As Philadelphians are captivated with the gory details about Kermit Gosnell’s West Philly “abortion clinic,” I find myself with one persistent thought: With an Infant Safe Haven law in place in Pennsylvania, some of the women, mostly viewed as Gosnell’s victims, are just as guilty as the alleged baby butcher himself.
Infant Safe Haven laws, or “Baby Moses laws,” date back to 1999, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. The laws allow parents (in some states, just the mother) to surrender their newborns at a designated site without consequence if they are unable to keep the baby. In Pennsylvania, parents can surrender an infant to a hospital or health care facility up to one month after birth, and all they’re asked to provide is some medical history information.
Women who knowingly procured the murders of their babies – the ones carried almost to term, delivered, then brutally killed with scissors – at Gosnell’s “clinic,” then, have no real excuse for doing what they did. In those cases where mothers went willingly, knowing what would happen at Gosnell’s practice, the babies are the victims. The women aren’t.
As a young woman in no position to support a child at this point in my life, I can absolutely understand the dilemma that an unplanned pregnancy would cause. I’m 100 percent pro-choice. Even through years of all-girls Catholic school where my classmates wore actual-size sterling silver baby feet pins, I always have been. But carrying a baby for almost the duration of a pregnancy and then paying someone to kill the newborn is a different issue. The image in Thursday’s Daily News of Gosnell’s employee playing with a baby before slitting his neck is chilling.
If these mothers are identified, they should be charged accordingly, and it sounds a lot like murder to me. Premeditated, cold-blooded, first-degree murder. Obtaining an abortion within the legally stipulated amount of time is one thing, and women have ample opportunity to do so. Never mind the tens of thousands of families out there who would adopt an otherwise unwanted child in a heartbeat.
Being unaware of the Infant Safe Haven law is no excuse in this case, either. It’s not about being informed; it’s as simple as knowing right from wrong.