"Bad Medicine"

by Patrick Appel

Last week PZ Myers responded to the crimes of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Myers dismissed the "triumphant mail from anti-choice people claiming vindication":

Gosnell is precisely the kind of butcher the pro-choice movement opposes. No one endorses bad medicine and unrestricted, unregulated, cowboy surgery like Gosnell practiced what he represents is the kind of back-alley deadly hackery that the anti-choice movement would have as the only possible recourse, if they had their way. If anything, the Gosnell case is an argument for legal abortion.

Michelle Goldberg is in the same ballpark:

While Gosnell’s clinic was an anomaly, it wasn’t entirely unique; the stigma and secrecy around abortion has long attracted the occasional criminal to the field. In her book Dispatches From the Abortion Wars, the sociologist Carole Joffe wrote about what she called “rogue clinics.” “These clinicsor in some cases individual doctorstypically prey on women in low-income immigrant communities.” She described a case in 2008 in which two sisters, Berta and Raquel Bugarin, were arrested for practicing medicine without a license at a string of clinics in Southern California and sued for causing injury and wrongful death. “That such clinics can flourish until the inevitable disaster occurs strikes me as a ‘perfect storm’ caused by the marginalization of abortion care from mainstream medicine, the lack of universal health care in the United States, and the particular difficulties facing undocumented immigrants in obtaining health care in the United States,” she wrote.

Rachael Larimore pushes back against pro-choice blogger Amanda Marcotte who claims that "shady abortion providers [getting] patients at all is something we can safely blame the anti-choice movement for": 

I’m sorry, but blaming the pro-life movement for Kermit Gonsell makes about as much sense as blaming the Tea Party for Jared Loughner.  If there were only more abortion clinics (how many would be enough? Should they be as ubiquitous as Starbucks?); if only it weren’t for that nasty Hyde Amendment (because it’s fair that families who face a heartbreaking struggle to conceive or spend tens of thousands of dollars to adopt should also have to have their tax dollars paying for someone else to have an abortion?).

I'm pro-choice for libertarian reasons but, on a personal level, I find abortion a moral gray area highly dependent on specific circumstances - a position supported by the Dish's "It's So Personal" series. Even though I think abortion should be legal, blaming a rogue abortion doctor on the pro-life movement deeply unsettles me.