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Dr. Kermit Gosnell is escorted to a waiting police van upon leaving the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia after being convicted of first-degree murder.

file, AP

Don't use Gosnell case to inflame abortion debate

  • Article by: Linnea House and Karen Law
  • May 27, 2013 - 11:09 AM

 Teresa Collett is wrong again (“What if the Kermit Gosnell case happened in Minnesota?” May 14).

First, let us be clear: The actions of Gosnell were horrific and I believe justice will be done for his atrocities. Gosnell preyed on women. He was able to do what he did because of the environment created by the antichoice movement through outright bans on abortion, exploitative bans on abortion funding, restrictions on abortion providers, and harassment of women seeking abortion care.

Since 1995, states have enacted more than 750 antichoice measures. Across the United States, 26 new antichoice laws have gone on the books so far this year. Those measures, such as targeted restrictions on abortion providers, bans on abortion funding for women who need it most, and harassment against women seeking abortion care and the well-qualified providers of that care, have worked in concert to drastically reduce the number of reputable clinics across the country. For women in this position, Gosnell’s cut-rate services were the only option.

Minnesotans understand that when a woman struggling to make ends meet cannot afford to end a pregnancy when she needs to, the impact on her and her family can be far-reaching. That is why Minnesota’s Medicaid program covers abortion care for women who qualify, reducing this financial barrier and the likelihood that they will seek substandard abortion care.

Finally, contrary to Collett’s misstatements about abortion care in Minnesota, all abortion providers must meet the same health and safety regulations as other medical clinics. Likewise, abortion providers are licensed physicians like all other doctors, and reproductive health services provided at clinics are subject to rigorous regulations that are attached to the providers of those services through their licensing boards, in particular the Board of Medical Practice and the Board of Nurses.

Thank you to Gov. Mark Dayton and our politicians who recognize and affirm that when a woman needs to end her pregnancy, it is important that she has access to safe medical care. Insurance coverage and coverage through the Minnesota Medicaid program allows a woman to see a licensed, quality health provider in a timely manner to make the best decisions for herself and her family.

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Linnea House is executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. Karen Law is executive director of Pro-Choice Resources.

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