a legal abortion regime. As does my local clinic in Virginia that keeps running despite flagrant health and safety violations, year after year. As do countless other filthy and unsafe clinics operating throughout the country.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse noticed the Washington Post claim as well:

Completely apart from legitimate arguments about whether abortion clinics can or should be regulated, the Supreme Court ruling striking down health and safety regulations of Texas abortion clinics is a disingenuous and incoherent mess that does real damage to the rule of law and that only the most strident advocates of abortion could defend.

But just on the issue of regulatory oversight of clinics, the media are perpetuating a closed loop. The abortion corporations’ claim is that abortion clinics are safe and wonderful, but will somehow be forced to close if required to hold the same health and safety standards as other surgery centers. They carry water for the abortion corporations, fighting any oversight of abortion-related practices. They smother-to-the-death any and all stories about unsafe and unsanitary conditions at health clinics. They mock voters who don’t get their marching orders from Planned Parenthood and other abortion corporations. They praise Supreme Court justices who run roughshod over the law to keep at bay any regulation of abortion clinics. Rinse, repeat.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway
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