In the wake of Kermit Gosnell's conviction for murder amid gruesome conditions in his abortion clinic, Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures across the country are pushing for new laws to restrict later-term abortions. On Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry convened another special legislative session, which immediately went on recess again, to pass a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks that was blocked last week by Wendy Davis's 11-hour filibuster. In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich signed a state budget that will force women seeking an abortion to see or listen to the fetal heartbeat; the doctor can face criminal prosecution for not follow this rule. That follows the House of Representatives, which passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in June. That bill, The New York Times reported, plus others in the states, were the result of the Gosnell case, which "has reinvigorated the anti-abortion movement to a degree not seen in years, advocates on both sides of the issue said." What these bills would not do is prevent another Gosnell.
What's happening, The New York Times' Ross Douthat writes, is that "abortion opponents have basically tried to do what gun control advocates did after Newtown, and use a horror story to make the case for policies that have clear majority support but also face passionate opposition." But opponents of these new laws can make the same case the NRA did after Newtown: Why don't we enforce the laws already on the books? And why don't the new laws actually address the crimes Gosnell committed?