Irin Carmon asked a pertinent question: why did women keep going to Kermit Gosnell’s charnal house?
After all, the question is not just why the state failed to respond to the complaints of women and advocates who visited the clinic, although that matters hugely. It’s why women kept going there anyway: because they felt they had no alternative.
Rick Moran calls it an argument by counterfactual, and indeed it is. Strictly speaking you cannot say what would have happened if there were more clinics providing free abortions in Philadelphia.
But, Gosnell was practicing late term abortions. He was aborting viable fetuses, aka babies. I do not know what these women “felt,” but the fact is, they had an easy alternative. If you are seven or eight months pregnant, you can give birth. I suspect that Medicaid covers childbirth.
If they were incapable of bringing up another child, these women could have given their babies up for adoption. Again, this is a no-cost alternative.
Carmon is trying to fix the blame firmly on the side of the pro-life forces in this country. She wants to absolve everyone else for the horrors that went on in Gosnell’s clinic.
As for the availability of inexpensive alternatives in the early stages of a pregnancy, we all know that Plan B medication is readily available at any pharmacy and does not require a prescription. And let’s not forget the low cost of effective birth control.
To say that people had no alternatives is to indulge in moral sophistry. The “no alternatives” argument does not just absolve people of all responsibility, but it removes their free will.
If you liked Carmon’s foray into sloppy thinking, you’ll love this article from the Associated Press.
One suspects that reporter Maryclaire Dale was channeling Irin Carmon.
Noting that eight of Gosnell’s former employees are being prosecuted for capital murder, Dale suggests that there is a way to rationalize their criminal acts:
But for most, it was the best job they could find.
Unlicensed doctor Stephen Massof, 50, of Pittsburgh, said he could not get a U.S. medical residency after finishing medical school in Grenada and went to work for Gosnell as a "backup plan" after six years running a bar. He admitted killing two babies by snipping their necks, as he said Gosnell taught him to do.
Following Carmonic logic, if only we had loosened up medical licensing requirements, Stephen Massof would have found a good job and would not have gotten into the business of killing babies.
Let’s not overlook Massof’s other rationalization. He was doing what he was taught to do. It’s the modern version of: I was just following orders.