Domestic terrorist organization Operation Rescue, who did nothing to prevent the illegal charnel house run by Dr. Gosnell in West Philadelphia for over 30 years, has decided to target Pennsylvania now. Not soon, but now. They plan to do things like publish photos and addresses of practitioners and assistants -- and not in the hopes that you send the doctors a card at Christmas, because this is not an organization's purpose when its participants are called "foot soldiers."
Dr. Gosnell opened the Women's Medical Society in 1979. For 31 years, he performed illegal late-term abortions in filthy conditions, directing untrained and unlicensed assistants to treat women (long, graphic PDF). The result was permanent infertility of likely dozens of women, death for others, and infanticide of probably hundreds of near-term fetuses. He regularly treated minors without a parent's consent, and he would refuse to let women back out of the procedure if they changed their mind. Where was Operation Rescue all this time? By the time he was arrested, Gosnell was operating his clinic seven days a week. Why wasn't Operation Rescue there?
Now Operation Rescue is using the horrifying Gosnell tragedy to their own ends. But if they succeed, they won't end abortions. They'll simply end safe, legal abortions.
As Gosnell's practice proved, when abortions are too expensive, too far away, delayed because of state interference, or stigmatized in a woman's family or community, a woman will get an abortion anyway. If women can't get safe, compassionate care through Planned Parenthood or the other legal clinics in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, then supply will meet these women's demand, and other doctors and practitioners will work outside the law, without concerns for safety, and certainly without compassion to provide the abortions.
The way you prevent abortion is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. If Operation Rescue truly wished to prevent abortions, they'd call upon their membership to step up contributions to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide comprehensive sex education and reproductive healthcare to women. They'd adopt unwanted children and take in foster kids. Instead, they'll be unleashing their terroristic practices in Pennsylvania soon.
What will our elected leadership do? Senator Toomey (R) is a right-wing religious extremist who would imprison doctors who perform abortions (video). Governor Corbett has said he won't seek stricter anti-abortion laws in Pennsylvania solely because of the Gosnell clinic (PA Independent); but he is on record generally supporting the idea that abortions should be even harder to obtain in Pennsylvania than they already are (NRO). All this is to say, I don't see Corbett calling up the National Guard when the Operation Rescue terrorists get going.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics will be needing patient escorting personnel soon. If you have a spare couple of hours once per week, or just once per month, call your local clinic and ask about training for clinic defense. Like any other terrorist group, Operation Rescue is counting on fear, intimidation, and a lack of support for abortion patients to reach their goals. Clinic defense is about the best way to really put your money where your mouth is if you love, support, and trust women to make their own healthcare decisions for themselves.