Medical safety is the state’s business
American women have been the object of a decades-long ideological war. The pro-choice side asserts that women - not government - should decide on termination of a pregnancy. The pro-life side asserts that abortion is murder.
Both sides have sought to have government enforce their views by law.
Political figures finally came up with a middle-ground mantra - that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare." This view took into account the horrors of back-alley abortions performed by unqualified people.
A shaky truce descended upon the land. Abortion - within limits - was legalized.
It did not become rare, however. And the horrors that surfaced as the result of a drug raid at a Pennsylvania abortion clinic raised unanticipated questions about the word "safe," the rallying cry of the pro-choice forces.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for performing late-term abortions in which he used scissors to kill babies who were born alive.
The filthy conditions at the clinic - blood-caked medical equipment, body parts stuffed down drains, bodies found in cat litter, bags, boxes, juice containers . . . . were horrendous.
The state of Pennsylvania hadn't inspected the clinic in 15 years.
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recently
announced that he is evaluating whether the state should regulate the abortion clinics in West Virginia.
Both clinics are members of the National Abortion Federation, which conducts inspections every three to five years. The doctors are licensed by the state, and thus accountable to it in that way.
Not everyone will approve of the fact that the attorney general, who vowed as a candidate to "fight to
protect the rights of the unborn," is using his office to question the clinics West Virginia women look to for services.
Regulation is legislators' job. Morrisey should be careful how he uses his office.
But the Gosnell case raised questions about safety. He is likely not the only person in West Virginia who wants answers to those questions.