You can have reasonable confidence that if you visiting Philadelphia and eat at a restaurant, you won't get sick because your meal was tainted with bacteria. The city's health department has a whole division dedicated to inspecting restaurants and other places where food is handled. There's even a special telephone number for people to report concerns about food safety.
As far as I know, there's no telephone number to report unsafe abortion clinics where babies are being murdered. Perhaps there should be, though that assumes someone would answer it - and that may not be a safe supposition.
Dr. Keven Gosnell is on trial because of how he operated his abortion clinic in Philadelphia. He is charged with several counts of murder for killing babies born alive during abortions, along with murdering a woman who went to his clinic for an abortion and died after being given a massive overdose of drugs.
If you weren't aware of the trial, a word of caution: Be careful in reading about what Gosnell did. It is literally nauseating.
At least some of the deaths at Gosnell's clinic didn't have to happen. The grand jury that indicted him learned that many people in positions of authority knew at least some of what was going on in the clinic, but did nothing to stop it.
Grand jurors concluded the Pennsylvania Department of State, which handles occupational licenses, was "repeatedly" given evidence of misbehavior at the clinic, but "chose to do nothing." Filthy conditions and unsterile equipment, underage abortion patients, untrained workers and sedation administered without supervision were known to the state, according to the grand jury.
State government "licensed Gosnell's criminally dangerous behavior," grand jurors reported. The state Department of Health "has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws" intended to safeguard abortion clinic patients, they wrote. The agency showed "utter disregard" for patients and "the health of fetuses after they have become viable."
The health department didn't even inspect Gosnell's clinic between 1993 and 2010, even after it received complaints, including one hand-delivered by a pediatrician.
According to published reports, some doctors who had to repair the damage Gosnell did to some of his patients did nothing to stop him. Neither did an inspector from the National Abortion Federation, who, according to the grand jury, said Gosnell ran "the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected."
Performing abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy is illegal in Pennsylvania. Investigators found that although some other doctors and clinics would not do the procedure, they were willing to refer patients to Gosnell.
Grand jurors claimed to be "puzzled" about one piece of information they uncovered. The state health department inspects health care facilities deemed "ambulatory surgery facilities." By definition, abortion clinics fit that category. Yet, the jurors found, "The state Department of Health inexplicably allows abortion clinics, alone, to go unmonitored" (my italics).
It gets worse. After the department investigated the death of a patient at Gosnell's clinic, it refused to share its findings with law enforcement agencies. An agency nurse who went along on a health department raid of the clinic was told specifically not to talk to police.
There's much, much more in the grand jury report about how Pennsylvania state government allowed Gosnell to go on murdering. And, remember, its hands-off policy applied to a lesser extent to other abortion providers.
Gosnell's trial should be concluded fairly soon. If he did what investigators and the grand jury say, he ought to rot in hell.
But what of his accomplices? Once law enforcement agencies heard about him, they acted swiftly and decisively. So-called "public health" agencies gave him a free pass. Will they get away with aiding and abetting murder?
Myer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.