I visited the National Abortion Federation (NAF) homepage recently and found this disclaimer:
The recent arrest of a Philadelphia doctor who is not a NAF member has led some women to ask how they can be sure they are choosing a quality abortion provider. However, this particular facility in Philadelphia is an outlier and not typical of the high-quality abortion care provided by NAF members.
I was shocked to read their “open letter” from the President of the NAF which acknowledges that they knew about the disgusting conditions within Gosnell’s clinic:
The doctor in question, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was NOT a NAF member. As the Grand Jury Report in this case notes, Gosnell applied for NAF membership in late 2009, but his application was rejected because his facility did not meet NAF’s standards for quality care.
So his application was rejected, but did she report this clinic to the authorities in order to make sure that this “outlier” was not allowed to provide his less than “high-quality” services to abortion bound women?
Nope. They denied his membership outright (a first for the organization) but didn’t think women’s health was important enough to report his egregious violations of health and safety standards to the proper authorities.
Why Was His Membership Rejected?
What did the evaluator see that caused her to reject his membership? According to the Grand Jury report [pdf]:
The first thing the evaluator noted when she arrived at 3801 Lancaster Avenue [Gosnell’s clinic] was the lack of an effective security system. …Once inside she found the facility was packed with so much “stuff, kind of crowded and piled all over the place” … She found the facility’s layout confusing, and was concerned that patients could not find their way around it or out of it. …Most alarming was the bed where Gosnell told her out-of-state patients were allowed to spend the night. These patients were unattended and it was difficult to locate the bathroom facilities and exits. …
The NAF evaluator watched a few first-trimester procedures. She noticed that no one was monitoring or taking vital signs of patients who were sedated during procedures. …
The level of medication administered was also troubling to the evaluator. She testified that Gosnell’s own description of the effects of his routine second-trimester dose… “would really not be a safe situation … for him to be handling himself”. …
Gosnell’s clinic … was not even close to meeting NAF standards or any other standard of care. The evaluator noted that Pennsylvania requires that anesthesia be administered only by licensed personnel, a regulation that Gosnell failed to follow even during the NAF review.
Aside from these life-threatening practices, the evaluator noted numerous deficiencies in the clinic’s recordkeeping, including no notation of RH blood-typing and no record of sedation medications administered or the level of sedation. (p. 92-94)
(*Note: Page numbers throughout refer to the pages as numbered by the Grand Jury; add three to get the correct page of the electronic version.)
The report goes on to say that the evaluator witnessed the complete dismissal of Pennsylvania’s 24-hour waiting period during a “counseling” session as well as “flagrant” violations of patient confidentiality by leaving patient files openly accessible to any woman who spent the night (unattended) at Gosnell’s clinic while waiting for the second day of her procedure (p. 94).
The evaluator reported to the Grand Jury that “Gosnell’s clinic … was deemed beyond redemption” in the eyes of the NAF and his application was rejected (p. 95).
Grand Jury Blames NAF for Not Taking Action
The Grand Jury, after hearing this testimony, wrote “We have to question why an evaluator from NAF, whose stated mission is to ensure safe, legal, and acceptable abortion care, and to promote health and justice for women, did not report Gosnell to authorities” (p. 95).
In the introductory pages of their report, the Grand Jury lists a number of oversight agencies which “stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago” (p. 8). Fifth (and last) on their list is the National Abortion Federation:
Despite his various efforts to fool her, the evaluator from NAF readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused. It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected. Of course, she rejected Gosnell’s application. She just never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen. (p. 13)
The report continues:
Bureaucratic inertia is not exactly news. We understand that. But we think this was something more. 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. (p. 13)
Thanks NAF for turning a blind eye to Gosnell’s horrific practices, for keeping Gosnell in business, and for ensuring that abortion–despite being legal–remains unsafe and unregulated.