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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Two US House committees launch investigations into abortion clinic regulations


Two US House of Representatives committees have launched nationwide investigations in response to the murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. A Senate resolution calling for action is also pending.

Background

The Gosnell Grand Jury report identified a “regulatory collapse” that allowed Gosnell to go undetected for decades:
“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.”  
The Grand Jury further specifies that inspections of abortion clinics were discontinued by the administration of a pro-choice governor who “was motivated by a desire not to be ‘putting up a barrier to women.’”
The Committees are seeking to determine what state officials have done to ensure that such a “regulatory collapse” does not occur in their state. 

House committee action

  • The U.S. House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general, asking questions about efforts to protect the civil rights of newborns and their mothers. Read the Judiciary Committee press release.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a similar letter to public health officials in all 50 states asking questions about the licensing and monitoring of abortion clinics.  Read the Energy and Commerce Committee press release.

Senate Resolution

Sen. Mike Lee
Yesterday afternoon, Senator Mike Lee requested Unanimous Consent to approve his resolution calling on Congress and the States to gather information and correct conditions and actions similar to those that occurred in the Gosnell clinic. The resolution includes clauses identifying facts about abortion clinics and specifies that there is substantial medial evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization.
Senators Blumenthal and Boxer objected to the unanimous consent request, instead offering their own resolution stating that all incidents of abusive, unsanitary, or illegal health care practices should be condemned and prevented, and the perpetrators should be prosecuted.  The Blumenthal/Boxer resolution does not specifically acknowledge the unborn and does not call for Congress and the states to take action.

Additional Resources

The HillGosnell Trial: Location, location, location by Maureen Ferguson
National ReviewCongress and the Gosnell Case by Robert George and Ramesh Ponnuru

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